Chapter 2: The Language of Symbols(3/4)
December 8, 2012 in Uncategorized
The Language of Symbols
Four- These are the four levels by which man interprets an appearance. First is the physical level on which life is material, nothing more than what the senses absorb. At this level man reacts mechanically believing that what physically appears is the only reality there is, and therefore there is no other way to deal with it but the physical way. Second is the intellectual level on which man acquires knowledge in attempt to explain the appearance. Third is the emotional, moral level on which man behaves according to what seems to be the most convincing knowledge at present. And the fourth is The Spiritual, Causative level.
The three first levels are connected to one another but the fourth level is distinct from them, although in a certain condition it may be a consequence of them. Back to our sailboat example, on the physical level man will see the boat, but wanting to sail it he will have to depend on someone else to do it for him. On the intellectual level he will see that sailing the boat requires wind. On the moral level, based on this knowledge he will
understand everything that he needs in order to sail the boat on his own. The Spiritual, Causative level, however, has nothing to do with all these. On this level we would interpret the whole event of sailing a boat upon the water with the help of wind differently, namely in a Spiritual way. Then the boat will have a different meaning, the water
will have a different meaning and the wind will have a different higher meaning in which the whole event has to do directly with the interpreter. At this level they are all taken as symbols.
The Kaballah explains this using the illustration of a burning candle.
First comes the wax that being a material represents the physical level. By the action of lighting the candle a flame comes about. At the bottom, close to the material, there is the blue flame that is a result of a straight reaction with the wax, representing the intellectual level. Then, looking farther than the material, we see that the flame turns white, representing the third level.
All these three are included in the definition of the burning candle. The wax, the blue flame and the white flame are included in the space that the candle occupies. However, the light that this candle produces extends beyond the physical space that the candle occupies. The light is intangible. It has a definition of its own, although being a consequence of the burning candle.
There is no guarantee that the three first levels of interpretation will lead to the fourth, Causative level, unless one acquires what this teaching calls a “psychological thinking”. Psychological thinking is when one gives a higher meaning to an appearance, than merely the physical one. It is when one can see beyond the literal, sense based interpretation of the appearance, understanding that the senses may, just as well, deceive us and not show us the whole picture of what we behold, therefore mislead us in the course of development.
Which things also we speak, not in the words which man’s wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual. (1st Cor. 2:13)
The first three levels are not sufficient to manifest the fourth, unless the intellectual interpretation of the physical event, from which the moral behavior derives, are all originating from the Spiritual level. Only then can the result be Causative.
This can be explaned using mathematical terms, when we multiply each level by all the four. It is possible to interpret the physical, intellectual and moral level from the physical stand point. It is possible to interpret them from the intellectual stand point, it is possible to interpret them from the moral stand point, and it is possible to interpret them all from the Spiritual stand point. The fourth level square.
It is the ultimate level of interpretation about which it is said:
“Foursquare it shall be being doubled; a span shall be the length thereof, and a span shall be the breadth thereof.” (Exodus 28:16)
It is told here of the breastplate of the high priest representing his spiritual identity and authority, being a kind of license to enter the temple. We do not speak, of course, of an icon, but of a state of mind that allows us to enter the most inner part of our Being.
The same story, same square appear in the book of Revelaions, only this time it is not told of a breastplate, but of the city of Jerusalem that symbolizes the highest degree of Consciousness.
There it is said:
”And the city lieth foursquare, and the length is as large as the breadth”
Only interpreting according to the spiritual level will put man on the path of awakening. At this level, physical reality is no longer the only reality there is. It is not what IS, but what seems to be to those whom it seems to be. The intellect starts to interpret appearances as symbols, exactly like we do with dreams, and those interpreted symbols become instructions and report cards for man to seriously consider if he is to awaken. Here, nothing is real accept for what we thought until now was unreal. Nothing material is important, but the things that until now we discarded as nonsense. It is most likely that a person that has reached this level will no longer be regarded to as “normal” according to society standards, for the simple reason, that everything that seems so real to them is no longer solid reality to him, and vise versa.
All four levels exist in man simultaneously, only being sound asleep, man lives mainly on the physical level. The Spiritual level, however, has to be awakened by studying and application exersices.
Five- These are the five absorbing senses: sight, smell, hear, taste and touch. It is by these senses that we decide which is real and which an illusion. The five senses relate to the physical level where the appearance corresponds to the senses and seems to be reality.
Notice that the Old Testament is made out of three main parts, Pentateuch, Prophets, and Hagiography. Each of these represents a level of understanding. Pentateuch represents the physical level, Prophets represents the intellectual, and hagiography represents the
The name Pentateuch is cut from the Greek word Pende (Five). It is not a coincidence then, that the first part of the bible is made out of five books, Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy, representing the five senses dominant on the physical level.
Later in this book we will return to the five senses and take them to a higher level, as an apparatus in the process of manifestation. If the senses are evidence to reality, then we will learn how to use them as evidence for the validness of Spiritual Reality, although seemingly it is not absorbed by the senses.
Six- We spoke earlier of the letter Vav as the connecting link between the past tense and the future tense in which the Old Testament is written, and said that it connects both to be Eternal Present. The numerical value of the letter Vav in the Hebrew alphabet, is six. Vav, in Hebrew means nail. Therefore, Vav is the (mental) nail that connects between what from a sense based perception seems like a multiplicity of entities in Creation, into one whole Being.
Vav is also the connecting link between ones Spiritual and physical reality. It represents the state of mind in which man is convinced beyond any doubt in the realness of the spiritual reality as valid as the physical one. In that state of mind man actually becomes his spiritual reality, although yet invisible in physical reality. And of course we cannot speak of the meaning of six without mentioning the devil’s identity as the famous three sixes. I will elaborate on that further in the book. For now I will give you a hint and say that like everything else in this teaching, the devil also is not an external being, but represents one’s sense based perception of Self due to shrinking in Consciousness, and identifying with what seems to be instead of what IS. This shrinking in Consciousness is represented in scripture in the story of crucifixion. There it is told that Jesus is nailed to the cross by his two hands and feet. An imaginary line drawn between the three points of nails ( three sixes), will give a downward triangle showing the direction of the limiting of ones perception of Self, along with the fragmentation of Creation into what from this stand point looks like separate entities , to be reconnected, again, by the Vav.
Seven- The first thing that comes to mind when mentioning the number seven in this connection, is of course the seven days of Creation as told in Genesis 1. Although we were taught that the climax of the story of creation is the creation of man, you’re not alone if you find this statement inaccurate and the truth to be a little more complicated than that. In fact the story of creation is told in a descending order, from the most lofty idea represented as the intangible term “Light”, to the most shrunken idea represented as sensual term “Image”.
Therefore the number seven represents the degrees of one’s perception of Self, in act of focusing, zooming in, to the most private idea of Self. Let me try to explain it this way. When we think of Creation, our most expanded conceivability would be the whole universe, the Cosmos. This would be the Absolute that consists all in all. Then we will see that the universe in made out of galaxies. One of the galaxies in the Milky Way. The Milky Way is made out of many systems, one of them to be the solar system. In the center of the solar system there is the sun. The sun influences the whole system including the planet Earth, which is in the center of the cycle course of the moon. This was only to illustrate the zooming in. But here, we are not interested in the construction of the universe, we may have probably already asked ourself, what does this have to do with me?”
If to consider these degrees starting from the most limited stand
point, then it is like a spiral opens above you, and it widens as it goes
up until it covers All there Is. I will do another attempt to explain this,
this time the other way around. This time I will start at the bottom. Our
most limited perception of Self is as private beings, each of us to be a
separate entity living in a separate body. Then we are part of a family.
This term unites a few such separate bodies into one group with each body of the group being integrally identified with it. But this group did not come out of no where. A family being consisted of two parents and children, each of the parents is connected to their own parents, connected to their own, and so forth, along with their relatives, connecting more such groups called families into a definition of extended family, clan, or tribe if you like. The private that we started with, is integrally connected to all these definitions in mutual interest and common identity with each member of the family. But there is more.
The population of a country is made out of many such extended families, and each member of this population corresponds to an identity in accordance, known as citizenship. Citizens of different countries constitute what we call the human race. Being able to define one self as human race means that he is identified with Creation as being part of it, at this point still, Creation as everything that he beholds and can conceive but on a more extended level, Creation as the whole universe, namely All There Is.
Can you, at any point of what was mentioned so far, say that you are
not identified with the degree of definition? All you need, really, is to
give it a thought, and break the shell of your limited definition of Self.
Do you remember the famous Salvador Dali drawing where you can
see a man stretching inside an egg shell, trying to break out?
The number seven also represents the seven aspects of Conscious
Mind- thinks, Principle- governs, Spirit- constitutes, Soul embodies, Life- animates, Truth- satisfies and Love- fulfills.
We will elaborate on the aspects further in the book for it is still early at this
stage. I will only use this opportunity to bring the interpretation of another group of symbols significant in scripture and this teaching, colors.
Colors represent the aspects.
Each aspect has its color:
Two more significant colors that are not included in the list of aspects but essential for this teaching are
Eight- Regeneration. The terms used in scripture for the significance of what the number eight represents are: re-birth, resurrection, some would call it reincarnation. Of course, none of these are to be taken literally in the sense that someone physically dies and gets up from the dead. To be re-born means that one sees life from a different perspective. The number eight symbolizes starting over, only this time from a different stand point. In scripture it is called “to be born from above”, and it is said that unless man is born from above he cannot enter the Kingdom Of Heaven. Practically, it means that once having a first hand experience of The Truth, and gaining the wisdom of that experience, man proceeds from the stand point of Wisdom towards the next experiences, each providing further wisdom, and so forth.
Freedom Barry says that the ceiling of one manifestation is the floor of the next. This saying perfectly illustrates the meaning of the number 8. Maurice Nicoll uses the octave (cut from the Greek word Ochto- eight), to explain this. An octave starts with the sound Do, and goes on, Re, Mi, Fa, Sol, La, Si, Do. The Last Do is the first of the next octave, and an octave starts again, only this time in a higher sound, until the next Do that will start another octave with even a higher sound and so on.
Yes! “and so on” means that it goes on forever. Eternally. And indeed, the number 8 symbolizes infinity. Laying on its side, it is the mathematical symbol for infinity.
You don’t have to physically die to regenerate, and re-birth does not mean a physical birth, but a new perspective of seeing everything that you behold.
Nine- . I always had a special sympathy to the number nine, that in arithmetic actions always looks like an amusing magic. This number symbolizes perfection. It represents awakening. If you want to know the meaning of that, all you have to do is, as Vivian suggests, draw the number 9 and continue the line in cycles. You will see that you are drawing an endless spiral, and you could go on forever.
Ten- Ten is equal in value to One. Maybe this is why there are 10 spheres of The Tree of Life, and Ten Commandments that originate from The One. I will devote a whole chapter to the number Ten, in attempt to explain the emanation of life from The Absolute- One.
Twelve- The 12th letter of the Hebrew alphabet is Lamed, which name is cut from the root verb “to learn, teach”. Therefore it is not a coincidence that the number of Jesus’ disciples is twelve, not as persons that did things in places 2000 years ago, but as faculties of man’s mind, as preparation to apply what we are taught in order to awaken. The 12 disciples are an improved version of the 12 tribes, sons of Jacob, that if to judge by the blessing of their father in Genesis 49, such an improved version of the faculties was certainly necessary if we are to acknowledge what the Bible teaches us.