Time Trekking — Excerpts

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Lesson One

…This next course is called Time Trekking. It is about the fourth dimension. Science calls it a “new frontier” yet nearly three and a half thousand years ago the Torah revealed a map of time’s landscape and Jews have been charting its mysteries every since. This body of revealed and accumulated wisdom is a primary subject of kabbalistic inquiry. The most powerful secrets of the Jewish tradition illumine the otherwise inscrutable mysteries of time’s cyclic unfolding… Time trekking is the art of selecting the most efficient, scenic and joyously unfolding passage through time’s rhythmic terrain. It is a four-stage process…

Lesson Two

…Kabbala teaches that the human body has ten different pulses… This means that the universe must also have ten pulses precisely mirroring those in the human body. They are the ten different rhythms that flow through creation, combining and interacting to spin forth the landscape of time. The Jewish calendar moves with each of them and prescribes specific practices to bring our lives in tune with this macro-cosmic symphony…

Lesson Three

…The service of the rega is to know that all the bounty, blessing, and good that is your prayer and heart’s desire, is but a moment away for the thought that marks its beginning could occur at any instant. HaShem knows and influences the minds of people and stimulates specific insights and reflections as He sees fit. That Divinely inspired flash of thought becomes the “spark” setting in motion the chain of events that makes all things possible…

Lesson Four

…The fact of HaShem’s goodness is, perhaps, the most fundamental principle of Judaism. It is the hidden premise upon which the whole theological structure rests. It is a truth that is known, whether consciously or not, by every Jewish soul. Torah asserts that G-d and good are synonymous terms…

Lesson Five

…To study Torah is to study the inner workings of Good in the universe…To grow in wisdom is to expand one’s ability to perceive the Divine Presence and compassion that underlies all experience…this is what it means to “sweeten severities”…

Lesson Six

…The service of the future is vision–to hold an image (not necessarily visual) of the glorious perfection that is the ultimate and inevitable achievement of life’s unfolding. This joyful consummation is the sure and destined end of every individual soul, and similarly of creation as a whole. Our work towards the future is not only the labor of faith, but of concretizing faith…

Lesson Seven

…G-d designed the world such that each hour transmits a different type of influence. It is not just the fact of flux and flow that is significant. The energy itself is different from one hour to the next. It revolves in a pattern of sequential permutations of two different names of G-d, one for the day and one for the night…

Lesson Eight

..How one marks a day has metaphysical implications. Does the day’s unfolding move from dim confusion into clarity, or does it proceed in the other direction? The creation model follows the former, whereby evening precedes its morning. From this perspective the repetition of days marks an ongoing process of clarification, enlightenment, and refinement. Each day adds its bit, and the direction is always and cumulatively towards light…

Lesson Nine

…The term “animal sacrifice” conjures an image of primitive pagan worship—of superstitious offerings to the gods, of blood and gore and savage cults. Yet when performed according to the prescriptions and parameters of the Torah, it is actually an extremely powerful ritual designed to make the act of slaughtering meat as elevated and spiritually conscious as possible. Depending upon the type of sacrifice, certain portions of the animal are burnt on the altar while others become food for the kohanim and for those who brought the offering…Their whole point was to make a jolting statement of truth that would impress itself upon the consciousness of all participants and transform their relationship to G-d…This was a profoundly conscious act of preparing food that would later be eaten by those involved…

Lesson Ten

…Since our daily prayers replace the Temple sacrifices we can learn how to approach prayer by understanding the logistics and deeper significance of the sacrificial service. What does it mean to offer oneself on the altar through prayer? The ritual is a gestalt where each one of us plays all the roles. We are the kohen who performs the sacrifice, we are the animal whose blood gets dashed against the altar, and we are the fire that transmutes flesh into light…

Lesson Twelve

…Now we are ready to walk through the ritual of korban and translate its steps into psychological terms. Coded in this series of actions are the deepest secrets of transformation. Change is an elusive quantity. Everyone desires it, most commit to it at frequent (if not daily) intervals, but few can sustain it. The cycle of day as marked by the sacrificial service, is a succinct and potent paradigm for making change permanent…

Lesson Thirteen

…The relationship between soul and “spark” is not arbitrary. The spark is actually a splintered piece of our own soul that got lost and dismembered when the primordial vessels of reality shattered. We are constantly searching for ourselves, pieces of ourselves, that got lost “out there” and need to be brought back in…

Lesson Fifteen

…If Chana is our model then to pour out one’s soul before G-d is not an act of self-annihilation, but self assertion. It is the end of a long and arduous process of refining will while still cleaving tenaciously to it. The hardest and single-most important work of each life is to sort through one’s desires and identify those that are authentically true to the depths of one’s soul…

Lesson Sixteen

…Every outer sense has an inner spiritual counterpart. Smell manifests on the soul level as a sensitivity to emotional states. Feeling tones have “odors” though some folks are more sensitive to them than others. The most fragrant scents are emotional states that are free of personality complexes and self absorption. The ego in knotted resistance smells pungent. The ego in surrender releases a sweet perfume…

Lesson Eighteen

…Each Hebrew word communicates through its vibratory pattern some essential inner truth of the object or concept that it represents. This is what it means “Adam named the animals…” He “tuned in” to the essence of each creature and identified the sound of its soul. This “name” transmits information to both the conscious and unconscious mind. The listener’s soul reads the pattern of vibrations and obtains direct knowledge of whatever the word represents…

Lesson Nineteen

…As long as one desires anything contrary to spiritual law there is suffering–whether in the restraining of that desire, or in its indulgence and the purgation that will inevitably follow…

Lesson Twenty

…There is only one indispensable ingredient to a solid core of self identity: The knowledge that G-d is witness to hidden beauty, the knowledge that G-d witnesses all…Every other bulwark crumbles beneath the massive weight of the fact of death. Only G-d is truer than death…

Lesson Twenty-four

…The goal of our weekday work is to make the world a sanctuary (mishkan) where every thing and every place reveals G-d’s presence. We are each a master craftsperson enlisted for the task, enjoined to contribute our special skills to the Great Work. No matter what we think we are doing, Temple building is our trade. This is the holy labor that fills our week. Through it we imitate G-d and fill our charge to co-create the universe…

Time Trekking -- Final Questions

1. What is “time trekking?” Briefly describe its art.

2. Discuss the implications of the adage, “Redemption comes in the blink of an eye,” as it relates to the service of rega.

3. What does it mean that the world exists in the merit of Torah study? Briefly describe the mechanism by which this is so.

4. Discuss the terms, “revealed good” and “concealed good.” How do these ideas help to explain the purpose (and mystery) of suffering?

5. Discuss the practice of animal sacrifice. What purpose does it serve? How is it different from slaughtering for food? How is it similar?

6. Describe the untangling of energy and sparks that happens when the Kohain leans upon the animal. What is its psychological parallel?

7. Discuss the maxim, “Is it your desire not to die? Die, so that you do not die.” How does this happen in the prayer process?

8. Elaborate upon the statement, “If Chana is our model, then to pour out one’s soul before G-d is not an act of self annihilation, but self assertion. It is the end of a long and arduous process of refining will while still cleaving tenaciously to it.”

9. Why is gratitude the most important trait to cultivate in this world? How does it epitomize the rectification of one’s desire nature?

10. What is the collective soul of Israel, to whom the Shema is addressed?

11. What is the Jewish definition of enlightenment? Explain.

12. Discuss the paradoxical concept of “witness” as it relates to the Shema.

13. In what way are the two verses of Shema a dialogue between unity and multiplicity?

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