Monday, January 2, 2012

Lekaven Tiferet: Acknowledging Beauty

("Moonflower Magic" in the garden of Gloria and Jacobus Swart)
On the occasion of my first post of the year 2012, I thought I would share details on a very unique practice which I have addressed fairly extensively in "The Book of Self Creation." Pertaining to the deliberate attempt of finding beauty in ones world, it is probably one of the simplest amongst the many ways which have been suggested to bring one closer to “divine realisation.”
To successfully work the technique addressed in this post, it is important to get out of the “mental mode,” e.g. constantly analyzing, or querying whether a technique is working, or why it is not working, etc. One has to develop a “feeling appreciation” rather than a “thinking” one. Furthermore, one has to adopt a kind of non-caring stance regarding any desired effects or expectations. One simply has to work spiritual exercises and ritual activities for the sake of doing them, expecting absolutely nothing in return.
Now, a way of radiating Ruchaniyut (Spiritual Force), and a sure way to find the true meaning of Being, is to contemplate and acknowledge beauty in everything. This is an attempt to achieve a full realisation of the “Eternal Root of Splendour” beyond all being. For example, when you observe a beautiful or well adorned person, you should consider that person to be the impression of the Divine, recognising that you are looking at the grace, radiance and resplendence of God. By so doing, you are observing the Ruchaniyut of the person. The physical comeliness of anything is a Tziyun (a sign), a reflected ray of the Supernal Splendour of Tiferet (Beauty). Yet this beauty is only temporal, and ultimately it is necessary to understand the Battel (obliteration) of this beauty in the light of the “Supernal Splendour” of the Eternal Living Spirit.
The practice of Lekaven Tiferet should be done with everything, not only people. You should attempt to find the beauty in whatever you observe, and then to consciously acknowledge this beauty in your mind by mentally expressing your appreciation of this factor to the object you have surveyed in this manner. After the beauty is acknowledged, you should bring yourself in contact with the Divine, your Eternal Source of Radiance and Well-being, sensing yourself linked to It via the top of your head. Then you complete the procedure by uniting the beauty, which you have observed and acknowledged, with your Source by mentally saying Baruch ha-Shem, meaning “Blessed be your Name,” or giving a broader thanksgiving blessing, saying mentally, or aloud if you can:
Baruch Atah Adonai Eloheinu Melech ha-Olam, Shekachah Lo ba-Olamo
"Blessed are You Adonai, our God, King of the Universe, Who has created such as These in His world."
By means of this exercise we deliberately turn our focus away from all ugliness, disorder and rage, so as not to unite ourselves with these “negativities,” but instead to align ourselves with and focus on that which brings stability into our world. It is through the act of finding beauty in anything that we are able to identify with that thing. Above all, it is said that the act of finding beauty in everything leads us to attain “Seven Aspects of Bliss” from which will result “Four Fulfilments of Joy.” The “Seven Aspects of Bliss” are equated with the lower seven Sefirot on the Tree of Life as follows:
Chesed (Mercy, Loving-kindness) — Chedva (Delight)
Gevurah (Severity, Strength) — Ditza (Pleasure)
Tiferet (Beauty) — Rina (Glad song)
Netzach (Victory, Endurance) — Gila (Mirth)
Hod (Glory) — Simcha (Happiness)
Yesod (Foundation) — Sasson (Joy)
Malchut (Kingdom) — Tzalah (Jubilation)
It is said that Tzalah (Jubilation), the final aspect of joy, results from the first six aspects, and all in turn culminate in “Four Fulfilments of Joy,” these being:
Ahava (Love)
Achva (Brotherhood)
Shalom (Peace)
Rei’ut (Companionship)
The successful application of techniques like these are dependent on constant practice. They certainly break the barriers between oneself and the Eternal Living Spirit, but they have to be worked constantly in order to achieve this aim.

No comments: