Kabalistic Prayer Part 7
by Jack Courtis
In part 1, we saw the 6 step method for putting into motion the hidden processes of the kosmos. However that only takes us to Kosmic Consciousness at Tiferet. What about the higher sefirot from Gevurah to Keter? Do they provide a method for "higher" prayer? The pentagram gives us the answer, thus:
Starting at Keter (1), we go to Chesed (2), then Binah (3), Chakhmah (4), Gevurah (5) and back to Keter (6). Again, there are 6 steps to be taken with 5 sefirot, only this time, there is the added factor of Da’at. To make sense of this let us review the modern meanings of these sefirot.
Using a combination of modern and traditional meanings, let us follow the pentagram. Begin at Keter (1), the I Am which is the ultimate statement of pure Mind. Just as we begin in "lower" prayer at Malkhut, here and now in Objective Consciousness, we take the same first step at a higher level. The I Am is where we are spiritually. It is our present beginning for the never ending spiritual journey.
Go now to Chesed (2) and activate your love aspect. This is the higher equivalent of Netzach/Desire. This is your spiritual power source. You are unbeatable and cannot be stopped. Proceed to Binah (3), the Great Mother. She brings forth out of herself the substance of that which you seek. This needs understanding. The next step is Chakhmah (4), the Great Father, the masculine force that leads forth with wisdom, that which has been brought forth. A mystery is developing here.
The answer is the will aspect of Gevurah (5). Remember the famous saying: Do what thou wilt, is the whole of the Law. This is the higher aspect of Hod/Intellect. Although Love/Desire is the source of our power, Will/Intellect is the means of focussing that power, at both the higher and lower levels of prayer. But what is the Law? Let us wait until the last step that takes us back to Keter (6). The I Am of Mind, has now developed to a higher stage. We are no longer merely, I Am; we are now "I AM the Law". What does this mean?
We have gone around the pentagram and skirted the main issue. Da’at/Knowledge is best expressed as Gnosis that is, knowledge of a higher kind than mere intellect. Knowledge of what? Knowledge of the Law. The Lord Buddha calls it Dharma. Even he is ruled by it. In gnostic terms, we can call it Nomos (the Law). This is the implicate order of the kosmos. To transcend Keter and the Tree of Life, we must be able to know and only then can we truly say, "I AM the Law."
Is this prayer powerful?
We can begin the pentagram at any point and follow the development to its logical conclusion. Let us do this now by starting at Chakhmah (1). The Great Father is the deep masculine principle of leadership. It leads forth what the Great Mother creates and brings forth. To lead is different from creating. The distinction is subtle but fundamental to a proper understanding of the roles of Force and Substance. But what is the spiritual issue about leadership? Move now to the will aspect of Gevurah (2). Do what thou wilt, is the whole of the Law. Leadership is about using the will to overcome karma. Doing it with wisdom, will prevent the creation of new karma. The Law (Dharma/Nomos), understood at this level, is about liberating us from the suffering that karma brings.
Starting the pentagram from Keter, brings us to the first level of understanding; knowledge of the Law. Beginning from Chakhmah, we are learning how to use the Force of the Law.
Proceed now to Keter (3) where in the pure Mind aspect of our being we can say "I AM the Law". This is higher gnosis even than Da’at. With the certainty that this gives us, go to Chesed (4) and the power that Love generates. Here also, another mystery reveals itself. Kosmic Memory is the source of our self awareness. This is where we develop our identity within the kosmos. Note that when we can truly say, "I AM the Law", we have transcended the kosmos and are outside of it. In a deep sense Love is the source of our own identity within the kosmos. To make it clear, if you have amnesia, you are aware, but have no identity.
With love and self-conscious knowledge, we can now go to the Great Mother, Binah (5) and bring forth what this working of the pentagram has for us. Can you see that by starting with the leadership of the Great Father, we are overcoming karma? Where is the location of karma on the Tree of Life? Da’at. This sefira exists in the void, the Abyss, and is the visible expression of the hidden processes of the kosmos that we call karma. Has leadership a higher duty than to overcome karma? Let us therefore return to Chakhmah (6) and consider that if we understand with wisdom and are wise with understanding, we shall know the Law. Here lies freedom, redemption and liberation. Is that worth the effort of praying in this "higher" manner, by deliberately setting into motion the hidden processes of the kosmos? Do it with the Force that is rightly yours.
Let us go around the pentagram again, this time starting with Chesed (1). We become aware of a new issue. If do what thou wilt is the whole of the Law, then will under love, is the fullness of the Law. By putting love above will, we see a development. Here is gnosis in action. By starting the pentagram from a different sefira, we realise that we can achieve different results. The Law is not static and rigid. It is infinitely flexible and has unfathomable depth. Da’at gives to us whatever we desire.
This changes our understanding of the Tree of Life. The true focus is not Keter or Tiferet or any of the other sefirot on this side of the void. The unacknowledged source of gnosis that emerges as Da’at, is the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. That Tree is on the other side of the void. The connection between the 2 Trees is Da’at; in a deeper sense, the Law. Love is the connecting link. Hence, the fullness of the Law is a subtly different concept that can only emerge from Chesed.
Proceed now to Binah (2). With love, the Great Mother brings forth........what? That which we desire. This is how karma is created, by desire. If can eliminate desire, we can eliminate karma. But we love desire with a passion. Never mind that the Buddha tells us that desire is the source of suffering. The feminine principle acts with desire to enmesh us in karma. That is why we need the Great Father at Chakhmah (3), to lead with wisdom to Gevurah (4) so as to overcome karma. But note that the masculine cannot create because it does not generate love or desire. Here is a paradox and a mystery. The masculine must overcome that which the feminine creates, but without the feminine, nothing can ever be.
The next step is Keter (5), the I Am of pure Mind. This is the silent watcher of the struggle between the masculine and the feminine. Here, detachment must be cultivated for liberation to occur. Only then can we return to Chesed (6) to find love over will, because we now can create with love but without desire and hence without karma.
Is this getting hard? Did you ever think that liberation would be easy? Do you really expect to overcome the karma you have created without effort? You have a choice. You can remain with illusion and suffering, or you can find liberation.
If you still have the energy and the courage, try the pentagram again. Start from Gevurah (1) with focussed will. Move to Keter (2) and realise that you are the Law. Simply be who you are and you will act at the right time by your integrated self. Easier said than done. Next is Chesed (3). Put your will under Love, so as to act without generating karma. With the power of Love go to the Great Mother, Binah (4) and bring forth out of yourself that which you desire. Proceed to the Great Father, Chakhmah (5) for wise leadership and finally end with your accomplished will at Gevurah (6).
What issue emerges from this round? Dharma/Nomos is the field of action. If you know the Law, you can act with love, wisdom and understanding. Act like this and there is no karma, only blessing. It takes the Strength of Gevurah to do this. Act within the Law and liberation is yours. Ignore the Law and life continues as you presently find it.
Let us do this one last time. Begin the pentagram at Binah (1). Bring forth out of your own Substance (for truly you are the Great Mother if only you knew), that which you need to deal with your life issues. Understand that you are the cause of all that you experience in life. The Law is the field of action, but you are the actor. You bring forth constantly by every act, thought and deed. You need the wisdom of clear leadership. Go then to the Great Father at Chakhmah (2). He leads forth what you have brought forth. Now focus your will at Gevurah (3) because do what thou wilt is the whole of the Law. From here proceed to the impersonal (and karma free) aspect of pure Mind at Keter (4). Here you are the Law, so you can direct Love at Chesed (5) without passion or desire, without karma. Finally, complete the circuit and return to Binah (6). What you have brought forth is perfect.
What is the issue here? If you act according to Law and bring forth in the above manner, you will do it right. Do what? That which you pray for.
But what is the Law? Da’at is the Knowledge of the Law, but this does not explain the issue. It is a deep mystery, but it is trite to say that. We can only presume that the gnostic Nomos, has the elements of Mind, Force, Substance, Love and Will. We cannot know the Law until we have lived these elements, until we are wise with understanding and understand with wisdom. A mystery wrapped inside a paradox.
If we know the Law we shall be liberated by it.