Copyright (C) 2000 by William Mistele. All rights reserved.
Note: This is the part II of my essay, The Presence of God. Parts I and II are so far a first draft and about one third of a book I am putting together on this subject.
Four Levels to Finding the Presence of God
The following are general guidelines. It is possible to describe some fundamental states of mind that are requisite for entering the Presence of God. It is also possible to cheat and skip over them. You can produce them artificially on a temporary basis as a kind of self hypnosis or act of will. But the results you achieve will also be temporary and limited.
Balaam and the devil could both pass over them, for they could each hold a direct conversation with God without burning bushes, or signs, or having to climb a mountain for forty days and nights. But since their purposes were altogether antithetical to the purposes of God, their interactions with God were not productive and certainly did not serve the purposes of love.
1. In the first level, you let go of your identity and become open, receptive, and clear. Some individuals who are advanced and highly skilled in meditation do not let go of their identities when they meditate. A Buddhist, or for that matter, a Hindu, a Taoist, a Moslem, a Jew, or a Christian may utilize robes, incense, a temple, and ceremonies to advance on his spiritual path.
But at some point he discovers he no longer needs these supports for his mind and heart. Consciousness does not need to identity with anything. On the other hand, I find it fairly easy to find examples of individuals who have mastered an entire spectrum of spiritual realizations and trances. But these individuals cling to the wrappings of their traditions as if to say, “This is who I am.” They like their religious addiction and this turns part of their hearts hard so that they are unwilling to risk letting go and becoming completely receptive.
You can see this with lovers. There are individuals who love each other and they love being in the relationship. But they would never risk their identity for the sake of their love. They neither imagine nor would it ever enter their hearts the idea of being one with their lover.
As I have mentioned under Netzach, the idea of letting go to the point of becoming one is simply too dangerous. The moment you become completely open and receptive you also have to deal with the darkness within yourself. Many advanced practitioners in every spiritual tradition are terrified of losing their historical identities should they cross the well-defined boundaries that define that tradition.
But love is altogether different than this. In love, you can let go of yourself without knowing where you are or what you are becoming. It is the only state of mind in which this open receptivity can be accomplished.
This is not the same as trust, for trust still feels vulnerable and in need. And it is not faith, because faith forges a connection through force of will utilizing the divine creativity that is within yourself. But those with great faith rarely are open and receptive. Faith and love are completely different.
Instead, this is an openness in which you feel you are in love and a part of love. Love flows through you and you know it to be both your origin and your destiny. You take the openness and receptivity of a little child. And you put that innocence into the mind of an adult who is determined to put aside all worries, concerns, and insecurities. The mind is then focused to the point of achieving clarity and then you have what I am talking about.
2. While retaining the letting go, openness, receptivity, and clarity of the first level, you now withdraw your five senses from the external world. This is to say, you are focused inward. But this inward focus does not narrow the mind. It is not self-hypnosis. You are not less awake, less aware, or less conscious.
Instead, you enter an inner space that is sacred. You become a sacred space. Your body, soul, mind, and spirit are a temple. Again, you are letting go so that you are open, receptive, and clear. But now your consciousness is sealed off from the outer world and dedicated for an encounter with the infinite.
Within this temple there is suspense. There is silence and stillness. It is as if everything in the universe is present--it is that open--yet there are not images, no sounds, and no sensations of any kind.
You yourself are now sacred because you seek the origin of all that is sacred and all that is divine. For this reason, you are beyond fear. Fear can not enter here. You are also beyond images, symbols, and sacred traditions. What has gone before and previous revelations (whatever their value and importance) can not define the Living God whose Presence you seek to enter at this time.
3. God is everywhere and in everything. On the third level, you open your senses to perceive Him. The senses perceive sensations. But they are also intensified by desire and amplified by need. There is a way and a time to seek. And there is a time just to perceive.
The poet says, “Where is the friend I seek everywhere? Dawn is the time of loneliness and care. When morning comes, I am still yearning, through my heart is burning, burning.”
And yet others say that He is the one “in whom we live, move, and have our being.” This poet from Crete, unlike the Apostle Paul who was quoting him, was not talking about a doctrine or belief. He was describing God through first hand experience.
And another poet speaks without a specific reference, “Oh Mystery, you are alive. I feel you all around. You are the fire in my heart. You are the holy sound....Grant that I may feel you always in everything.” This poet senses the awesome and unbound source of all of life appearing within his heart. Though it makes him vulnerable and perhaps too empathic, the request he made in his poem was granted to him.
Consider the five senses. If consciousness were a tuning fork attuned to the Presence of God, it would begin to hum. There is a sound present. Some say that this sound is AUM which is the mantra for the entire visible and invisible universe. But the Presence of God called the universe into being. It is the source of all sound. You could say that this silence is the source of all songs of mirth, joy, and love.
There is no light or image present. But there is an “inner light.” Its illumination is everywhere, in the darkest place and in the greatest despair. Every image--the sun, the stars, and moon, sunrise, sunset, the trees in bloom, the lover’s eyes, the dazzling path of sunlight on the ocean that travels out to the horizon--every image of the eye and of the imagination is the gift of this light.
And as for touch, the ocean of this love that surrounds you extends to infinity. It is in every cell of your body. It has the vibration of sound. It has the radiation of light. It has the strength, empathy, and tactile quality of being in the arms of a lover who loves you with all of his or her heart.
As for taste, in the touch of the tongue separation is overcome. The boundaries that skin defines no longer limit or confine. Nerve pathways cross over and join together. If you already know of such bliss then you can also discover this. Each of the five senses is a door that opens to infinity. Each contains divinity. Who on earth would speak against this? Who would deny that the Presence of God is the taste of bliss?
In smell, fragrance travels through the air. But He is in every breath. He is within, beneath, and the source of every heartbeat. As you inhale and exhale, you can feel vitality circulating through your body. In smell is the fragrance of immortality, a fragrance that provides healing everywhere.
On the third level, then, we do what others say can not be done. We open our senses, our intuition, our minds, and our hearts to sense and to enter the Presence of God. The temple that we are exists for the sake of a celebration. This celebration is a homecoming. It is who we are. The Presence of God is within us. He is our dwelling place. We enter this space to share, to learn, to love, and to be inspired with the ability to make the world new.
4. In the fourth level, you make the Presence part of yourself so that it influences the world. It becomes strong and stable so it endures. It is not a vision or conversion experience you get at one point in time and then leave it where it was so you can get on with your life or your cause. You return again and again until it becomes substantial and living.
The archangel Gabriel says to Zacharias, “I am Gabriel, who stands in the presence of God,...” (Luke 1:19). Gabriel is not a little messenger who runs around delivering messages. He is in God’s Presence continuously. It is a safe bet that if Gabriel has a message to convey he will find a way to communicate it against all odds.
There are many such as St. Columba who can say in a similar way, “I stand in the Presence of God.” Here are a few paragraphs from my story about St. Columba:
Columba, passing beyond the boundaries St. Paul had imposed upon himself, said there is no more need of belief once you have had the experience of the Kingdom. Near the very end, Columba said to his disciple and scribe Baithene that many mysteries have been revealed to him and that “I beheld His glory! He came Himself to me, and I abode with Him.”
Let us pause for a moment, for such words are easily passed over or ignored completely by theologians or ministers who never ventured forth to explore and chart the seas of the heart. Columba’s affirmation and fulfillment in attaining God’s Presence came only after a lifetime of service and also solitary comtemplations. It was like this: in the decade before meeting God face to face, Columba would sit upon his hill or in his solitary cell and call out with these words, “Oh God.” And then he would sit still for hours on end as if waiting for God to come, for an acknowledgment, or for a response.
And as this decade drew to a close, when Columba said, “Oh God,” the meaning of the words changed. They no longer meant, “I am waiting for You to come to me, to come to me from so far.” Rather, they now said, “I surrender the purpose of my life and my desire to serve. They no longer have meaning in the Presence of Your Being. I surrender my name and my lineage. Who I am and from whence I have come are as nothing. I shall not use them as a barrier to prevent You from drawing near.”
We may wonder what else a solitary soul can do to let go beyond surrendering identity, desire, thoughts, beliefs, and doctrines. But Columba offered even more. Not long before encountering God, his words, “Oh God,” began to mean, “I embrace the abyss of emptiness and the void of darkness without fear, for these too are as nothing to You, the Creator.”
And then it came to Columba, the final realization. Columba sat on a rock on the beach not far from his monastery facing Mull Island. The sun set and in the twilight the cliffs of Mull began to burn as rays of red light played upon their slopes. The wind began to die. The white caps on the waves shrank and then vanished. A group of seagulls cried as a hawk flew through their midst around the bend.
Columba watched as darkness set in. He then watched the turning of the stars in the sky. The moon rose, reached her summit, and then began to descend. Sitting here for hours without thinking, just listening, it was in this moment that it came to him.
Columba spoke again the words, “Oh God.” But now he went on speaking aloud. “Why I have never seen this before? You are everywhere and in everything. The Joy is beyond comprehension. The wind is Your breath. The water is Your blood. The whole earth is full of Your love. Your heartbeat causes the sun to rise, the stars to shine, and all lovers to love.”
And during that night upon that beach on the East side of Iona, Columba attained what only a few in the history our race have so far attained--an inner union with God. And so when some would say that it was embellishment, fabrication, or too much praise when men report that Columba’s aura was bright enough to light up the night. But you see, Columba was no longer like you or me. The source of light and darkness both, the Creator Himself, was alive and thriving in Columba’s heart. Like I say, this was not belief or faith but direct and personal experience.
Like the taste of infinite peace, the Joy that causes the Creator to create, or the love that joins all hearts on earth--inner union with God is ecstasy beyond the power of words to describe. Unlike Balaam, Columba had no fear of this love.
And so, Columba found the kingdom of God within his soul, the place where he belonged. Columba would say that this Kingdom is here and now all around us. It is as near as our own heart and it is more real than any world into which we are born or from which we depart. When you return home and truly see it for the first time, as did Columba, you know in that moment beyond all doubt that the whole world is Divine.
The Presence of God in Tipareth
In Presence of God in Tipareth creates integration, unity, and full consciousness of all aspects of life and the universe--a cosmic harmony and union. The entire universe exists in a state of oneness yet who is conscious of this? This is an ecstasy imbued with great power, for it is the ecstasy from which the Creator creates. It envisions, calls into being, grants life, nurtures, inspires, awakens, oversees, heals, restores, renews, fulfills, and grants power like unto its own power.
The Presence of God in Tipareth is the Great Harmony that unifies the ten sephira. As I enter this Presence, I can sense immediately how it fuses the previous four sephira. To be here is also to be a part of the Presence of God in Malkuth--this is knowing beyond all doubt that you are manifesting on earth practical and useful wonders that shall endure for ever. It is also the Presence of God in Yesod--you sense a sea of infinite peace and bliss and that you are a part of this sea and that this sea flows through you without ceasing and under all conditions.
It is the Presence of God in Hod--knowing that at will you can enter the space of spirit from which the Creator creates and that your mind is directly illuminated by His inspiration. And it is the Presence of God in Netzach--knowing beyond all doubt that you can freely join your consciousness to the mind and heart of any other being in the universe, that omnipresence, the art of God, is an art you have mastered in no small degree. These previous four sephira, when drawn into integration and fusion, are the introduction to the Presence of God in Tipareth.
To enter this space is to know what it is to love God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength. It is to know what it is to sacrifice all for an ideal. It is to walk through the darkest place with perfect, complete, and absolute faith. There is no holding back with Tipareth. You learn to create as God creates having been tried and tested by the limitations and conditions that history and life have imposed upon us so that we might learn to ascend into the light.
Therefore, you must put aside your feelings of shame, fear, despair, self-rejection, or repression--anything that causes you to feel weak inside. If you go to a counselor with a problem or a frustrated desire, the counselor will seek to find a solution to your problem or discover how to satisfy your desire. But Tipareth has a different process. Inside of offering a solution to a problem or the satisfaction of a desire, it offers absolute freedom--it grants you the power to solve any problem and to satisfy every desire. It is a much slower and longer process, but the goal, again, is to master the art of creation.
Within the Presence of God, I notice a continuous exploration and discovery of opposites and an awareness that encompasses all that is within these opposites so they are fused into a new unity. There is nothing left out of this process. There is no fake or partial purity that the religious mind often mistakes as devotion to God. The pious are frequently tempted to take a little bit from each opposite and join these together in accordance with the conformity and security offered by ritual or sanctioned by tradition. This they call devotion and being faithful.
Tipareth is not so limited. It grasps every aspect of every opposite without fear of impurity, contamination, or temptation. The fusion it produces is not just “righteous living” but a new creation.
But the pious are correct in their procedures if you accept normal human limitations-- namely, they would repress those desires and deny those spiritual powers that are normally beyond the human ability to master or capture. And they are right to do this if you do not have absolute faith, if your mind lacks penetrating insight, and if you do not have a love that embraces the universe. But, on the other hand, these things are precisely what God’s Presence provides if you seek to unite with Him rather than fashioning your life to abide within the doctrines and traditions formulated by the minds of men.
If an individual tries to enter this light before he is ready or if someone should try to force this level of realization upon someone else, then both become blind. The light is too bright for their eyes and their hearts are unable to endure this intensity of joy. As I have said before, some individuals are slaves within their hearts. For them, to gaze at absolute freedom is to behold a horror that annihilates them. They have identified themselves with a code of ethics and behavior. They accept without question the assumptions under which others have chosen to live their lives. They do not test their boundaries and they do not search for a higher truth than what has been handed down to them. And this is, after all, a place where they feel protected. Each shall seek the Presence of God when he or she is ready, in their own time and in their own way. How could it be otherwise?
It is possible, however, for any individual to catch a glimpse of Presence of God in Tipareth. For example, an individual goes to church and hears Handel’s Messiah. The words are sung, “And He shall reign forever and ever,” “...and the dead shall be raised incorruptible,” “I know that my redeemer liveth and that I shall see in the latter days upon the earth,” “the kingdom of this world has become the kingdom of our God and of His Christ.”
The music inspires. For a moment, the listener may feel he or she has entered the Kingdom of God. The present moment fades away. Time is suspended and eternity draws near. In such a moment, an individual may feel that all that exists is the light of God’s Presence.
When you catch a glimpse of the Presence of God in Tipareth, you know in your heart that there shall be a “new heavens and a new earth.” You know in your bones and in your blood that all things shall be made new. It is not really a matter of faith. It is more like a dream that is so real it is more real than any reality.
But then again there is no time frame on this vision. You have to find the divine kingdom--a kingdom of love, peace, justice, beauty, and joy--you have to find it first within your heart. Otherwise whatever society is established on earth--even if it is brought about and ruled over by Christ--it will only be temporary and in part an illusion even as John described a millennium of peace that is to come. According to John, this millennium will finally end in destruction because most of the people in this kingdom never found the Presence of God within their hearts.
For a kingdom of peace, you first have to find infinite peace within your heart and understand the source of all power before you can establish peace on earth. If you want peace, you have to pay the price by being able to create peace amid and in the presence of the greatest hatred, malice, and darkness. Otherwise, the peace you have will be unstable and subject to destruction at that point when you encounter a will of malice that decides to undo your work.
In Tipareth is also harmony and freedom. Entering the Presence of God, you come to understand that nothing can bind you because you can understand the nature of anything and the purpose and part it has to play in creation. In the Hindu cosmology, the gods and goddesses appeared from out of the meditation of Brahma, the creator. And as they took form and appeared for the first time, Brahma assigned to each one a name and a purpose to fulfill.
When Kama, the god of love, appeared Brahma assigned to him power over all the gods and goddesses for the sake of love and to insure the unfolding of creation. Kama often acts whimsically and causes great suffering. But the impulse and desire must first be present before you can study it and observe its influence. It first takes experience and then through conscious understanding you can bring desire into harmony with everything else in life. Each desire and impulse is full of light. If you can find the light that shines within them, then you become wise, attain harmony, and exercise free choice.
Harmony requires mediation between conflicting desires and intentions. A highly skilled mediator, for example, becomes aware of all the thoughts, feelings, intentions, and events relating to a conflict between opposing parties. The mediator then extends warmth, understanding, empathy, clarity, and, above all else, a sense of fairness to each individual who is involved in the conflict.
This sense of being fair, that dissolves fear, anxiety, and greed, serves to inspire those in conflict. It is as if those in dispute end up saying to themselves, “If the mediator can be friendly, fair-minded, and clear about what is motivating the other person, then perhaps I can work with this person as well. I know this because the mediator has dissolved my fears and has brought clarity to my confusion. The situation has changed. It is time now to get on with our lives rather than remain struck in a past that leads no where.”
The Presence of God is in the present moment. No prophet or scripture, however great or sacred, can exert an authority or power from out of the past that in any way equals what the Presence of God can do right now in this moment. God as freedom empowers your freedom of choice. The ecstasy and beauty of God enable you to make free choices that also assume complete responsibility for bringing all aspects of life into balance.
The skilled mediator is conscious of all aspects of a situation of conflict. His level of consciousness dissolves negativity. The harmony of God creates peace. It makes you conscious of all aspects of life and all purposes that are unfolding and moving toward fulfillment both in the visible and in the invisible worlds.
A mediator does not impose a solution upon others in conflict. He empowers others by offering a process through which they can discover their own best choices. This is analogous to what a creator does: He nurtures, encourages, inspires, awakens, oversees, restores, and grants power unto others like unto his own power.
As I again focus on the Presence of God in Tipareth, I sense a radiance--it is undying, untiring, and it never goes out. It is everywhere in the universe and it is available to every being who seeks it.
I find it very reassuring. It is full of infinite joy. Many people, if you asked them, have a wish list of what they want out of life. They also have crossed off of this wish list all sorts of things that they know to be impossible and beyond their grasp, too difficult or unusual even to hope for or dream about.
This radiance in God’s Presence is not an immediate solution to their problems, but it offers the assurance that those problems can be solved. It has a way of turning you into a creator so that you when you say, “This is missing and that also is missing from my life,” you can also say, “There is a way to fulfill the deepest desires within my heart. God has granted me the means and opened the way for me to accomplish this.”
You can ask whatever you want of God. But there is a price. You have to be willing to become the vehicle through what you ask for can manifest. You have to allow yourself to become transformed into the being who is able to grant to others as well the kind of things you request. If you want the deepest desires satisfied, you are learning to touch the power that fulfills these desires under all circumstances and conditions.
As I continue focusing on this radiance, I feel I am entering and becoming one with a sea of infinite light. This sea is everything that is light--it grants sight, insight, and illumination. It offers energy, power, and clarity of vision. Since it is everywhere, there is nothing hidden from it. It offers the ability to understand anything.
For thousands of years, Buddhists have written many texts and offered many teachings on enlightenment. You could call the radiance from the Presence the source of all enlightenment. It is not just the enlightenment of an individual. Within this radiance it is possible to gaze back upon yourself and to speak of your individuality and historical identity. But the radiance--which is the nature of unrestricted consciousness--is in no way limited to individual existence.
This radiance is the enlightenment not just of a race or of a planetary evolution. It is the enlightenment of the universe. It is the light in the mind of the Creator who calls two hundred billion galaxies into existence by the sound of His voice.
During another meditation, I take about fifteen minutes to feel connected to this Presence. At this time, I feel my body has become a sun. The radiant solar light is welling up inside of me, overflowing, even exploding outward in brilliant light.
It is as if my body is a temple. There is this emptiness or open space of nothingness within this temple. And within this space light manifests without end and without limitation. The light is being created out of nothingness and there is no way to measure the source from which it arises other than to say it derives from the infinite.
The level of power in my meditation is not very great although I am clearly focused on the Presence. There are not waves of heat emanating from my body. I do not feel special in any way. I do not notice that anything in particular about myself is different. Except, I do feel like I am home--I am where I am meant to be. And, at least during this meditation, I feel beyond all human need.
If desires were clouds, thunderstorms, hurricanes, and tornadoes, then I feel like the sky that contains all of these things and allows them free play. But the sky remains in itself unaffected and completely free. The Buddha once said that “when I attained perfect enlightenment, I attained to nothing at all.” Buddha did not feel that he had become different. The world was not different. But he saw the world as it really is.
I notice that identifying with the light as I am doing in this meditation does not change anything at all. I am not more religious. I am not more devote. I have not ascended. There is no halo around my head. I have no new missions or message to convey.
I have the same bank account. The same house is around me. I have all the same limitations. Except I am just more aware of the possibilities with which I can respond. And there is this feeling of giving, of being radiant without end. The radiance, the giving, and feeling of creativity are side effects of the joy and ecstasy from which the light arises.
Of all the higher spirits in our solar system, the spirits of the solar sphere, of the sun, are slightly different. They are more wild and free in their creativity. These spirits are not just inspired by God. They are joined to God from within themselves. In their hearts is the ecstasy of being in union with divinity.
At a seminar I attended, one individual said, “I feel like I am in love even though I do not have a lover.” There are different levels to this experience. After countless lifetimes, of loving and being loved, there comes a point in time when you encounter the Lover who is within yourself. This Lover consumes all that you are and in doing so you feel like you have been transformed. The radiance you now give feels like the radiance of a star.
The Presence of God in Gevurah creates the will and the power to overcome all obstacles and obstructions. There is personal will and power. There is also cosmic will and power. In this domain, we learn to join these two focusing first on a level of self-mastery that enables the individual to contain within him or herself and also consciously direct the powers of creation to designated ends.
As I meditate entering the Presence, I have both a visual and a tactile perception. I see the image of a magnifying glass and I have the sensation of becoming this magnifying glass. The human body and soul are often said to be a microcosm of the macrocosm. We reflect within us everything in the universe.
Everything that exists has a vibration and is an energy. A human being is able to reflect within himself or herself the energy and vibration of any specific thing. The Creator, having created everything, is the source of everything. As you enter the Presence in Gevurah, you approach this realization that the vibration, the life, and the spirit of anything can be found within yourself.
But this is not just an internal mirror reflecting within something outside of yourself. This Presence is ever ready to act and change the world. Therefore, it also bestows the ability to contain within yourself, that is, to control the vibration, the energy, and the consciousness of anything. You are not just running a simulation or imitating the vibration of trees, animals, human beings, stars, seas, and spirits. Your consciousness is not just duplicating their energy so you can experience their existence. You also can contain something in the sense of absolutely mastering, influencing, and redirecting the energy and spirit of specific things and beings.
In the Old Testament, there are many examples of wars and confrontations between opposing armies. Often, as a demonstration of divine inspiration, a small force is empowered to overcome a much greater force. The confrontation is physical and the outcome, although produced through violence, clearly demonstrates the superiority of spirit over worldly power as in the saying, “Not by might, not by power, but by My Spirit.”
The Presence of God in Gevurah is quite different from these historical examples of battles won on behalf of God. The demonstration of power is far more subtle. I often give the example of Pope Leo who single-handedly turned back the largest army in the world. There is no need for physical conflict because the spiritual authority present dissolves any human will no matter how powerful. In the martial arts, the example is sometimes given of two opponents who in facing off against each other first sense each other’s level of internal power. It becomes obvious at this point who is superior and thus the need for a physical combat can be avoided.
There is the story of a female martial artist who had reached the final stage of a state championship in her martial art. As she faced her opponent, the two of them looked into each other’s eyes. The man suddenly conceded the championship to her without a fight. A few weeks later he quit the martial arts altogether. The problem for him was that he had never encountered a level of will that was cosmic in dimension. And this she clearly possessed.
You could say she defeated his spirit making the physical demonstration of her power unnecessary. He thought he was participating in a tournament, a sporting event to determine who had more skill. She, however, had decided that it was not a sport at all. It was an ordeal in a spiritual dimension to determine whose will was superior.
The Presence is not concerned with superiority of wills. Its interest is in self-mastery through aligning oneself with and mastering the energies and vibrations of the universe. You do not have to defeat your enemies. You can cooperate with them and defuse hostility by demonstrating that you are master of all that exists within the other. Your consciousness contains the other person’s will, power, energy, and inspiration within yourself.
Understand that consciousness seeks to expand itself. It tests its boundaries. It attempts to grasp and master the forces both within and without that shape and influence its actions. It strives to take control of its environment and to overcome the obstacles that hinder its freedom of expression.
It is not hard to grasp that every sentient being possesses a will to survive--the survival instinct. Without it, nothing lasts very long. But there is a spiritual dimension as well when it comes testing an individual’s power and will.
Fables and mythology speak of magical names. In the Old Testament, for example, the name of God was pronounced only the high priest and only once a year. In that highly ritualized and ceremonial tradition, a name properly spoken called forth the presence of the spirit it represented.
If you confront a demon or hostile spirit, a mythical beast, an archetypal image, or some unknown creature, you can overcome this being by knowing its magical name. The magical name is nothing else than containing within your consciousness the will, the dreams, the desires, and all that motivates and empowers the other at the core of its being.
To do this, you follow the desire in the other to its source and origin. You understand how the will in the other has been shaped and formed. You perceive the energy within it, what drives and moves it, and its strengths and limitations. This is an outstanding accomplishment. To know another’s magical name means that you are so present in the other’s strength and will that your opponent can only attack you by first turning against himself.
I am sure you can image how such a high telepathic and empathic ability such as this could easily be abused. But the Presence does not seek to control. It empowers. When Peter asked Christ to bid him to walk on water also, Christ did not hold back. He was generous. It is as if he were saying, “You have seen that the elements of nature obey my will. This I would share with you also. Come and join me. Walk on water even as I am doing now.” But Peter’s faith would fail and the lesson was lost in spite of an occasional saint whose faith ventured beyond the limits set by Peter, the disciples, and the historical church.
As I enter the Presence of God in Gevurah, I encounter a power that is infinite. You can not probe or explore its depths because it is limitless. Or, to put this another way, you can go on exploring this power forever. This Presence is open and friendly and there are no restrictions placed upon the extent you can unite with it.
It is perfectly clear that the power that is this Presence can not be threatened or overcome. It is the source of everything that exists. Therefore, this Presence serves as motivation to take hold of any problem and seek a solution. It inspires you to take hold of any obstacle and comprehend its essence. There is nothing you can not understand from a divine perspective as to its origin, its nature, its purpose, and its place in creation. The Presence grants you the ability to gather your energy, focus your will, and act to fulfill the deepest purposes of life, both human and divine.
Again, entering the Presence, I have a sense of being united to the power that enables an individual to accomplish any mission. There is work in life that is human. There is work in life that is divine. We are assigned tasks to accomplish in life. On occasion, we also are assigned divine missions. Sometimes the two are the same thing. To reach out to another with love is both human and divine.
I think about the will that has empowered the lives of various individuals--my track coach in high school who was a captain in the Marines, my father whose will shaped his business enterprise, the fighter pilot I met who lead the attack on Pearl Harbor, a famous TV actor, and so forth. I think too about the many world leaders whose wills I have studied, probed, and meditated on for decades. And I think of the wills of various spirits who I have worked with over the years--Vehuiah of the sphere of Mercury, Emnasut of the sphere of the sun, Malchjdael of the sphere of Jupiter, the Judges of Saturn, etc.
The Presence is very clear on this point--if you are certain in your heart that there is a task or work that it has been appointed for you to accomplish or that you have accepted out of service to Divine Providence, then the Presence grants you the power necessary for this task. Amid conflict, struggle, strife, war, confusion, and chaos, there is a central point of balance through which all opposing forces may be restored to harmony.
The Presence of God in Gevurah takes you to this point. It introduces you directly and guides you in the mastery of those powers both within the psyche and spirit and within nature and the larger universe that enable you to take charge and to accomplish whatever your work is.
As I meditate again in the Presence, the level of power I sense is cosmic in dimension but it is also personal as well. It is easy for me to see how the Presence is the power that underlies the forces of nature. I can sense the tornado and the hurricane and the power that is beneath them. I can sense the volcano erupting and the tsunami and the Presence again is within them. I can sense a nuclear explosion and an asteroid hitting the earth, a larger asteroid colliding with Jupiter, a star exploding, and the gases traveling near the speed of light as they are caught in the whirlpool of a black hole. There is a cold ferocity to the Presence that is just a statement about the way things are.
But the personal is here also with questions just as dynamic as they bear upon the choices we make in life. For example, the Presence often leads me to ask, What is it I have to change in myself or in the world, what do I have to do or become so that what is willed is fulfilled. What do I have to do so that a problem I face never occurs again? What action is required so that fate is overcome?
I remember a Tibetan lama who, during his ceremonies, liked to assign tasks to various students who were rowdy or uncooperative. These students did not know themselves well enough to abide by any form of discipline. So he would say things like, “I want you to get up. Go to your room and pack some cloths. Travel and find a cave in Canada and remain there for a year and then return here. Do all of this without saying one word to anyone.”
Or he would say to another person, “I want you to go on a pilgrimage traveling around the world. Visit many holy sites and then when you are done, return here.” And surprisingly, these students would do exactly as he said as best they could. But the idea behind his words was fascinating. Since he taught enlightenment, he felt there was always something you could do, an action you could perform, that could strengthen your will and concentration.
If you talk too much and are overly dependent on others, you practice silence. If you are phlegmatic and bogged down, you go on a quest. There is always some action that enables you to come to terms with and confront the part of yourself that is intractable. There is always a place where you belong, but you have to strive to find it. And in the process of seeking, you become transformed.
The Presence in Gevurah is like this. There are no limits to what you can become. You just have to find the right course of action or the right practice that enables you to be transformed. The Presence is the absolute assurance that this is possible. The Presence is the perception that the inner and the outer worlds are two aspects of the same thing. You can proceed inward or outward or combine the two. But in the end you learn to master both of them for the physical and the spiritual worlds are one world.
The Presence of God in Chesed
The Presence of God in Chesed creates opportunities for new experience and for fulfillment. It is the vision and the materialization of wealth on every level of human existence. This is the basic landscape of Chesed: you find yourself in a place in life where you are serving others. You are giving far more than you receive because of the abilities you have to offer. And yet at the same time, every need you have is satisfied.
You have wealth because you have become the custodian of wealth. You are the gatekeeper to the cosmic and divine treasury, a storehouse of all resources that expands life and offers new experience. To put it simply, you are in the right place at the right time with every benefit of good luck and fortune. You are guided and inspired, surrounded by love and friends.
Your work is incredibly challenging, satisfying, and exciting. Work and love are united and the best of friends. Almost without effort, each year a new desire within the depths of your heart is fulfilled. Your life is a miracle. You are totally committed and you feel completely free.
The Presence of God offers this. It is a state of mind and an inner experience. In the movie, Shawshank Redemption, one prisoner says of another that he looks so relaxed and free as he walks in the prison courtyard it is as if he is going for a stroll through his garden. Some individuals when affected by adversity still possess a wealth of soul and spirit. They may be in jail for twenty years but when the get out they do not become terrorists and demagogues. They rise to lead their nations to freedom and justice.
When they are granted the power they seek, they use that power to serve rather than to perpetuate domination and exploitation. Rather than whine or complain, they envision. They do not get even or seek revenge or cut deals to serve their private ends. Rather, they embody a nobility and they astonish others with their generosity. Such as these are the servants and guardians of life and within them the divine light is very bright.
The Presence of God in Chesed establishes a community. This community is not just a set of friends and a well-connected organization. It is a community that has become a family. Its members are inspired by the heart of life and are committed to accomplishing the highest and greatest work that can benefit others.
This community serves but it is so wise and balanced that it probes the depths of soul and spirit to discover what grants the deepest fulfillment. This community does not define itself as special, elite, or open only to certain people. Its members do not enjoy special privileges and fringe benefits due to rank, loyalty, and seniority. They certainly do not define themselves by what they believe or by the ceremonies of a sacred tradition.
Instead, this community defines its success by the wealth it is able to offer to others. There are problems solved, conflicts resolved, inspiration granted, healing provided, broken hearts mended, despair banished, doors opened, work and new life achieved. And the connection between its members is more solid and powerful than that offered in any secret organization or military forces. It is an inner connection--heart to heart and soul to soul.
This connection, as in the other sephira, is the inspiration of the Creator who, out of joy, makes the world new. The inspiration is infinite. There is no end to it. The only reason permitted to hold anything back is that the gift offered would destroy the one who receives it. The wealth is that inexhaustible. The generosity that limitless.
The Presence also establishes an astonishingly wide-ranging internal balance and equilibrium. An individual skilled and experienced in working with this inspiration can understand any desire and the best way in which it is satisfied. An analogy for this would be like a musician who can play any tune.
Imagine a Celtic bard, for example, who can play music in a tavern that makes sober those who are rowdy and drunk or changes the spirits of those who are depressed and overcome with sorrow. He can play in a way that makes men cry and in the next song cause them to laugh and shout with joy.
He can play a tune that makes men ready to lay down their lives as they enter a fight or then again a song so dynamic and overpowering it causes men to lay down their weapons amid a battle to hear how his cords resolve. He can play so sweetly you fall asleep as if in the arms of love or upon awakening you are stirred to dream a new dream, to pursue an unknown quest.
With the Presence in Chesed you learn to grasp each individual’s situation. You know how to ask the penetrating question, to reveal the inner stream of dreams that surface in the unique choices and the transitions of another’s life. You know how to bring things into perspective--to define the bottom line, who someone is and where he or she is in the present moment.
To offer wealth is also to understand the wealth that each individual already possesses --where they have come from and where they are going. Wisdom such as this is able to explain how an individual’s weakness and faults are also wealth in their own way. If you overcome and master your weakness, then you become a teacher who can solve problems for others as well. What you have been denied and what has been forbidden to you from life becomes a seed. In due time it will blossom and make you into a person you can not now imagine.
There is a process to growth and transformation. There is an optimum level at which we can absorb and integrate new experience into our personalities. And there is a place of mystery where the divine builds a gate within us that opens to the infinite. To enter the Presence is to strive to comprehend in every detail the limitations that bind and restrict our freedom of action. And it is simultaneously to dwell in a wonder that continuously reminds us that there are no limitations placed upon the spirit that is within us.
The Presence creates a balance between all of life’s activities. You could call this “right living.” You are inspired to have the right relationship to your job, to your home, to your children, to your spouse, to your friends, to your associates, to your community, to your body, to your feelings, to your mind, and to your spirit.
In other words, the Presence enhances every connection you have to others and to life so that you bring out the best in whatever you are doing. You could also call this “divine luck.” It is not that everything goes right and that you avoid mistakes and difficulties. It is rather that when you look at something it is in focus. Your mind operates with great clarity and your judgment is accurate. The consequence is that you can appreciate everything in life for the value within it and the purpose it furthers.
Within the Presence, it is natural to ask yourself as you enter any situation or interact with any person, “What can I do, be, become, call forth, accomplish, or create that will enhance and enrich the situation I am in or the person I am with? Like God, you feel inherently generous. You touch the world not only with tenderness because it is fragile and precious. You are a benefactor who offers new life.
Let me give this example. At this moment in time, Bill Gates, the wealthiest man on earth, is not a very generous man. He may have the largest endowment for charities of anyone on earth. But he himself is selfish, possessive, competitive, and ever ready to destroy his competition.
I am sure Bill Gates would point out that you do not succeed in this world by being kind and considerate to those who oppose you and who constantly seek to destroy you. And this is probably true. But Bill Gates is only operating at about one tenth of his potential. This is because he does not see what people really need. Instead, he measures himself against his competition. He overcomes his competition because he understands what they are planning. He moves quicker and is more successful in adapting.
Bill Gates has no doubt accelerated the development of internet and business applications of the computer so that we are perhaps five to seven years further ahead than what we would have been without his leadership. But he has also taken the human race backwards in other areas.
He has generated immense wealth for many individuals and corporations within the wealthiest nation on earth. But he has avoided two areas where computer applications can change life on earth for everyone and not just those with programming background and those who adapt businesses to computer technologies. He has avoided software development in the areas of education and medical applications. Education software is not captivating and engaging in a way that transforms the user. At present, it is at best merely reflecting methods used in classroom teaching.
You will know when the development of educational software is done right. There will be teenagers in the rural areas of Brazil, Africa, and India who will get accepted at Harvard and Stanford because they have perfect scores on their SATs and their essays show a remarkable understanding of life. And large numbers of intermediate and high school students around the world will understand the physical and mental diseases that affect their populations and how to prevent them. You just do not give a billion dollars to prevent AIDS or dysentery in Africa. You also give knowledge so that people can take charge of their own lives. This is not yet happening.
Bill Gates is not magnanimous. He does not ask, “In what ways can I enhance life here on earth?” This spirit of generosity and this spirit that envisions how to transform the world--these are not in his heart. If Bill Gates were generous he would be chairman not just of Microsoft but of a think tank that is dedicated to solving the world’s problems. And the former presidents of all the major world nations would be among its members. The Presence in Chesed takes command of the best resources and insures their successful application. And, when necessary, it creates new resources and new wealth so that life is fulfilled.
The Presence of God in Binah creates justice, order, balance, and responsibility--that is, responsibility for everything that exists.
The following few paragraphs are from my essays, Finding Saturn in Yourself and A Saturn Evocation.
“Binah/Saturn is sometimes conceived as being a nightmarish landscape that visits us with its touch of sorrow, loss, sadness, grief, disgrace, shame, failure, and pain. Its inspiration takes away the gifts we have been given. Its voice speaks not of opportunities, adventures, and new horizons. Its path is an inward journey through an unknown wilderness where our spirits finally attain absolute freedom. No other attainment
will quench its thirst for transcendence and illumination.”
“But Saturn's inner source of inspiration is a tranquility that is peaceful and nurturing. It is a knowledge of equilibrium and inner harmony so the universe can be reflected in yourself without distortion or impurity. It is the serenity so refined it can restore to harmony and beauty anyone who has lost their path or any soul which has fallen into darkness. You will know when you have made a good start on this path. You will
find in your heart inner strength, inner peace, and complete freedom.”
For Saturn, every ending, separation, farewell, and goodbye is a sacred rite. They are a gift reminding you of who you are--that one day you will be without form or limitation. The beauty of the universe will shine in your hearts and omnipresence will be part of
The Presence in Binah
This Presence for me is like an infinite and continuously new creation of justice, order, balance, and responsibility. It is not only conscience. It is the creation of conscience where none exists. It is not only responsibility. It is the creative will that inspires beings to be responsible for every aspect of their lives and the functioning of every aspect of creation as well.
The way in which this Presence operates in the Bible when it is present and active and unhappy with someone’s abuse of Binah awareness is this: it makes everything a person or nation does come to naught. All actions lead to destructive results. No work, purpose, or intention creates anything of value. Time turns against the person and the nation so that they stand on the edge of an abyss.
Like Balaam, the man who could enter God’s presence at will--an archangel had been ordered to strike him down and only the most lowly of creatures--the donkey--is there to warm him of the danger he faces: your car breaks down; your bank account is overdrawn; a nation’s economy goes into recession when it tries to fight a war and fund great new social programs at the same time; the banks begin to fail because no one is there to regulate them; industries are run by Mafia dons who don’t pay taxes or, the same thing, entrepreneurs who embody monopolistic interests and the country is on the edge of civil disorder or an industry fails to fulfill it appointed function.
The abyss may be big or small. It may be an archangel who has been ordered to bring you down or it could just be you need to downsize your lifestyle by cutting back on unnecessary luxuries. The effect may be controlled by natural or spiritual causes. But it is the same universe--physical or spiritual--that is sustained and watched over by God.
The Presence in Binah seems very familiar to me. It has pursued me my whole life. I am more acquainted with the Presence here than in any other sephiroth.
There is present what I would call the wrath of God. This feeling of being continuously weighed and judged has haunted my life. But as I stay with this aspect of the Presence, I see it now as a divine accountant. You are just responsible for everything in your life. It is Judgment Day and also the archetypal Judge who is within you at the core of your being. He insists that you learn to be free which, again, is to be totally responsible for yourself.
On the other hand, the Wrath of God relates not only to taking total and absolute responsibility for all of your own actions through the entire course of time. You are also to take total and absolute responsibility for everyone else as well. How can you love others unless like Christ you take responsibility for their sins as well? With Binah, you embody not only the awareness of a divine judge. You are others’ probation officer, counselor, guardian, conscience, cop, business and spiritual accountant--all of these rolled into one.
Had this Divine Presence been active on earth through the instrumentation of human will and wisdom, Rome would not have fallen. The emperors would have maintained their economies and understood how to successfully defend their empire. And Greece would not have been conquered by Rome. It would still be flourishing in all of its glory and splendor. Israel would never have been divided or carried away into exile. Solomon’s temple would still be standing. Genuine priests and prophets would even now be ministering to the entire human race.
There is a great price to be paid for this kind of continuity and understanding of the laws of life. You have to step beyond the boundaries of time and space to enter God’s presence, turning away from the world as you know and understand it to seek a higher illumination. And then you have to return and use your divine insight and power to transform the world around you.
But the price is much much less than having to live in a world that over and over destroys itself. Bored, apathetic, cruel, impatient, greedy, and obsessed leaders and nations self-destruct as they pursue non-essential things which profit nothing and fulfill no sacred purposes. When you do not have your priorities straight and when goals fail to consider the plans of Divine Providence, you are not aware when you make serious mistakes.
The Archangel Tzaphkiel.
The archangel level of Binah is a little like working with the archangel Gabriel. I find the experience overwhelming and strangely soothing and tranquilizing and full of blessing. But I feel that it is easily deceptive. Without enough work on the lower Order of Angels that pertain to this level--the 49 Judges of Saturn--it is too easy to completely miss what is going on or misinterpret it.
Tzaphkiel seems to bring out all kinds of blessings that flow from acquiring experience and wisdom through the course of the years. Friendships, love, and wealth flourish for the simple reason that you have worked for them and are worthy of them. It is hard for me to sense the dark, severe side to Tzaphkiel in spite of the fact that he is the archangel of Binah or the aura of Saturn.
It is like he says, To each individual the joys and benefits that accrue to their rank and sphere of responsibility. If you are the president of the United States, your job position carries with it a fleet of jets, an entire police force, and a vast array of public officials whose job it is to put into effect your policies and executive orders.
If you are a world class magician aligned with the larger universe, of course, whatever you ask for shall be granted to you without exception because your will expresses and embodies the will of the greater universe. If you are a lousy president, then of course, your status will be downgraded in the course of time and the same applies to world class magicians. And you do not always have to carry so much responsibility if you need other kinds of life experience to fulfill your path in life.
The bricklayer and the woodcutter may think of themselves as being of lessor stature and dignity than the president or a universal prophet. But this is not so. Each human being is exactly equal in value. No one is greater than anyone else. The president and the mage/prophet can only do their jobs well if they have perfectly internalized the simplicity and the humility of a simple laborer.
For this reason, we all are required to master the lessons that every area of life offers us. And for this reason, to retain harmony and balance, the greatest Roman general will retire and tend to his garden and prune his fruit trees. And the greatest commander of the allied forces will retire and take up painting nature scenes because the simplicity and the appreciation of natural sensations is within his deepest dreams.
In effect, Tzaphkiel says, “Appreciate the life you have right now. The deepest wisdom and the greatest mysteries already surround you in this moment.”
Some ascribe to Saturn/Binah the vision of sorrow as its spiritual realization. It is just as to easy to say after you meet Tzaphkiel that the vision is a vision of joy. It is finding in each moment the satisfaction that comes from knowing that you are a spiritual being. Our dwelling place is the Presence of God and our home is God’s creation--the universe.
The limitations of time, space, and history do not define us. The vulnerabilities and weaknesses of our personalities do not bind us. They are a place where we train in order to perfect ourselves so that we may become creators we are meant to be.
I am going to depart from my avoidance of referring to lower orders of angels in this essay by saying something about the Judges of Saturn. This level of angelic or spiritual awareness embraces the entire solar system and all paths of life. These spirits penetrate the entire solar system all at once and perceive how everything in each moment is derived from akasha. They do not embody personal enlightenment. They embody cosmic enlightenment.
For this reason, they are appointed as Judges and Executers of Fate because they can fairly and justly represent and protect all paths of life, all paths of spirit, and whatever any being requires in order to fulfill its life and spiritual journey. They hold no bias toward any race, any spiritual evolution, or any path of life. They do not accept the point of view of any age or eon of time. They are the guardians of time and space.
Therefore, if an individual or community seeks to interfere with their purposes or to contaminate what they seek to maintain as pure, they have the power to remove that individual or community from time and space. As I mention elsewhere, they can easily place an individual in a universe in which nothing negative can exist. They would say in effect, “You like causing problems for others. Here is an interesting problem. See if you can learn from this.”
This level of the spiritual sphere of Saturn does not actively seek to inspire others. If it is intervening, it most likely will do so first through an individual’s conscience. It takes what the individual already holds sacred and reminds that individual to act in a way consistent with that level of purpose. If you want inspiration to fulfill your path in life, to become transformed, to make a great transition, then other spheres and sephira such as Tipareth or the sphere of the Sun radiate this energy and light. Saturn/Binah, on the other hand, protects these other forms of inspiration from attack and assault by those who have risen to a level of spiritual malice.
On the other hand, for those who work with this level of consciousness, the freedom you acquire is cosmic in dimension. There is nothing you can not understand. There is no purpose unfolding in creation that you can not see its origin, path, and mode of fulfillment. You are open and receptive to everything.
These spirits seem to ask, “Is an individual, nation, religion, culture, or community acting responsibly in regard to its sphere of actions?” If it is, then they step back and play no part at all. There is present the foresight and wisdom to see in advance what consequences are occurring and what needs to be done to remedy imbalances.
But if there is power present and it is being applied without wisdom, then in the course of time they will intervene. They will expand the consciousness of the individual or group to a cosmic level. What this does is give the individual or group a vastly expanded sense of what it is capable of accomplishing. But since the individual, nation, religion, or group suffers from an absence of wisdom, this expansion of awareness increases a tendency toward self-destruction. The group or individual imagine falsely that the greatest possibilities are easily within its grasp. There is an expansion of the ego and self-image at the cost of failing to see what is about to cause their destruction.
In other words, do not ever lose your humility. Humility allows you to see that the minor problems in life are also important and require your full attention. This situation is common enough in life so that many have seen it first hand. We meet individuals with great potential. But they may have this character flaw--they reach out for some great accomplishment. In so doing, they fail to attend to minor details and they ignore small problems. These little problems then accumulate and these small details create an increasing amount of confusion until the situation becomes impossible.
They repeat the same mistake over and over. They fail to see that it is the flaw within themselves that generates their failure. They think they have been unlucky or a victim of an ill fate. Binah/Saturn does not speed things up to get a lot done quickly but without enduring results. Saturn slows things down and gets you to appreciate the situation you are in--this is how Saturn gets a lot done which has value and endures.
To put it another way, those who hold the greatest power have renounced power--that is, they consider power to be of no value whatsoever other than something to pick up when you need it to fulfill a specific purpose. Otherwise, they do not cling to it, dream about it, seek to possess it, or imagine it somehow does something for them as individuals. On the other hand, this “renouncing power” does not mean they have not mastered power beyond all human understanding. It is just that power never causes them to lose their perspective.
And so you could ascribe to God or to Divine Providence these words which are the words also of Saturn: “I create both truth and illusion, wisdom and self-deception--the greatest ecstasy and the worst nightmare, both of these I have designed carefully and with great artistry. It is your outlook and your attitude that determines which path you take; it is you who choose your own fate.”
I sometimes get into trouble paraphrasing or translating an individual’s thoughts and feelings for someone else. I personally do not like arguments but I realize some people do. I personally do not like wars but I realize some people do. Having said this, in summary, my translation of God’s words regarding His Presence in Binah or the sphere of Saturn is:
“If you would be like unto Me, then do as I do: take responsibility for creation. Wherever life unfolds, create beauty, truth, and harmony. Hold in your consciousness the mind and spirit of every being. Inspire the perfection of their conscience so that they can reflect within themselves the wisdom and depths of the universe. And know this, peacemakers are my children because they embody who I Am--into their hands I place the powers of creation.”
When I meditate in the Presence of God within the Sephiroth of Binah, I am again seeking to follow through with the command, “Be still and know that I am God.” What I sense here is that I am surrounded by infinite power. There is no way to measure its depths, but to know it is to become one with it. It is the power of Justice that holds in its hands a great quest, a divine ideal, and an inexpressible bliss.
As I enter the Presence of God, I find myself at the edge of an abyss of enlightenment--I feel like I am on the verge of seeing, hearing, feeling, and experiencing all events of my life in one moment. It is all here. Nothing is forgotten or too insignificant to pass over. It is a clarity of perception, mind, and memory that is strong, solid, and enduring. There is no doubt that the inspiration of the Presence makes you thoughtful, sober, and it develops a judicial temperament--you consider and ponder all sides of an issue taking into account and weighing the facts against the law.
But the Presence does not just recall what has been in your life. It not only seeks to strengthen what is weak and make right what is wrong. This is the Presence of the Creator. It recalls everything that has happened on earth.
I sometimes make fun of the phrase, “akashic records.” The idea is that there is a recording device in the spiritual universe that accurately depicts every event to the extent that you can not only “read about it” but also you can relive it as if you are there and within it. It is a great idea.
The problem is that I notice that individuals and groups who say, “I received this from the akashic records” are sometimes using imagination and desire to manufacture their perceptions. They make things up to the extent that they con themselves like a con man who fools himself into believing he is who he says he is. He can even pass a lie detector test because in his own mind he is telling the truth.
It is helpful, therefore, to be at least conscious that every perception and description involves interpretation and every translation contains a factor of difficulty. Discovering truth, as I pointed out in Hod, requires communication between different perspectives. Having offered this disclaimer, I would again say that the Presence is very peaceful and reassuring. It makes me feel very solid.
The universe may look very chaotic and destructive at times. It sometimes appears horrifying and dark beyond imagination. But it is not. In the Presence you can account for every event.
From my perspective, a young and immature prophet might be tempted to say, “There will come a Judgment Day. One moment in time and history shall be brought to an end.” Be that as it may, I see it otherwise. Judgement Day is right here now in this moment. The Presence is aware of everything all at once in every moment. It weights, evaluates, correlates, interrelates, and sets right the unfolding of the universe without ceasing. There is no mistake being made.
Some may turn away from this and say, “Fate is not in my hands.” But the Presence is within every heart. We all have a part to play when it comes to manifesting conscience and divine justice here on earth. We are all public advocates for fairness and equality of opportunity.
In a democracy you can not legitimately complain about anything the government does and then say it is not also your responsibility to do something about it. In a democracy, everyone is responsible by definition. In a similar way, in the Presence, we are all responsible for each other.
In the Presence, you can reflect upon what has gone before within a state of peace and clarity. Personal history and human history are not just a book you read like an autobiography or a text on world history. The past is a magical book. Its themes are still unfolding and its purposes are still seeking completion. You study the past in order to better write the next chapter of life. You are an artist seeking to express beauty, love, and justice through the situations and limitations of each individual’s life. This perspective is immense, wonderful, awesome, wise, and incredibly responsible.
With Binah, the objective is not to judge and then punish. Justice is not about revenge and retribution. The goal is enlightenment. It is about education. The question is, how do you get someone to take total responsibility when he or she has no conscience, is in denial, and engages in self-deception on an advanced level?
And so the wrath of God steps in. Jonah gets swallowed by a whale. Zacherias loses his voice. Paul loses his sight. Balaam runs into an archangel with a sword in his hand. And Israel gets carried away into captivity again and again. Events such as these get you to ask yourself about the choices you have made. When all else fails, you can always ask yourself, “What part have I played in getting where I am now and/or what do I have to do to get out of this situation?” For some, asking this question comes sooner and for others it just takes longer.
The Wrath of God aspect of the Presence takes you into a place outside of space and time. The universe is gone. The light of all the stars has gone out. And here you can not bullshit the Creator. There is nothing you can hide. The pain you have caused becomes your own because you are one with every other. Denial, self-deception, and malice are annihilated. This is a rather intense experience. I recommend you avoid it unless you are ready to seek total enlightenment.
Again, I notice that the effect on me of being within this Presence is that I feel incredibly calm, solid, stable, and enduring. The Presence contains a complete acceptance of the situation you are now in. You work with God in understanding all that is involved in being where you are. You seek to learn all that you can as if there are all sorts of secret treasures that are on the edge of being revealed.
Above all else you gain an appreciation of time and history. You sense the weight of the past. The present moment is the result of choices many individuals have made throughout the courses of their lives. Their choices and your own have brought you to where you are now. The choices you make now and in the future will be as intimately involved in influencing your own future and the future of others as well.
As I have mentioned, Binah relates to conscience. Conscience is an awareness of action and consequences. But some individuals have little or no awareness in this area. And some individuals, no matter how mature or seemingly responsible, remain unaware of that some of their actions have enormous consequences.
The Presence in Binah is not just reactive. You do not just learn by living through and witnesses the results of your actions. The Presence is proactive. It is like a guardian angel who intervenes to inspire you and also warn you of impending danger.
Although it is a rare occurrence, on certain planets in our galaxy the Presence awakens prophets and inspires them to prophecy. It inspires individuals to seek visions and also grants them visions of possibilities they would never otherwise see.
We dwell on such a planet. The Presence is active in the history of the human race. It incites and enflames human beings to seek enlightenment, wisdom, and divine visions. As a consequence, the human race has an astonishing destiny if we have the carefulness and responsibility to lay hold of it.
When I read through the Old Testament back in high school and again in college, I notice that for me the primary thing that God wanted from the human race was to have friends. As I often quote from the 90th Psalm, the psalmist says, “Oh Lord, thou has been our dwelling place through all generations. Before the mountains were brought forth or ever thou did form the earth and the sky, even from everlasting to everlasting, thou are God.”
The implication for me was not that a tabernacle, temple, church, or cathedral was the place to seek God. God instead is our dwelling place. It is in His Presence that we come home and find a home.
The Christian church will not tell you about this. They neither like to talk about it nor recall it, but Enoch in the Old Testament walked with God and, without dying, left the earth. It is built into our nature and an aspect of our consciousness--
You take away the earth, the mountains, the seas, and the sky. They are gone. You take away space, time, and 200 hundred billion galaxies. They are gone. And here, now, you enter the Presence of God, the Creator.
There are some interesting questions that can be asked at this point: What is the meaning of my life? What are the deeper purposes that are expressed and that manifest through the choices that I make? In what way are You (the Creator) and I different and in what way are we forever joined? What am I not seeing? And what are You willing to grant me if I argue on behalf of my needs and You present me with the purposes You desire fulfilled and the work You wish to be accomplished?
Some of these questions are quite ordinary and some may seem presumptive. But with the Presence in Binah, you have to take an account of who you are and make sense out of what you have learned from life. You have to be willing to identify your strengths and your weaknesses, your assets and your liabilities. The same man who said, “You must be as little children to enter the Kingdom of God” also commanded, “Be as wise as serpents.”
You have to be willing to probe the depths of your soul and provide order and clarity. You have to be fair to yourself as well as being fair to others. You have to be willing to balance the short term against the long term and need against desire. Ultimately, you have to be willing to say, “This is my choice regarding the major decisions of my life. I make them in the Presence of God. He is my judge and no other.”
With the Presence, the concern is whether you are moving toward full awareness and responsibility for yourself and for others. Are you unaware of the critical aspects that your body, soul, mind, and spirit bring to bear in determining the results of your actions? The Presence watches over everything. When you enter the Presence, you are drawn toward this orientation. If the Presence embodies the foundation of all conscience, then in a sense it is like a judge. Inspired by the Presence, we develop a judicial temperament--we take into account all factors bearing on a situation. We consider the past. We consider personal responsibility. We consider options and remedies. And then we make decisions that balance and that find a fair and impartial way through all the conflicts purposes and needs.
It is in your hands to determine when to affirm and abide by a tradition and when to overthrow a tradition by creating a new and unknown option. It is in your hands as to when to offer continuity and stability and when to offer new gifts to the world. It is in your hands to determine when a purpose has been completed and has been brought to an end.
And it is in your hands to decide that it is time to make a new start--to work with God in presenting a new order of creation. The Presence is responsible to and for all that has gone before. And the Presence is also a Creator ever on the verge of presenting infinite and unknown possibilities.
Let me discuss again the Wrath of God. This aspect of the Presence can also be described in terms of cosmic consciousness. Jews and Christians apparently do not know anything about this except occasionally when a prophet applies the principle. The Presence is not just everywhere and within everything. It is not only everywhere in the universe. Its very nature shapes and defines space and time.
An advanced Buddhist or Hindu practitioner when meditating can feel at one with the universe. Consciousness has no definition. It is open, receptive, clear, luminous, and completely free. It can be anywhere and within anything. It is not attached. It is not subject to illusion. It is enlightened.
Within the Presence, the universe has been created in part as a training ground, as a place to awaken consciousness. Our actions and our interactions with others teach us about ourselves. And so in the Old Testament the Prophet Nathan confronted King David and presented him with a case of injustice--A wealthy man had stolen the yew lamb of a poor man.
King David was outraged at the injustice. As king, he was his job to make right what was wrong. And so King David declared judgment: “As the Lord liveth, the man who has done this thing shall surely die. And he shall restore the lamb fourfold, because he did this thing, and because he had no pity.”
And Nathan said to King David, “You are the man.”
The Presence uses the situations of space and time as a divine mirror to show us who we are. It says, “This is what you have done. Take responsibility for it. And through your choices, build a world of wonder and beauty that endures.”
In a nutshell, the purpose of judgment and conscience is to educate. The goal of education is complete, total, and cosmic enlightenment. Enlightenment is absolute freedom. This absolute freedom is necessary in order to learn to create as the Creator creates. The Presence offers us this, reminds us of this, and inspires us to attain to it.
In Chockmah: It creates new destinies, new paths of life. It lays the foundations for new civilizations. It makes all things new by the power of its voice.
In Kether: It is within everything, a part of everything, and it is the source from which all things arise. It creates visions, dreams, intimations, and prophecies of what can be that reveal the depths of life and of the mysteries of the heart. All of the sephiroth are contained and interwoven as one here just as all of the sephiroth are manifested in some concrete, physical, and distinct manner in Malkuth.