What is a school of the soul?
A school is a training ground. A soul is a story within stories of life.
This post is based on my notes during a Kabbalah group meeting.
I think a school of the soul is a disciplined environment whose collective string is tuned by agreement to a subtle or divine frequency. It is like an orchestra. In practice, a school may have a practical, a ceremonial or a contemplative bias. Kabbalahsociety is a contemplative group. We do field work, and we meet regularly for an exchange of anecdotes, humour, and observation. We observe human geology, political tensions and our tidal process, and refer these phenomena to the Tree of Life. The tutor’s skill keeps a tight ship – a light touch on the tiller.
Some of us received an early training in schools which developed issues of power and property and went wrong. Through this, our unconscious projections were exposed: there are no accidents in the work. The initial discipline planted a good experiential framework in the side pillars. Nothing is wasted.
The basic requirements of a school of the soul are simple: a place and time for meeting; an invocation to open and close the Tree: harmony in the working group. We are courteous, speaking when our turn is given, and not to argue a position. Companions come and go, they are not coerced. The laws of Providence regulate our attendance and individual contribution – as any wise tutor recognises.
Some schools get corrupted by the perennial human weakness for power, sex and money at the top. A regime of fear percolates down a hierarchy whose arteries harden and block the outlet. In fact, it may be our fate to confront thus, our private tyrannies, and so these opportunities were given. They became converted to an inner discipline, so that we may bond with kindred spirits.
Out of many thousands among men,
one may endeavor for perfection,
and of those who have achieved perfection,
hardly one knows Me in truth.
Bhagavad Gita, chapter 7
What is the percentage in the world, of those in the Work? It boils down to about 6,000 committed souls world wide – a homeopathic potency across the human grain.
In some societies, much energy goes into property maintenance, publicity and funding; the real schools where real work is being done, are rare. They operate within a different radar.
The Kabbalahsociety emphasises transparency, personal discipline and maturity – a ripening process over the decades. The side pillars of Revelation and Reason are balanced through the the centre KAV or stem of Jacobs’ Ladder. Levels of soul and spirit are discriminated through this tool, a barometer of the world – a staff of light.
The key is the Menorah.
As individuals, we are each a school of the soul in bud, with our teaching input, our relationships, personal vision, wisdom and responsibility in the world, to keep practicing.
Melchisedek became Enoch, and was released from the frame of human time. He walked with God, and he was not: for God took him. The commands – do not steal, do not adulterate – are foundational. We learn to recognise daily the vegetable, animal and human principles and character around us. If our conduct is correct we are living the Kabbalah, and we start to see the Principles at work.
It is good to talk of a school of a soul, and to recall that my private life is a school of the soul, in microcosm. As the path clears some way through Karmic road works, cones and bypasses, it flows. I flow. Rules may be enacted, but the Law is discovered through lived experience. Before the Emperors came to power, the Romans had begun to build Greek principles of democratic government into a forum.
A flexible seeing psychology is a forum: a capacity for examination and a socratic inner questioning.
The Holy One generates through all our cosmic history, through tsim-tsum and the glory of the worlds and each “moment now” of the ‘big bang’, a potential towards wholeness and healing, which is perfection. From a tiny apple pip grows a TREE.
Since ever the book of time opened, the tsim tsum – breath of the Holy One – creates an interval for manifestation – the asymmetry or stress, by which we live and desire and grow. A rainbow’s perfect circle through fire and dew in the physical world is bound to fade and vanish. Planetary and galactic orbits are elliptical, and so is the egg and the tiny seed: the ellipse is our sustenance. In embryo and cellular multiplication, in spiral plant growth, in the animal kingdom and in all human difficulty, the ellipse prevails, as evolution.
Justice is the curve of evolution.
Like a pendulum, the dynamic through the Tree and in our lives moves towards a greater manifestation of the whole; the divine Platonic Circle is seeded in our soul. From within every spiritual tradition and cosmology, the Holy One “enjoys the interplay”. We say, “This is Hell, but it is interesting” – as psychological crises prompt awakening through black eyes, broken noses, religious intolerance, greed and climate change.
We had a group discussion on philanthropic millionaires who can give money intelligently where governments cannot – Bill Gates is informed enough to drop ten million quid in the right place. Wealthy students support the teacher. Youngsters and lottery winners are ruined by the pests of unearned wealth. The general election rises and falls on the pendulum.
We show on our walls, the professional tools of our trade – like a plumber’s certificates – to reassure customers or seekers. A portrait artist can reveal beyond any photo, a sitter’s private trust and humanity. In the midst of life, I value my tutor’s integrity and personal quirks and enclosures. He is “elliptical” – a growing-towards – just as I am. Along the Fourth Way (Ouspensky) we come into the School and move into solitude, or move from solitude into the School – the movement, bridges the inner and outer worlds. Nothing is wasted.
This poem plays with planetary Sefiroth in Plato’s cave:
Chess Cabale (2004)
“Who sports in the Self” is no one person,
but feeling a greater Circle arise
around a candle flame;
and within each smaller Circle –
are Companions of the Light.”
Here are the dreaming Moon and Mercurious child:
Aphrodite, blacksmith’s wife, disarms her warrior Ares;
great Zeus of mercy and thunderbolts, leaps with his entire Olympiad
from Chronos’ tight bowel, measure of time and mind;
while Wisdom, magus of stars
touches the daisies …
Circling the Sun, the Wanderers pass
as shadows through my cave.
Watching nature’s fiery hieroglyph
upon platonic walls, I love
my pageant – knights and damsels wrestling
dragons … eros.
Companions of the Light form a Circle, times a circle.
Companions of the Knight mounting trusty Cabale
square the Circle, speed of light.
When first shown the Tree,
I held not yet my life.
No more could brave Theseus lift his heavy stone
to find his father underneath,
till he’d wrestled three good years
Through negative film,
our faces appear distorted,
lantern raised a little only,
above the trail.
From the forest cave
with birds’ throat at break of dawn,
the Knight of holy Graal
riding Cabale with questing sword
squares his circle onward, inward –
grace, restraint –
by lions’ strength, beholding beauty.
The Masters’ Eye, 1992, 2004
My adventure invites fellow travellers. I am a poet, an artist and a seer. I welcome conversation among the PHILO SOFIA, the lovers of wisdom.
This blog is a vehicle to promote also my published work – The Sacred India Tarot (with Rohit Arya, Yogi Impressions Books) and The Dreamer in the Dream – a collection of short stories (0 Books). Watch this space.
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