Tuesday, February 18, 2014

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Eye to the Infinite–Locks & Keys

Eye to the Infinite – by Reb Aharon Rubin…

Locks and Keys

To summarise, we find it convenient and relevant to divide the human brain’s awareness and activity into three ‘minds’: the conscious (creative, logical, rational), the subconscious (emotion, behaviour), and the inner mind (which sends subtle messages to the conscious). Rabbi Avrohom Abulafia, famous thirteenth-century Kabbalist, writes that the inner mind is guarded by what he terms, “a re­volving sword” – an allusion to the revolving sword placed at the en­trance to the Gar­den of Eden (Genesis 3:24).[1] Today, this is called the Conscious Critical Faculty, or the CCF.[2] 

This sword, or CCF, acts like a shutter to the brain, preventing an on­slaught of out­side stim­uli from entering un­checked into the mind and bombarding the unconscious. Simultaneously though, it im­pedes con­cen­tra­tion, fast ab­sorb­ing of knowledge and the ability to lock on to a single subject.[3] It also prevents a per­son from access­ing his own inner mind, the door to the soul, a point vividly described by the great kabbalist, Chief Rabbi of Haifa in the early twentieth century, Rabbi Naftoli Herts:

"There is nothing in the physical that cannot be seen in its spiritual form (through the soul’s insight). Man however, while living in this world, will only be able to see the spiritual if he removes his physicality. It is [thus] written, “And He placed to the east of the Garden of Eden the Kerubim and the sharpness of the revolving sword to guard the way to the Tree of Life”(Gen. 3:24).

This refers to two factors that prevent a person from perceiving the spiritual.

1.     Man’s physicality, alluded to by the two Kerubim. Like eye-lids covering the eyes, man’s physicality impedes his spiritual understanding.

2.     [The ability to fix one’s mind consistently on one thought.] To gain true understanding, a person has to continuously think on the spiritual and not allow any other thoughts to interrupt. Only then can he transcend his physicality. [But] G-d has made man such that his thoughts constantly change from one subject to the next. He finds it very difficult to keep hold of a single thought. The ‘thought’ that interrupts him is like ‘a sword’, cutting and interrupting his flow of thinking. This is the “sharpness of the revolving sword”. Just as there are Kerubim and the sharpness of the sword in the world [in Eden], so there are Kerubim and the sharpness of the sword in man.”

[1] Se­fer HaTseruf 2b. Also Guide for the Perplexed, Introduction (Friedlander, Pg 3).

[2] Hypnosis is defined as “a state of mind in which the critical faculty of the human is by­passed, and selective thinking established”. Elman, Hypnotherapy, p. 26. (U.S. Gov. Dept. of Educ.).

[3] See Liqutei MohaRan 1, 24:8.

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