Saturday, September 28, 1996

Shins Of Messianic Consciousness

The Divine 4-headed shin of Hashem and of the matriarchs represents chochmah of binah of atzilut, with its base representing the malchut of echad. Concealed within the natural functions of the universe, it is imperceptible to the limited and unrectified human mind. This shin represents the changeless dark essence - the dark light corresponding to the love of the Land of Israel, and represents rectification of the sin of the spies. The 4 heads of the shin represent the future to come (lamed ayin tav yud dalet - lamed beit aleph) and the level of imma ila'ah (of atzilut) in unity with the malchut of echad (of Ein Sof). The lower partzuf of imma ila'ah is tevunah, the power to apprehend the future world. Comprehension of this apprehension is also called the coming world (olam haba). Thus, the 4-headed shin alludes to both the coming world (the lower brilliance) and to the future world (the higher brilliance).

Found on the original tablets from Sinai, the 4-headed shin is embossed on the left side of the tefillin worn on the head (the reish of raz, where raz symbolizes the mystery of Mashiach Ben David). This shin comes into existence by framing and penetrating the innards of the 3-headed shin of this world (olam hazeh). By penetrating the innards of the 3-headed shin, a fourth vav, representing the archetypal righteous convert (ger tzedek) or baal teshuvah transforms upon arising from the dark base point of the malchut of echad into a zayin (the zayin of raz, where the zayin represents revelation of a once-hidden holy spark through the ger tzedek and/or baal teshuvah). This zayin (true favor) unifies the Divine, the spiritual and the physical, and serves as a conduit for the provision of sustenance to Israel and to the whole world, atzilut to assiyah, flowing from the malchut of echad. The true favor found in zayin is the sum (58) of seven components hidden in the form of the 3-headed shin of this world (3 yuds above 3 vavs on the yud of the base). The 3-headed shin of Elokim and of the patriarchs, similar to the one used in the Torah scroll, represents binah of chochmah of the lower worlds of beriyah, yetzirah and assiyah, with its base (turned upside down and inside out like a nun hafucha) established in the malchut of atzilut. It is found on the right side of the tefillin worn on the head and refers to the human mind and to its ability to receive intangible insight through the connecting dalet of darga (the ta'am elyon) and to perceive reality.

Additionally regarding the 4-headed shin, the transformative vav, the letter of truth, represents of the penetration of unblemished truth into the false grace of this world, transforming the lie (shin kof reish) into the vowel shurek (shin vav reish kof), thereby redeeming and revealing the once-hidden spark of truth upon which the lie once stood. This transformation is the rectification of the sefirah yesod, which in the form of a tet (having the power to bear opposites and to unite heaven and earth) "frames" malchut, and in the form of a vav contains the seed of truth. The rectification of the dark essence of malchut by framing (a function of tet) and penetrating into the heart of vav (a function of zayin) through tevunah (the lower partzuf of imma ila'ah), transforms the inner essence of vav (da'at) into the zayin of shabbat consciousness, and raises the 3-headed shin "above the wood" of the lower worlds into the world of atzilut, by turning it inside out and upside down upon the pivoting action of tradition through shalshelet (ta'am tachton). Attainment of shabbat consciousness and the elevation of the mundane to the holiness of atzilut marks rectification of the tree of knowledge, enabling unification of truth with favor through knowledge - ushering into every malchut the messianic consciousness of echad. Through the prism action of malchut, messianic consciousness is reflected, iterated and spread throughout all levels of existence, surging through all with the brightness and brilliance of the Ein Sof. Thus is the dark primordial pit of the tehiru and the whole world infused with the brilliance of the Infinite One.

First Beit

This is my experience. There is remembering of strongly trying (the first tzimtzum), a tail-end side of First Awareness Remembering. There is a river-likeness of lava-likeness with churning fiery proto-discretions (the cantillations) of awareness in it discerning like molecules (the Hebrew letters) of severity in harsh rushing foaming (tagim) waters (the Sambatyon). Some are loosely and some are tightly bound up (vowels) with one another, and all are flowing jumbled up together. There is (shin of binah function), yet is not (shin of chochmah function), a distinction of otherness (both shins functioning simultaneously), in this place, a place where Great Judgment (Din) dwells. In the midst of it, perception runs and returns in pivoting (shalshelet) bursts flashing between lucidity and no-thing - this pivoting dance essentially directed to avoid annihilating operators.

The lava-likeness churning with discretions cuts across. Some- some- some- some-, struggling saying some-, -more. A brilliant soothing darkness congeals at the exiting shore edging the fiery river of everyeverywhichway annihilating operators. A clear deep drawing inward (yud) like fuzzy edgeless edges rich with the reverberating echo of a sweet dream perceiving "before" in the presence of presence lingers in first awareness remembering becoming being. Remembering and vowing to remember from one end and the other, like an anchoring of truth (tav) sunk into the essential ground of eternal being. Never ever forget!

Seemingly awareness had been pulled through the lava-likeness, but not really. Moving moved the lava-likeness, rather than was awareness moved by pulling. On the other hand, I had been trying and trying implies some kind of moving of awareness.

The trying with a tail-end-side remembering back there, still sticking through the lava-likeness into the essence trying keeping remembering and remembering being-in going-through the awesomely fearful place of everyeverywhichway was deposited in the brilliant soothing darkness. Feeling smaller feeling relievedthatihadnotceasedintheeveryeverywhichway and feeling drawn back, toward Back There, like to a distant land on the other side yet very near, within remembering ever keeping.

Trying to go back yearning, yet wantingtryinglooking what i was and shaking my tail-end-side-remembering forcing myself away into the darknessofbeingsometryinglooking at


and turning circles around and around and around


PAUSING remembering back there here


who is here with me ....

Teshuvah Story

Part 1 Basic Background

I have always been an outsider and solitary, with a tendency to have unusual mystical experiences. When I was small, my parents frequently tried to coax me out of hibernation as they called it. However, I enjoyed solitude and exploring. I talked to myself alot, looked at ditchwater under a microscope my parents had bought for me, tried to grow sea monkeys, walked in the woods behind my house, watched Star Trek and Lost In Space, and read mystery books.

I wore a back brace for several years as a teenager, got a job, bought my parents' old car, married my high school boyfriend following graduation from high school, and started to raise a family. My ex-husband was physically and emotionally abusive. The marriage dissolved after 10 years of trying to fix it. During the first 5 years of this marriage, I was a homemaker, raising my children. During the latter part, I went to nursing school, became a registered professional nurse (R.N.) and worked in the ICU (intensive-critical care unit) at the local hospital. While working in ICU, I became interested in the microphysiology of adult respiratory distress syndrome (with multi-system organ failure) and decided that I was more a scientist-type with a burning desire to discover, so by the time the marriage ended a few years following graduation from nursing school, I was attending the State University, working on a Biochemistry degree, working weekends as an ICU nurse, and trying to raise my kids. I was blessed to have a mother willing to help me. If she hadn't been, I would have been stuck, in that awful life, in that awful place, with an unfulfilled desire to discover. I thank G-d for the mother I was blessed to have.

Following graduation from the University, Biochemistry degree in tow, I went into research, to Michigan with my children, to discover. In Michigan, discovering, all hell broke loose in my life and it has been that way ever since.

Part 2 Religious Background

As a child, after finding the dead mouse, I decided to find out what really happened after something died. I put the dead mouse into a sealed jar and hid it in my dresser drawer for a long time, peeking at it every so often until it was mush. I needed to know the truth.

My parents did not practice any religion themselves when I was growing up (they practice Christianity now), although they told my brother and I we were Protestant Christians, and sent us to church with an aunt on my father's side. I was not antagonistic towards Christianity, nor did I have any remarkably traumatic experience with it - I learned it, heard the Bible stories and stuff, but for the most part, I just ignored it, not willfully really. My connection to G-d was more in the woods, in my closet, when I was alone, hibernating.

I remembered G-d from before ... and the tangible feeling remained even as it dimmed as I grew up.

Though I had to go to church as a child, as a teenager I did not, so I did not. Again, it was not because of any antagonism. Rather, there was just no substance for me there, and I never could manage to align it sufficiently with my experience. Not that I didn't try. I just gave up. And then I was an adult.

And a woman with a son. After my first son was born, believing myself a Christian, I tried again going to church, trying to be a Good Parent. I tried several church organizations, fellowships and denominations of Christianity. But nothing fit. So, I dropped out of religion again.

During a particularly abusive time in my ex-marriage, I joined a nearby church and stayed there about a year while my ex-husband and I were counseled by the minister. I knew by now that something was terribly wrong with my life, but I could not put my finger on it. The minister at this church sincerely and compassionately tried to help, but I was left empty, smothered, the what is this in me more restless than ever. The answers there were not working for me. I quit religion, more from this and not from anger. I got divorced.

Years later, divorced and in Michigan discovering, crisis was a neverending companion. Not knowing what else to do, or where else to turn, I tried going to church again. I tried several churches, still looking for the one that would fit me, still looking for the one where I could find that tangible intimacy I had had with G-d as a child, in the woods, in my closet, hibernating. But, there was still nothing. This time, that there was still nothing, cut me to my core. It was at this time that I experienced Light Breathing, dreamt I was Jewish, and dreamt of the Angel of Death.

I did not have any positive or negative ideas about Judaism at this point. I had not thought about Judaism in the past. Even after the above experiences (and particularly even after the dream about being Jewish), the political situation at the pharmaceutical company where I was working was becoming traumatic for me - my life was unraveling. Consequently, I did not attempt to analyze my dreams or experiences. A scientist now, they were unreasonable in my thinking. And I was confused spiritually. I became a confused rationalist. I was angry now at G-d. Fullblown pissed off. My life was a horrible mess - just where was this brightening and brilliance I had been promised anyway?

So, incredibly angry, struggling to find some meaning in what I had been taught, being a confused rationalist, I girded my loins and went on the attack. I applied logic to debate creationism against evolution, trying to find something, clinging like a shipwrecked sailor to a tattered lifeboat. I knew I desperately needed to fix myself and I didn't know what else to do.

The holes in my understanding of Christianity got bigger. A Jewish scientist in the lab down the hall that was collaborating with the lab I worked in got fired. My boss quit. Two exceptional scientists, in my opinion. I had learned so much from them. I was appropriated by the Executive Director of Discovery Research to work in his laboratory. He subsequently fired me, when I failed to cease questioning and failed to tow the line.

Leaving Michigan, I went back to my home state with little more than my integrity. My car had blown up the same week I lost my job. My life was in total chaos. My children stayed with their father while I found a job and a place to live. A friend encouraged me to go with her and her family to their charismatic church. I went and was comforted during this crisis by the kind people there. Even so, my experiences were not congruent with the spiritual experiences many of the people there seemed to have. I pleaded with G-d to "touch me too"! But, it was not to be. Nothing. Everyone in my little study group was having wonderful spiritual experiences. But me - nothing. I felt abandoned abandoned abandoned abandoned to silence - a silence I could not understand. An old white car I had bought upon return from Michigan and getting a job at the University totally died and could not be resurrected. I bought a red car.

And decided I didn't like my job as a laboratory manager at the University. I didn't like my life, in fact. I started perusing the job classifieds. A small nonprofit healthcare center for poor people like me was having funding and grant problems. I was a professional nurse. I had also been allowed to evaluate some grant submissions to the NIH by my bosses at the pharmaceutical company. I had done scientific writing. I thought, gee, maybe I can do a good deed. I am miserable anyway. Why not? So, I quit my job at the University and went to save the world! by being a clinic coordinator of a struggling nonprofit.

And I thought I had known misery before. Well, now I learned m-i-s-e-r-y. My struggling psychological equilibrium busted apart.

The Interim Executive Director of the facility loaned me the book The Quark and the Jaguar by physicist Murray Gell-Mann. In the book was a chapter called A Moral Equivalent of Belief which discussed mythical belief versus mystical experience. Given that the lender of the book was Jewish, and that the author was Jewish, I figured that the idea might be Jewish as well.

This idea, mixing around in my brain with my dream about being Jewish (while in Michigan), and my mystical experiences, made me seriously think about Judaism. My friend who had brought me to her family's church, knowing my spiritual discontent, told me about a Just Looking, An Introduction to Judaism class that was being offered by the synagogue in the town where I was working. I went to this class, curious, skeptical, searching.

My life has never been the same since. One of the books on the reading list for the class was Lawrence Kushner's The Book of Words. In it was a short commentary on The Name with Hebrew letters in it. I understood this. I knew this.

That is the beginning of my Teshuvah Story. And this website continues it ...

Discovery Of A Lifetime

In the world, littlest-i felt al-ONE, an outsider falling apart. Then G-d taught me to crawl, so I would not fall. The first uncovering began at the Kingdom of my psyche. "Be still and know that I am ONE." Hearing, i remembered Home with longing. The Decision was made to Go Home whatever the cost, but i was confused by crossing arrows. i prayed. G-d heard and Providence set The Way within me, putting a brace on my back, to straighten My Path and strengthen me for The Journey. i learned to be conscious of my senses, movements and ideas; to distinguish my will; to seek inward, and acquired stamina and Grounding life experience in the First Temple of the body.

... GOing through my Foundation i, iI realized that I was not daughter, wife, mother, professional, neighbor, friend. i was all these things. What was I? What then were You? What then were We? were questions iI asked. Sensitized, what is This within me pressing for Freedom? i asked. Layers were removed. Awakened, iI was heading to a Land i did not Understand. My marriage ended. Hope began.

iI determined to do life rightly. Learning became an insatiable Desert thirst. iI became Bursting Full from questioning, seeking Truth in ideas, sifting and sorting and assimilating, embracing paradox, synthesizing the experience of living, and exploring, boldly going Places i had never gone before like Michigan to be a research biochemist. Now, i liked being a research biochemist, but I was annoyed that i was satisfied with this. I wanted To Discover. Shadows on the Wall and Clouds Outside were dark with Fiery Fury. Light Breathed in a Stillness and illuminated illumined creatures living in the dark fiery crisis to Integrity and Broken Idols. To be or not to be, that was the question. Choices between Truth or pretending not to see, Judgment and Mercy, to destroy or be a Light, were questions demanding answers. May my Compassion be Greater than my Anger, I prayed. In choosing Truth, Justice and Light, in losing the life of i, I secured the life of I. Charity was born, destined in a dream for Victory through the Just-right hand of Mercy in a Struggle toward Understanding, the Spark Driving my need to know, to know.

Going Up, Coming Down, Looking Up ...

In a dream, I am Jewish, from Jewish ancestry, a line ubeyn David and Solomon. Leaving Michigan, Ii headed Home, i's life shattered. i heard a Voice that shook my Second Temple ego bare with the sound of fire and a song, a timeless melody. I saw with the Eye of the Heart ONE who brings low and lifts up. I remembered ONE, a Covenant, and recognized the root of me in the writings of physicist Murray Gell-Mann and Jewish mystic Lawrence Kushner. I Breathed In The Name of G-d. Just Looking became Seeing. There was no going back. I was Coming Home. Cleaning up for the Day After Sunrise, the Dark voice of an Amalekite spoke a claim it did not own. Where did my help come from? My help came from Adonai Havayah, Maker of heaven and earth, Owner of the Alter. Real Faith was born from Awe in the House of Yisrael. To ONE enthroned in heaven, I have Lifted My Eyes Waiting, so as not to have labored in vain.

And from that moment on, my world changed, real life began ...

Dare to be true to yourself.