Time Never Stops: Except on Shabbat

Time never stops. It is inexorable. In moments of joy and tragedy, the earth continues to rotate and the seasons continue to alternate. Shabbat and meditation offer a glimpse of existence outside of time. There we reside in the presence of the Source: no limits, no boundaries, only the vibrations of no/thing.

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Idolatry

Anything can be idolatrous. Therefore, question everything.

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Is Belief a Jewish Notion?

A good discussion: Howard Wettstein argues that the question of belief is not important in Judaism. The question as to whether or not God exists is the wrong question. Rather the questions should be:  What is your experience of God? How do you relate to God? Judaism is experiential and practical, not theological: http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/2014/03/30/is-belief-a-jewish-notion/?

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Esau and Jacob

Who is Esau? He whom Jacob makes whole. Who is Jacob? He whom Esau makes whole. Separately they are fragments, shards. Together they comprise a complete vessel holding the light of the Source in one integrated consciousness.

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Gateway to the Source

For at least one other person, each of us is a gateway to the Source (God).

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Gateways

Every atom and quark inside you contains a gateway to the Source.

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What is the Light of Day 1

Since the Source created the sun, the moon, the planets, and the stars on Day Four, what is the light of Day 1? It is the hidden light, the light seen not by our our outer eyes, but by our inner eyes (Gen 1).

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Experiencing the Source

The Source (God) is not something you believe in.  The Source is something you experience,   People who believe in God attach themselves to an abstraction, a disembodied thought.  People who experience God have nothing to explain or justify.  The Source simply is.  It is not separate from life and creation, but integrated with life and creation.

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Torah Was First

The Source created Torah before creating the world. Learning preceded producing.

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Dreams Are Raw Acts of Creation

Dreams are raw acts of creation, just as when the Source created the universe in the first six days of Genesis. Dreams show we are made in God’s image.

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Ultimate Questions

What is death? A transitional period of life.

What is life? Becoming.

Where are heaven and hell? Right next to each other, like the back and front of a door.

What is hell? A place in which we decide to reside until we decide to live elsewhere.

What is heaven? Home.

Who are we? No/thing, energy, crossing time and space, but not confined by them.

Who is the Source? Pure no/thing, raw energy out of which form emerges.

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Time Never Stops

Time never stops. It is inexorable. In moments of joy and tragedy, the earth continues to rotate and the seasons continue to alternate. Shabbat and meditation offer a glimpse of existence outside of time. There we reside in the presence of the Source: no limits, no boundaries, only the vibrations of no/thing.

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What is the Source like?

What is the Source like?  Like the wind.  You cannot hold or see it, but it’s there just the same.

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How Large is God?

We should think of the Source (God) not as an enormous entity, but as the tiniest particle in existence–that from which everything originates.  That’s why we need to let go of our I, our ego.  It’s just too big.

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“God”

Instead of using a word for “God,” perhaps we should simply form an out breath–a glottal stop, like the Hebrew letter, “alef.”  When you want to say “God,” just speak with an exhalation.

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“God”

The word, “God,” is a label that often cuts us off from “God,” our Source.

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A Name

Naming the Source is impossible.  Once you name “God,” you are no longer describing the Source.

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No Image

God has no image, and neither ultimately do we.

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Finding the Source

We feel our way to the Source

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The Fundamentalism of Atheism

http://www.religiondispatches.org/archive/atheologies/3820/way_beyond_atheism:_god_does_not_(not)_exist

This is excellent (from Nelson French).  Negative theology is where I would place myself, though I must admit that I am willing now to make some statements:  “God is not a thing, but energy in its purest, rawest, and ultimate form”; or “We should stop using the word ‘God’ and start saying ‘Source’ or “The All’ or ‘The All That Is'”; or “God is nothing (no/thing).”  Of course, my statements are inherently limited and limiting because of the nature of language, but I still believe that we can speak in proximate terms.  In any case, Wallace is correct:  atheism is generally an inversion of fundamentalism.  Very well said and apropos.

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Translating “God” and “Lord”

Because of the anthropomorphic connotations of the English words, “God” and “Lord,” because of the human tendency to use “God” as a thing or object (thereby objectifying “God”), and because of their inherently gendered meanings (”Lord” as opposed to “Lady” and “God” as opposed to “Goddess”), these words have too much baggage to use in current translations of the Hebrew Bible. Therefore, I often replace “God” with “THE ALL” and “LORD GOD” with “ALL THAT IS.” For “LORD,” I simply use “SOURCE.” This will no doubt prove strange for many readers, but de-familiarization is part of the process of reacquainting oneself with the deeper meanings of the biblical text.      These translations also have the advantage of preserving the actual significance of the Hebrew words which have become ossified in English (and other modern languages) translations and consequently lost their original meanings.

YHWH comes from the Hebrew word, “to be” (hayah), and is explicitly associated with being, becoming, existence, etc. By using a verb to describe the Divine, early Jewish writers imply that the Divine is fundamentally not an object or a thing, but rather that it is relational in nature. One might describe it as “energy,” because it is a force, not an object. The English word, “Lord,” reflects the Hebrew vowel pointing of YHWH as adonai (a – o – ai), used by Jews from antiquity to the present day to avoid saying the Divine name. There are other circumlocutions used by Jews to avoid saying the Divine name:   e.g. “the name” ( hashem) and “the place” (hamaqom). By using “SOURCE” or “ALL THAT IS,” I maintain the original meaning of the word without using the Divine name.

Elohim  is the word that normally translates “God” (from El, the chief deity of the Ugaritic pantheon), but it is a plural form that naturally implies a multiplicity of deities. In the Hebrew Bible, it normally indicates the deity of the Jewish people: the One God, the Eternal. Occasionally it directly indicates more than one god (such as in Genesis 1:26 and 3:22), but even there the notion of oneness persists. As a plural form, Elohim suggests that one cannot limit the Divine to a single thing (which a singular form would connote) and actually implies that the Divine is so all-encompassing that no thing falls outside of its compass. Elohim means unity. From a metaphorical perspective, one might see the Divine as a choir rather than a soloist; here the many become one. This is why the term, “monotheism” (which implies singularity rather than oneness or unity) is inadequate for describing the Jewish and Christian concepts of Divinity. “THE ALL” preserves the all-encompassing character, relationality, unity, and oneness of the Divine.

See how I do this in “translations of Genesis by larry” in “about mystic scholar”: http://mysticscholar.org/about-mystic-scholar/translations-of-genesis-by-larry/

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Idolatry

Idolatry is seductive because anything can be idolatrous, including worship of God.

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Lost in the Woods

When we’re lost in the woods, we can use a compass or follow a stream. When we’re lost in our lives, we can use the intuition of our gut and heart through which our true self and the Source speak.

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Pause Between Breaths

A pause between breaths: silence, the voice of God, the Source.

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The Source is No/Thing

The Source has no name, because the Source is No/Thing.

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Gateways

In every spot, there is a gateway to the source.

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Creation Never Ends

Gen 1.1: “The Source (God) began to create”: As long as the universe exists, creation is a process that rests periodically, but never ends.

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Rest from Creation on Shabbat

The Source rests from creation every shabbat. So should we. Then, on the next day, we join hands to continue creation (Gen 2.3).

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The Woman Was Not Expelled in Eden

Did you ever notice that the Source explicitly expelled Adam, not the woman, from the garden of Eden?

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Find Your Own Rhythm

To live in rhythm is to dance to the beat of the Source. Find your own rhythm; it’s like no one else’s.

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Breath, Words, Creation

Breath + words = creation (Gen 1)

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“God is in the Details”

Someone once said, “God is in the details.” That’s why observation, research and scholarship, and study are fundamental.

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The I and the Source

Meditation, study, dreaming, praying: moments when time and the I depart and the Source enters.

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Noah did not argue with the Source for the impending human genocide. Abraham argued with the Source for Sodom, but not for Isaac. Moses argued incessantly with the Source. So did the great Hasidic rebbe, Isaac of Berditchev. We are supposed to act like Moses and Isaac of Berditchev.

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Adam’s Breath

The Source breathed life into Adam (Gen 2.7). Every time we exhale, we also bring life into others.

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Body and Mitzvah

Jewish tradition says that every part of our body corresponds to a mitzvah (a commandment). So, when our body is in proper attunement, we will then feel the presence of the Source and act accordingly.

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The Present

Being open to the present means being open to the Source.

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Sinai and Human Authority

Jews believe that at Sinai the Source gave human beings the authority to make their own decisions and run their own affairs.

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Origins of Gnosticism

A friend of mine asked me about the origins of Gnosticism. Not everyone agrees on the origins of Gnosticism. The term itself is disputed, because many do not even believe that there is a coherent phenomenon called “Gnosticism.” Of those who do accept the idea of “Gnosticism,” there are some who see it as a second century C.E. Christian movement, but there are others who see it as first a Jewish movement (this is my view). And there are others who see Gnosticism as a kind of “pagan” (whatever that means) philosophical spirituality. Take your pick. It all depends on how one defines “Gnosticism,” I guess. My favorite sourcebook for Gnosticism is, Bentley Layton, Gnostic Scriptures (Anchor Bible Library).

For a comprehensive view of Gnosticism as a Christian movement, see Simone Petrement, A Separate God. For the Jewish origin view, see Guy Stroumsa, Another Seed; also Carl Smith, No Longer Jews. From my point of view, if you look at a text like the Apocryphon of John, for example, this essentially reads as a Jewish text. For Jews living in the Hasmonean and Roman periods, there was constant apocalyptic ferment and messianic crisis–even more so after the destruction of the Temple in 70. The Gnostic view makes sense in such a context. Elisha ben Abuya was not the only Jew to have speculated about a “second God” (hence his nickname, “Aher,” “other”); that kind of speculation can be found in one form or another in Jewish mystical texts in antiquity right through the Kabbalah and Lurianic mysticism. The Christian theory really only works if you define “Gnosticism” in certain terms, thereby making it Christian. I can define pretty much anything into existence by using that kind of logic. It’s like putting on blinders, and then saying that anything you could see without the blinders are really figments.

My own view is that Jews had more widespread influence on non-Jews during the Graeco-Roman period than is generally understood. “Pagans” may have picked up some of the ideas from Jews (as magical papyri seem to indicate). and that could have been one of the avenues that Jewish gnostic ideas traveled to Christianity. Also, as Jews,some early Christians would have received these ideas directly from Jewish tradition.

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Love

To feel true love for another is to feel the presence of the Source.

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