A Link in the Chain of Tradition
By now, many of you have reviewed the practice discussed in last week’s post or possibly have undertaken it for the first time. For many, it is an eye-opening experience, one that lets them see just how dependent they are on others for what is often billed as a ‘solitary journey’. It is true that the Work is done in, through and for ourselves. That is, we are the primary beneficiary of these practices because their purpose is self-realization, or realization of our self. Yet, on that journey we recognize that we are never completely alone – even when it feels that way, or when we are forced to act as if all depends on our actions.
For this reason prayers, thoughts, and actions of appreciation for those who have gone before us, those who help us now, and a plan to leave something for those who come after us are so important. This is how traditions are born, sustained, and flourish. Tradition is after all, in its most important form, the collective wisdom that is passed on from generation to generation. If done well, each individual in each generation adds a part of their wisdom to the tradition.
While it is true that each contribution is not equal, that is interchangeable like a mathematical equation, each is equal in the sense that it represents the highest value and understanding each individual and each generation is capable of. When each person lives to their highest ideal, or as close to it as they can, then they along with the traditions of which they are a part progress. This is why some level of sacrifice on a regular basis is suggested and often required. It is also why pride is considered the worst of sins. When we are humble or knowing the proper time and place to discuss ourselves and our accomplishments, we make room for others to express themselves, and for ourselves to learn. Learning is growing, and spirituality is about expansion or growth. When we place ourselves above others, and do not give them the room, tools, or opportunity they need, we call that pride. Pride in the form of self-confidence and self-awareness of one’s abilities is essential on the Path, but pride that stands in the way of others is counter-initiatic. This is the lesson of Biblical lore. We are told that the War in the Heavens was a result of Lucifer, the highest of created beings, refusing to serve God by accepting humanity and helping it on its journey. Instead, Lucifer, the “Light Bearer” did all it could to lead humanity into error and astray. Or so the story goes. As we also see, in turn, even that became a tool for unfoldment. Everything, even error, mistakes, and the suffering they bring can be a stepping stone for us on the Path. In this way, our journey moves from being a series of experiences we either seek to avoid (Negation) or seek out (Affirmation), but one in which we learn to create new conditions and situations for our betterment and that of others – it becomes truly transformational, and that is what alchemy and kabbalah are all about.
For this week, consider how you have treated your teachers in the past and how you are treating them now. Are you doing all within your power to advance yourself and your tradition- even if it means helping just one additional person? Next week we will begin examining several practices of transformation that are found in Kabbalah for Health and Wellness.
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