Kabalistic Prayer Part 4
by Jack Courtis
We recognise the Lord’s Prayer as a "normal" prayer, that is, a list of requests. Something like a four year old demanding favours from Daddy. As spiritual four year olds, we expect everything, but give nothing. This article suggests that we should behave like spiritual forty year olds, that is, working with our Father, not just making demands. We need to demonstrate responsibility.
This Prayer is a powerful means of setting into motion the hidden forces of the kosmos. It operates upon our soul vehicle of consciousness, at the level of reality Yetzirah/Formation. Using this Prayer with mature judgement, we can access a living source of knowledge that speaks to the soul in a direct and real sense. This is not just a poetic cliche. Used as a spiritual exercise, the Lord’s Prayer activates the psychic centres. This is more than mere psychology. It takes us through the pairs of opposites that we must reconcile. In turn, this is a breakthrough in consciousness that provides us with constant inspiration and guidance. It creates a flow of energy from higher levels, to our physical body.
We are able to find our Divine spark and link our will with its will, so it can manifest on the lowest level of reality and express light, life and love. This is not a symbolic statement. This Prayer is about liberation.
What must we do? Contemplate each statement and make it "live" in our imagination- the 7th or Crown psychic centre. That in turn will overflow downwards into the lower 6 psychic centres. This is not mere symbolism. Let us now examine the Prayer on the Tree of Life and in written form:
1 Our Father who art in heaven
The Father is the Divine spark, the real self, the ultimate consciousness, our true identity. Currently, we are hardly aware of this, but we shall eventually gain full knowledge of our beingness. This is liberation.
Heaven is a higher and qualitatively different state of consciousness from the one we currently understand. It is the direct knowing of the Divine spark.
Our: we all come from the same source and are made of the same substance. Eventually, we shall all be liberated, we shall all achieve union with the Divine spark. Our true self is at-one with God.
Since the Lord’s Prayer affects our soul, it influences our aura by lighting it up. The Prayer activates Keter on the Tree of Life and we too become the ‘light of the world’. This is not mere poetic imagery. We become aware of God’s presence in our being and in the world. It connects up the Tree on this level with the levels above and below; Jacob’s Ladder.
2 Hallowed be Thy Name
To be hallowed is to be aware of, to enter into a proper relationship with, the Name; the presence, consciousness and energy of the Divine spark. The Name is a word of power and therefore a path to the reality that it represents.
This step in the process reaffirms and deepens the contact established by the first step. It draws down the divine light from Keter to Chakhmah on the Tree of Life. It stimulates a flow of energy. This will ultimately sanctify us and through us, will heal all wounds.
3 Thy Kingdom come
The Kingdom implies a lawful sovereignty and rightful exercise of power. It requires a king to exercise his rights. In our case the kingdom is all our vehicles of consciousness, their functions, energies and faculties. The king is the Divine spark, but he is not yet in full control. He rules only in an indirect and partial way. The reason is that we have not properly developed the middle pillar of our personal Tree of Life, the pillar of consciousness. We have not allowed a proper connection between the above and the below. The Kingdom is in the hands of the ego, who still rules our being and our lives.
Thy: refers to the Divine spark, the true Self. We ask it to come into being in our life. That is, let the Divine spark become the king and the unifying principle in our consciousness.
This step moves to Binah on the Tree. It helps us to understand that the Kingdom of God is a state of consciousness that we must realise within ourselves. When this is achieved, it transforms our personal, professional, social and spiritual life. This is the goal we must achieve on Earth.
4 Thy will be done on Earth as it is in heaven
Thy will: the focused energies of the Divine spark. Be done: accomplished, from potential to actual, from an idea to an experience; all realised in our being. Earth: our field of consciousness, ego, personality and body. Heaven: the higher levels of consciousness where we truly know ourselves, God, our fellow man and our purpose in God’s plan.
If God’s Kingdom is to be realised in our being and in the world, then His will must be realised. God’s will, identical with the will of the Divine spark, is always being accomplished in our spiritual nature; but not in our ego and personality. What happens at the level of the Divine spark, must now be extended and realised in our personality. This is God’s mercy, activated in Chesed on the Tree of Life.
Once God’s presence becomes conscious in us, His will can become operative in our everyday life. This step in the process helps us to focus on this principle and make it work. The energy of the divine now infuses our aspirations, thoughts and feelings, spiritualising them and thus transforming our words and actions. "Be done" is a command that transmits divine light through our psychic centres to transform them and allow the flow of energy that accomplishes the purpose of the Divine spark.
5 Give us this day our daily bread
Give us: is not quite a command but somewhat more than a request. We are lawfully entitled to something, which is normally out of our reach. We ask that our soul (psychic centres and aura) be suffused with these higher energies so that we may become aware of them.
This day: now, wherever we may be, in the present cycle of our evolution.
Daily bread: this is the life of the soul and the experience of the divine light. This is more than a poetic statement.
Every day, in every cycle, at every moment in our lives, the Divine spark gives us our daily bread, but we are not aware of it. We do not understand what is happening to us, or why we are living through our present situation. Therefore, we cannot appreciate it and assimilate it fully. This step continues the downpouring of light which we perceive as opportunities to grow, to serve others, to live more creatively, joyously and with awareness. These are not trite cliches. This step activates Gevurah on the Tree of Life.
6 Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us
Appropriately, this step activates Tiferet on the Tree of Life; its very heart. This is the central step in the Lord’s Prayer that deals directly with karma. It is karma that causes us to experience the 7 pairs of opposites. However, as usual, we misunderstand what we are given. We assume that if we demand forgiveness, all our wrongdoing is simply wiped away without effort on our part. We think that we have no personal responsibility for our actions. If we pray hard enough, the problems we have created will all go away without cost to us.
Forgive us: the Divine spark always forgives us, but it does so by transforming our errors into lessons and experiences that will enable us to mature, improve and transform our imperfections. Needless to say, most of the time we are unaware of this.
We forgive: do we? It is we who do not forgive others and therefore ourselves. We live with the heavy burden of anger, resentment and bitterness. Trespasses: are our violation of physical, psychological, social and spiritual laws. We do this by our thoughts, feelings and actions.
This step takes us directly to cause and effect - karma. It is vital that we see the connection between our thoughts and actions. It has never been better put than this: "whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap". What we do unto others, we do to ourselves. However we only forgive others by forgiving ourselves. Only when we do that shall we become aware that the Divine spark has already forgiven us.
True forgiveness implies a great deal more than simply saying, "I forgive you". It implies mental understanding, emotional release, behavioural change and spiritual connection between our vehicles of consciousness. This requires the balancing of our 7 psychic centres by the experience and reconciliation of the 7 pairs of opposites. This will also cleanse that other attribute of our soul, the aura.
We must transform our vices into virtues. There is work to be done.
7 Lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil
Why would our Divine spark lead us into temptation? Does it want us to fail? The absurdity of this proposition alerts us to its subtlety. Lead us not: means we are asking that it make us aware of, and grateful for, temptations. This is how we make progress. Temptation: the inevitable karmic consequences of our thoughts, feelings and actions. This step in the process activates Netzach on the Tree, the place of our desires and therefore of our temptations.
Deliver us: Do we still expect something for nothing? We are asking for the awareness, strength and understanding, to overcome our temptations and learn our karmic lessons. We are not getting something for nothing.
Evil: This is all the negative thoughts and feelings that energise our lower self. This is what must be transformed so that, as a vehicle of consciousness, our soul is fit to receive the Divine spark. Remember that it is only our unredeemed lower self that truly leads us into temptation. Moreover, temptations are necessary for our spiritual growth. We need to understand temptations as a test sent for our benefit by the Divine spark. Why does it do this? As we evolve, so does the Divine spark evolve. Our lower self is the mechanism for the evolution of our higher self. That is a trite statement until we remember that our Divine spark is identical with God.
8 For Thine is the Kingdom
For Thine: the Kingdom is ultimately of and for the Divine spark. Kingdom: in the sense used here, is our intellectual faculty, well characterised by Hod on the Tree of Life. We affirm that all our intellectual ability is offered to the service of the Divine spark in the work of our spiritual transformation. The subtlety is that we must be willing to sacrifice our intellect to this purpose. Are we willing to do so?
9 the Power
Power: is expressed in Yesod, by the action in this place on the Tree, of spiritual energy activated in Gevurah and expressing the will and justice of the Divine spark. Yesod is the right place for this to happen because this is our sub-conscious. Here karma operates in its most virulent form. Do we doubt this? Consider our secret pain. Where do we feel it, if not here?
10 and the Glory. Amen.
Glory: refers here to the love and mercy of the Divine spark (activated in Chesed) and operating here and now, in Malkhut on the Tree. This is the culmination and completion of the Lord’s Prayer. This step now crystalises the process by the word of power Amen. It also asserts the "Kingdom", which is the English translation of Malkhut.
By the 10 steps of the Lord’s Prayer, we have followed the "Path of the Flaming Sword", also known as the "Lightning Flash", down the Tree of Life. This is the deliberate setting into motion of the hidden forces of the kosmos. This is the activation and downpouring of the Light, which opens up the "Path of the Serpent" which is our path of return to the Divine spark. A "return" which takes us to a place we have never left.
Do we wonder why nothing appears to happen when we pray? Do we understand what we have and what we are doing? In the next article in this series we shall consider the Beatitudes.