Sunday, October 6, 2013
The Messianic Consciousness in Jewish Prophecy (XXV) Isaiah
One of the most important lessons we learn from the mystic Chassidic tradition is the inner meanings of characters, places, objects and situations narrated in the Torah. One of these is Egypt's Pharaoh, which represents the egocentric approach to life, hence we all have a Pharaoh inside of us. It's interesting his relationship with Joseph, his interaction with Moses, and particularly with God. We want to bring up ego's role in human consciousness. The Creator wants us to have ego as well as intellect, mind, emotions, feelings and instincts in order to be subservient to His will. Ego seems to be the one that rebels against this Divine decree, and persuades its peers in consciousness to also separate from what God commands in His Torah.
Ego emerges as a little god to challenge God's control over all His Creation. This challenge comes from ego's "mind" or domain known as imagination. This is the field where ego believes that indeed he is a god. Whatever ego desires, it does it imagining what it wants and how is going to get it. The moment we step into imagination, we enter in a realm where we feel as gods. This doesn't meant we shouldn't imagine, but to pay attention to what and why we imagine. This is the realm of ego's fantasies and illusions. What we envy or covet, and what makes us greedy to get it regardless the circumstances, come up from what we imagine about it.
We really feel gods in the realm of imagination. There we can be, have and do anything want or desire. We even become aware that we establish the limits of our imagination. Imagination is directly proportional to ego's fantasies and illusions. The Torah tells us that all we discern, think, feel, do or imagine must be submitted to God's ways and attributes, which we call here also Love's ways and attributes.
In sum, we know that ego's fantasies and illusions are the antagonists of both, the Torah and Love. The latter are the foundation of the Final Redemption and the Messianic Era. This is the reason for the Torah and our Prophets to denounce repeatedly the cause and effect of idolatry. We separate from Love's ways and attributes the moment we allow the negative trends in consciousness take over our life. These negative traits are denounced time and again as the stumbling blocks for our individual and collective Redemption.
"The lofty looks of man shall be brought low, and the haughtiness of men shall be bowed down, and the Lord alone shall be exalted in that day. For the Lord of hosts has a day upon all that is proud and lofty, and upon all that is lifted up, and it shall be brought low." (Isaiah 2:11-12)
Our Sages say in the Talmud that the worst kind of idolatry is pride, followed by wrath. It becomes evident that pride is self-idolatry. They also remark that the haughty is so full of himself that doesn't leave room for anything but him, keeping God away from him. We adore ourselves. In Greek mythology self-infatuation leads to premature death, the case of Narcissus contemplating his reflection on the waters where he drowned. In this case the waters represent ego's fantasies and illusions.
Haughtiness is the assumption that we are gods. Hence its opposite and antidote is humbleness. Once we recognize that all we are and have belong to the Creator, we enter the day -- the permanent awareness -- in which we follow His Plan, not ours. As we have said here many times, the purpose of God's Plan is the Messianic Era. In this context we Jews understand the primordial meaning of Shabbat, "First in [God's] thought, last in Creation". The Shabbat is the culmination of God's Plan. The moment we begin to embrace God's ways as attributes of humbleness in our consciousness, Love's ways as the material manifestation of God's Love will remove pride and haughtiness from us. This is the starting point to continue removing the remaining negative aspects and trends in our consciousness.
"And upon all the cedars of Lebanon that are high and lifted up, and upon all the oaks of Bashan. And upon all the high mountains, and upon all the hills that are lifted up. And upon every lofty tower, and upon every fortified wall. And upon all the ships of Tarshish, and upon all delightful imagery. And the loftiness of man shall be bowed down, and the haughtiness of men shall be brought low; and the Lord alone shall be exalted in that day." (2:13-17)
The remaining negative traits and trends in consciousness are allegorically referred here as the "high" and "lifted" trees, as well as the mountains, hills and towers, and the fortified walls. The higher and loftier these are, the more difficult to be cut off or turn down. Interestingly, the cedars of Lebanon are mentioned along with the oaks of Bashan. Both are actually opposite to each other. The cedars grow in the courtyards of the Temple of Jerusalem, also metaphorically known as the Lebanon (the white one in terms of purity), and the oaks as trees planted for idolatrous purposes.
The Prophet abruptly puts them both in the same level, to point out that haughtiness also corrupts even those who are called to serve in the Temple. Our sublime feelings that bring us closer to the Creator can also get corrupted by believing that they are far better than the rest of our consciousness. Their job is to keep all aspects and dimensions of life together and united by, through, for and towards Love as our common bond with God's Love. The Prophet is calling the Priests and Levites as corrupt as the priests and priestesses of Bashan, by the same token: haughtiness.
Tarshish represents stubbornness to remain in a negative state, such as obsessions, addictions, habits and behavioral patterns that keep us away from Love's ways and attributes. Here we see this city-port -- from where ships navigate to invade the Promise Land and fight Israel -- associated to "all delightful imagery", what we have called ego's fantasies and illusions. We really are obsessed in an ego trip of fake delight in our imagination from which we have to wake up. We come down when we renounce the idolatry of loftiness and haughtiness, and embrace the humbleness of being and doing Love's ways and attributes. God's Love waits for our Love to receive His Redemption, and begin to live the real delights of the Messianic Era, the eternal Shabbat we pray for every week.
From the Book's Foreword
Let's reexamine our ancestral memory, intellect, feelings, emotions and passions. Let's wake them up to our true Essence. Let us engage in the delightful awareness of Love as the Essence of G-d. The way this book is written is to reaffirm and reiterate its purpose, so it presents its message and content in a recurrent way. This is exactly its purpose, to restate the same Truth originally proclaimed by our Holy Scriptures, Prophets and Sages. Our purpose is to firmly enthrone G-d's Love in all dimensions of our consciousness, and by doing it we will fulfill His Promise that He may dwell with us on Earth forever. Let's discover together the hidden message of our ancient Scriptures and Sages. In that journey, let's realize Love as our Divine Essence, what we call in this book the revealed Light of Redemption in the Messianic era.