A Renaissance of Mystical Judaism: The Living Wisdom of Body, Mind, and Spirit
Rabbi Marc Gafni and Ken Wilber
Imagine an unlikely scenario…. Two men, one, an internationally acclaimed Kabbalist scholar-practitioner, the other, an Integralist Extraordinaire, aka “The Einstein of Consciousness.” Next, imagine them in rapturous dialogue, sitting side by side before an inquisitive, utterly innocent audience at the Brown Palace in Denver, Colorado. Yes, it did happen, and yes, we all had a great time…. Which means we’re certain you’ll also enjoy the playful, dynamic duo of Rabbi Marc Gafni and Ken Wilber, as they offer a refreshing analysis of how a post-Holocaust Renaissance of Mystical Judaism amply provides a living wisdom of body, mind and spirit, in self, culture and nature. Not to be missed!
Of the 6 million lives—all Jewish, all infinitely precious—lost to the Holocaust, a certain few were contemplatives, Masters of Jewish Mysticism, whose practices and traditions died with them. In this touching dialogue, Marc and Ken discuss the consequences of such a tragedy, and why uncovering a lost Jewish Mysticism is more like re-inventing the wheel.
Spirituality is more than just meditation, yes? What if we could find God in the gym? By blessing the body? Using the toilet? With greeting & eating, through song, dance & sex? Fear not, ye everyday heart, herein lies the Art of Everyday Tantra.
Ever considered writing your sacred text, your Torah? In the Hebrew tradition, writing a spiritual book is tikkun, a way of healing the worldor, as Rabbi Gafni would say, “Writing is a soup-kitchen.” Surely, thereby hangs a tale….
Developmental studies show that every time we take the perspective of another, we grow a little more. Enter Kabbalistic Psychodrama, where the student reads a text (usually the Bible) from multiple perspectives, including 1st person! The spiritual practice: “Imagine you’re Abraham about to slay Isaac, your son—”
Whether it’s the wearing of ritual fringes, or of the leather teffilin, every spiritual practice has at least 4 levels: body, mind, soul and spirit. And it is the pioneers, “the Moses’ of every generation,” who show how these practices can take us to the next Promised Land.
The word kabbalah means, “to receive.” To receive a person’s soul-print, we must open ourselves in sweet surrender, without any notion of taking. Holding eye contact, hands on the face, asking for a name, reciting Psalms to one another….
By inducing mystical states, meditative singing can redeem us, “sparks trapped in a dark vessel.” Shifting the boundaries of the soul, expanding its identity until the singer becomes the song, meditative singing—the Hebrew niggun—can take us straight to God.
“Greater is the receiving of God in the face of other, then the receiving of God in mere meditation.” Which means, for God to love God, the best of Ethics (treating others as God) and the best of Eros (realizing oneself as God) must merge, which means levels of development for us, which means….
Does God laugh on the inside and cry on the outside? Or does God cry on the inside and laugh on the outside? The answer might depend on whether you’re in a Nazi concentration camp or not.