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..:: The Mental Field V ::..

“Guardians”

By

Alan Schneider

                    

               Upon the Cabalistic Tree of Life (one of the more accurate depictions of the various states of consciousness attainable to humanity) is one most curious structure, known as “Daath”, the Invisible Sephorah. This Sephorah is located in another equally mysterious region referred to as “The Abyss of Ignorance”, shown immediately beneath the Supernal Triangle of Binah, Chokma, and Kether.  The Supernal triangle corresponds to the Hindu Godhead of Shiva, Vishnu, and Brahma, and to the Seventh Chakra Sahasrara, the site of the Logos in Hindu theory.  It is generally thought that one cannot Ascend beyond Ajna, the Sixth Chakra, on one’s own merits, no matter how well one has followed the Yoga Lifestyle, including meditation and all of the austerities involved. In order to pass beyond Ajna into Sahasrara, one must be ego-free for the duration of the interval involved, however long that may be.  There is presumably a guardian presence at, or immediately beyond, Ajna that will not allow the Logos to be contaminated by even the slightest vestige of self-involvement – in other words, ego-centric consciousness. It is this guardian spirit that is the subject of this article.

            The Jungian Sphere of Consciousness does not specifically refer to this barrier zone of consciousness, but Jung himself has mentioned in his writings that he stopped his exploration of awareness at Ajna, the level of higher internal introspection, and did not attempt to venture past this point, even though he knew of the Chakra Sahasrara.  It is interesting that there is an area at the center of the Sphere that is referred as the “Self”, but is illustrated only as a small black sphere at the center of the total Sphere of Conscious expression.  

            We may presume that, as a scientist and doctor, Jung was well indoctrinated in the extended “factual” world that constitutes the ego – this belief system must have been very powerful as a factor in his awareness – perhaps too powerful to overcome through the irrational “leap of faith” required to pass by the “guardian” into Sahasrara, and the consciousness of the Logos, leaving personal awareness behind thereby. But he at least knew that there was possibly another, absolutely transpersonal level that could be attained by a sufficiently detached individual, hence, the Sphere of the Self in the center of the Sphere of Consciousness. Since Jung did not venture beyond Ajna, he quite probably had little or no knowledge of the Guardian Angel stationed in the Abyss of Ignorance at Daath, blocking access to Eden, in other words, to Samadhi and Nirvana – and the psycho-perceptual Paradise of the Self. 

            For a meaningful conceptual portrayal of this phenomenon, we are left with Cabala and the Tree of Life diagram. To my knowledge, no other system has a corresponding reference to this final requirement of Ascension, and the spiritual mechanism that mediates the process. However, Tantric Theory has an analogous reference to an “Angel” of Darkness that also will not allow the ego to pass into Paradise – Mother Kali, the insane black Goddess of Chaos, and Shiva’s most feared Shakti expression! For the moment, let us consider the Kali image, after which we will return to the Tree of Life system. 

            The key to grasping this matter lies in understanding the Chaos that Kali represents. Since chaos is, by definition, that which lies beyond order and comprehension, we could begin by examining the comprehension process itself. Comprehension is based upon progressive association in the mind – as we mature, we learn by linking the previous levels of understanding we have developed with new concepts and information, creating new levels of meaning – in a word, enhanced comprehension. Our old friend, the ego, feels comfortable with that which it comprehends, and threatened by what it does not, generating an existential drive to attain more and more comprehension. Any chaotic manifestation lies outside this realm of understanding and is a source of existential discomfort and cognitive dissonance – i.e. mental confusion – for the ego. The ability to organize information is the essence of the ego as a structure in consciousness. All of this stops at the Threshold of Chaos, beyond which we must find a new way to understand and process information – a method involving acceptance of random symbolic events unbounded by logical constraints of any of the kind seen in the ego state on the Physical Plane. The region beyond chaos is mediated by strange attractors and archetypes that seem to exist in an absolute sense beyond space and time as the ego experiences them. These phenomena can only be mentally assimilated without the interference of the ego. Not only does the ego feel threatened by that which it cannot comprehend, it feels supremely threatened by that place wherein it cannot exist

            Kali marks the absolute boundary of existence as we know it. Up to and including Ajna, there remains a semblance of self-identity and remote familiarity with the Physical Plane and its comfortable physical and chemical “laws”. We are still introspective and self-aware at this level. But, the Consciousness of the Logos, of the Jungian Self, cannot be experienced through any type of self-referenced logic – it simply must be accepted as a flow of symbolic experience that unfolds spontaneously as a dimensionless field of unconditional Love and supreme Light that contains the sum total of all knowledge attainable on any level, even those “levels” beyond perception. That is the Divine Presence as I experienced it in Samadhi. The ego, even in vestigial form, has no place there.  

            It is a matter of natural course that anything which we perceive as guarding access to such a state of being must seem to be ferocious in the extreme – hence the portrayal of Kali as a Demoness with blood-dripping teeth, and a belt adorned with severed human heads – all symbolizing the destruction of the ego. In the Bhagavad-Gita, Arjuna asks to see Krishna’s true form, and is greeted with an even more horrendous apparition, one with countless mouths filled with countless teeth consuming entire universes and all their contents. Arjuna cannot withstand this vision and begs Krishna to re-assume his human form. In both cases, we see symbolic expression of the destruction of ego comprehension and its associative links. It is the ego that blocks our experience of God and the Logos through its habitual worldly associations. This condition is what Kali seeks to destroy in order to free the Soul from its worldly bonds, and enable the perception of the Logos in Samadhi.  

            The Torah specifies the presence of an Angel armed with a Sword of Fire that “turned in every direction” blocking the way back into Eden.  In those days, Angels and Demons were considered to be more or less interchangeable entities, with form following function – since human beings had “fallen” in Eden, the entity that was placed on guard at the East Gate was necessarily an “Angel”, serving God’s purposes. Lucifer, the “Darkest” Angel was presumably still present among the Heavenly Host as well, again presumably with leathery wings and horns – a quite demonic image, but still called an “Angel” of Heaven. Cabala calls the practice of Ascension “The Path of the Flaming Sword” – a reference to the Angel guarding the East Gate, whatever its nature may have been. The sword of fire remains a most intimidating image. One is reminded of the medieval myths of fire breathing dragons, among other things.  In Post-Babylonian Hebrew, fire is represented by the letter Shin – meaning “the most powerful destroyer”, consuming everything in its path, and leaving only ashes behind. When Lucifer was ejected from Heaven, he was cast into a realm of fire and brimstone by the Archangel Michael.  

            The Sephorah Daath is located in The Abyss of Ignorance on the Tree of Life. The term “ignorance” here means more than a simple lack of knowledge and grace. It means a lack of all manifestation of any kind – the death of the ego and of ego interpretation of events. I have called Daath “The Portal of Shiva” in my book Doors In Disguise, but it is better referred to as the “Portal To Shiva” – Kali herself stands guard there – representing pure chaos and non-existence.  

            Given the non-linear nature of all Astral perception, it is quite possible that Kali may be the personification of the Threshold of Chaos, as may the Flaming Sword of the Angel at the East Gate of Eden. We must remember that the supremely indeterminate form of absolute chaos is itself an archetype emerging in the from of cultural symbols – ones which are necessarily as variable as the phenomenon they pertain to. For the ancient Cabalists, chaos was a ball of fire consuming all that entered it. For the ancient Hindus, it was Kali’s teeth, also consuming all that entered her realm.  Buddhist representations of the figure Palden Lhamo also pertain to a Dark Guardian image riding through a sea of blood, symbolic of both life and chaos. What all of these representations have in common is their reference to the modification of ego-awareness through some kind of altered conscious state that will allow the messages from the other side of the Threshold to emerge into symbolic expression. As I have commented previously, when we work with conditions at the Threshold, and assimilate what takes place there, an extensive alternative system of consciousness takes shape and form. It is also possible that the Threshold is duplicated at Ajna, or simply recurs in new symbolic images designed to test our readiness to meet the Absolute Light of Consciousness. 

            The more empty we are upon encountering the Guardian at Daath, the less fearsome it appears, and the less destructive will its psychic actions be if it is challenged. The ancient Buddhist admonition “One who dies before death, does not die at death” is very appropriate here. The “dead” ego is free to continue the journey into the afterlife – the active ego is not. In a word, that which does not exist, cannot be destroyed. This is the great power of meditation – the attainment of real existence through the practice of nonexistence.  

            For the rash explorer of consciousness, and frequently even the patient ones, the prospect of the total loss of existence is simply too intimidating to risk challenging Daath and the Abyss, and most stop at this point, viewing Sahasrara from across the Abyss at the level of Ajna. I have mentioned in previous articles that I believe I was able to achieve an epiphany Ascension because 1) I had been meditating and studying for months (actually for years) before hand, 2) I did exactly the right things in exactly the right sequence in exactly the right frame of mind on the occasion in question, and 3) I was assisted in my experience by the Hindu practice of Sun-Gazing at the early morning Sun reflected on the surface of the lake outside my window. By the “right” frame of mind, I mean that I was experimenting with Cabala and the Tegrammeton (YHVH) with absolutely no expectations regarding the outcome. If nothing had happened, this would have been fine with me – I was simply following my consciousness wherever it wanted to go while I was on Christmas vacation! This complete freedom from any expectation was the primary enabler of my experience. I simply had no ego for Kali to destroy going into the events of the period. Instead of a ferocious monster wielding a Sword of Fire, I experienced a Cosmic Doe who looked into my Soul and found no expectation present there – the result of prolonged intervals of meditation – and simply granted me passage beyond the Threshold of Chaos into the radiant vision of Sahasrara. And I must admit that I have always been a most unconventional person, even apart from this experiment, and my exaggerated sense of personal freedom has formed the background of many explorations in my life. 

            Why do I frequently equate the Divine Light with the Hindu deity Shiva? Well, for one thing, because this is one of His manifestations in traditional Shavite texts, along with Nataraja, the Cosmic Dancer, and the Lingam, to name a couple of the others. I believe that any Ascension is driven by the Kundalini Energy in a Tantric elevation of perception – even my Cabala Ascension – and this Energy is characterized as a female presence – Shakti – compelled to seek union with a male presence – Shiva – at the highest level of expression attainable – Sahasrara Chakra in Samadhi. We are compelled by our very essence as sentient beings to seek Ascension in the Spirit. And because Shiva is such an effective representation of the I AM PRESENCE of the Logos – manifest in all things, but hidden in all things as well. Finally, Shiva as the Divine Light is attainable, if we can just release our finite ego considerations unto Kali, and leap across the Abyss and Daath into the perceptual Paradise on the other side. I believe that anyone attaining Samadhi would experience the Divine Light as at least a portion of the Manifestation present in, and represented by, the experience. We can call this Light God, or the Logos, or Shiva, or Allah, or Yahweh, or Jehovah or any number of other culturally specific descriptors but it remains the Source of all Manifestation in consciousness that every human being knowingly or unknowingly seeks. Namaste!  

                                          - With Love, Alan -

                                  (CR2008, Alan Schneider)

 

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