In twilight at times it’s hard to see what’s there. If you don’t know what you’re looking for, you might not notice there’s anything to be seen. Things can be recognized, discovered like an epiphany, yet hard to point out to another. You can try to show someone the thing in the twilight, but unless they make their own effort to look and pierce the veil of uncertainty, they may miss it completely as it blends into the chaos. This is even more true in the dark of night. Yet what’s in the day is plain to sight.
So goes the occult. The word that means unseen, concealed. Not secret teachings, but teachings about the secret. Secret in being unseen, hidden. Revelation, mystical experience to reveal that which cannot be taught or pointed out. Concealed not by any one’s secrecy but by the inherent secrecy of The One.
And it need not be supernatural: from Nature’s complexities emerge profound connections, often occult (unseen) but available in sparks to the bits of Mind distributed in life systems. While science dis-covers much, much more is left out of touch, parsed only in glimpses (if at all) most commonly via intuition of the subconscious Mind.
Explained via the Jewish tradition:
Kabbalah is not a secret teaching. It is the teaching of a secret.
“The secret teaching” means that we are trying to hide something from you.
“The teaching of the secret” means that we are trying to teach something to you, to open up and reveal something hidden.
Now, you might point out, if the secret is taught, it is no longer a secret. A revealed secret, it would seem, is an oxymoron.
That would be so if we were discussing an artificial secret, one that is secret only because it is shrouded in secrecy, because others don’t want you to find out. True secrets, even once taught, explained, illustrated, analyzed and integrated into your consciousness, remain just as mysterious as before. No—vastly more mysterious, for as the island of knowledge expands, so too its beach upon the infinite sea of the unknowable.
Life teems with such mysteries: What is love? What is mind? What is life? What is existence? How do they come to be? From where do they emerge? What is your soul, the person within your body? You experience all these at every moment. They are you. And yet, the more you gaze upon the depths of their mysteries, the deeper their waters become.
The deepest of all secrets are those best known to all, that which we learn as small children, take for granted the rest of our lives, live with daily—and yet never manage to unravel or grasp with our cognitive mind.
There is. Things are. I exist. I am alive. Life is not death. Darkness is not light. There is that which is bigger than me.
Kabbalah plunges into these secrets and pulls their depths into the open. It provides metaphor, parable, understanding. It shines light and opens our eyes. It inspires and guides us to use this wisdom for healing and growth in everyday life. That is why the experience of learning Kabbalah is one of “Yes! I knew that truth all along! My heart knew, but my mouth was unable to speak it!” The truths of the Kabbalah belong to every sentient being.
Yet, most of all, Kabbalah provides a sense of the beyond; the knowledge of that which cannot be known, the wisdom of mystery, the understanding that we do not understand. Kabbalah is the knowledge of wonder.
Rabbi Tzvi Freeman
Artwork – Ryan J Flynn