The Sefirot flame meditation
As combinations of spiritual and physical beings in this lifetime, points where the two are revealed in harmony – reliant on each other – enabling and fulfilling one another’s purpose – are worthy of contemplative reflection.
We see in nature, spiritual systems revealing themselves – spiritual laws imbedded and intertwined with physicality – signs which draw our attention to the foundation of creation, and the Source’s creation and manifestation of the Sefirot.
Everything that happens in the spiritual worlds takes place through the medium of the Sefirot. They are often referred to as the Creator’s “garments”, revealed worlds through which the Creator conceals Himself from us.
It is taught that the Source is the One who binds together the ten Sefirot – uniting them – and as much as He is “within” them – one who separates one from another of the ten Sefirot – it is considered as if that person had effected a “separation” in the Source (which is an impossibility BTW). Regardless, the above graph is one to get highly comfortable with, as its system and symbolism outline that which the Creator and Sustainer of our experience chose to reveal His eternal attributes to us through.
The Sefirot are ten modes or attributes through which the Source manifests Himself – and the Sefirot are the medium through which specific qualities and attributes can be ascribed to the Source.
In the Hebrew language, the word “Sefirah” is related to the word “sapphire/sapir” – A sapphire is a precious stone – brilliant and illuminating – signifying that the function of a Sefirah is to broadcast light.
In describing the relationship between the physical and the spiritual, the Zohar states:
“if one wishes to know the wisdom of the holy unification, let him look at the flame rising from a burning coal or from a kindled lamp. The flame cannot rise unless it is unified with something physical.”
In a similar fashion, spiritual levels cannot function and interact unless they are bound to the physical.
The Sefer Yitzirah (The Book of Formation) therefore states that “their end is imbedded in their beginning…like a flame in a burning coal.” The only way in which the end and beginning can interact is because both are bound to related physical concepts.
Rabbi Aryeh Kaplan connects this concept to a powerful meditation, which I call the Sefirot flame meditation.
The wick itself represents the physical world, while the blue flame nearest to the wick is the counterpart of Malkhut (kingship – lowest sphere) . Surrounding this is the bright yellow flame, corresponding to the next six Sefirot: Chesed (love -middle right sphere), Gevurah (strength – middle left sphere), Tiferet (beauty – center column, third sphere up), Netzach (victory -lower right sphere) , Hod (splendor – lower left sphere) and Yesod (foundation – center column, second sphere up). Above this is the barely visible exterior flame, the hottest part of all, paralleling Binah (understanding – top left sphere) . Then comes the light radiating from the candle, which is Chochmah (wisdom – top right sphere) . Finally, there is the concept of flame itself, and this corresponds to Keter (crown – the top sphere).
All of these parts are unified only through the wick – the physical world. By contemplating a flame in this manner, one can bind oneself to the Ten Sefirot.
This is enlightenment. This is pure unity. Garden of Eden consciousness.
This also makes this level of awareness the most guarded treasure. Protected by more than just the most challenging opponent – protected by it’s polar opposite – the concept of evil – Amalek – often described Kabalistically as “doubt” – yet it can mean so much more – the lesson here is that we need to really watch out for this one – and be prepared to engage and overcome this type of manifested energy when we meet up with it. This is how we transform its energy into its highest potential while attaining ours.
The power of our experience heats us up during the times we recognize the Source’s miracles in our lives – when we feel illuminated and connected as a people – and just then, Amalek attacks to cool us off from the heat of connection. That’s the greatest weapon of the adversary – to cool us off from spiritual momentum and steer us back to physical stagnation and constriction – back to”Egypt”.
Amalek represents the embodiment of pure evil – united – with the purpose of diminishing the holy light of unity in the sacred service of the Source.
I heard from my spiritual guide, from his international headquarters in Jerusalem, this morning – that Amalek were the folks who whispered into Pharoh’s ear to chase the nation of Israelites to the Red Sea. That’s pretty deep – the senior advisors to the dark side.
Amalek comes when we ask, “Is the Source in our midst, or not?”
I’ll leave to myself the remainder of his teaching, as this post is starting to get long – and the remainder of his words were, what some may consider, a “sticky” subject to discuss. A subject which summons up very strong, deeply rooted emotional and intellectually formed viewpoints with regard to our Divine obligation to “remember”, “have no pity”, and “completely wipe out” pure evil – including how and when. So, I’ll end on a much “lighter” note.
Light your meditation candle – and “see” your flame inside – envision the 10 Sefirot within – and fan that flame with the joyous winds of Adar.
Marbim b’simcha! (Increase Joy!)