Based on the Ecstatic Kabbalah

Based on the Ecstatic Kabbalah, meditation is a way to prophetic union and also the immortality of the soul.

Perhaps the most crucial practice of the Kabbalah and definitely the practice through which the Ecstatic Kabbalists are defined is meditation. According to the Ecstatic Kabbalists, meditation was the method utilized by the ancients to achieve prophetic union, which, as Maimonides explained, was a results of Divine favour bestowed upon the individual who had perfected himself, or herself, in his mental, imaginative and moral faculties. (Guide for the Perplexed Part 2 chs. 32 & 36)

For the Ecstatic Kabbalist, prophecy wasn’t dependent on foretelling the future, because the Bible itself indicates, ““Exactly how should we be aware of word that the Lord hasn’t spoken?” In the event that prophet will speak within the Name from the Lord and that thing shall not occur… with willfulness has the prophet spoken.” (Deut. 18:21-22, Artscroll). Quite simply, foretelling the future is simply a way to separate the real and the false prophet. Nevertheless, even the false prophet is recognised like a prophet, his error is overstepping his bounds and in trying to pass off their own opinion as God’s.

Furthermore, due to the varying examples of prophecy, as describe by Maimonides in his Guide for that Perplexed (Part 2 ch. 37), and given the discrepancy between your numbers of prophets which scripture records and also the number of prophets who have been actually named, it’s reasonable to assume that many prophets were “prophets unto themselves”, e.g., they weren’t sent on any “missions”; rather, the natures of their prophecies were with regards to self-perfection and spiritual enlightenment (Mishneh Torah, Yesodei HaTorah, ch. 7).

As could be gleaned in the writings from the Ecstatic Kabbalists, whether explicitly or implicitly, the Prophetic Path is split into the following stages:

    Mindfulness;Concentration;Quiescence;Introversion;Silence;Divine Inspiration; andProphecy.

The Meditative Stages from the Prophetic Path

The first stage of the meditative path in the Ecstatic Kabbalah is designated by the Hebrew term Hazkarah, literally “remembrance”. Contextually, Jewish tradition invariably associates all incidents of remembrance with an accompanying verbalisation; it is discovered that whenever there is an injunction to remember something, its remembrance is definitely based on its verbal articulation. It’s within this accord that the term Hazkarah can be used homonymously to mean both “remembrance” and “verbal articulation.”

Hazkarah is used in the Ecstatic Kabbalah specifically in regard towards the verbal articulation and remembrance of God’s names, and it is equal to the Arabic word dhikr, which is often used in Sufism to describe the equivalent practice of meditation on the names of God. Generally, it used to describe the practice of any mindful activity, in the same manner that the Sanskrit word smrti, “memory,” is interpreted as “mindfulness” inside the Buddhist Noble Eightfold Path. This linguistic feature of these languages serves to increase the historically oriented word in the English language to the current tense.

More on this topic

    Isaac of Acre – Theurgy and Ecstasy in the KabbalahBiblical KabbalahWhat is Jewish Meditation and also the Kabbalah?

    Mindfulness is the point of origin of all further developments within the ways of the Ecstatic Kabbalah since it roots your brain in a state of spontaneous awareness. It is out of this receptive frame of mind that the Kabbalist reconfigures the mind into an active state of Concentration, designated through the Hebrew term Devekut (lit. “adhesion”).

    This concentrated configuration creates a resonant focusing of all attention and total absorption in the object of concentration, which subsequently results in a state of near perfect internal Quiescence, or Hishtavut to make use of the Hebrew designation (a word which denotes reflexive-equilibrium, i.e., a stable mental attitude). As with mindfulness, Quiescence is in the nature of the goal from the Ecstatic Kabbalah; though unlike mindfulness, the industry stable yet dynamic state, Quiescence is denoted by a certain poise and it is thus qualitatively more sublime than Mindfulness.

    Even so, Quiescence is a relatively artificial state, just as a ball balancing on top of hill is definitely an artificial stillness requiring only the slightest nudge destabilise. Therefore the Kabbalists progress a stage further in which the equilibrium is shattered in order to bring your brain to a still lesser amount of movement; this is the practice of Hitbodedut or Introversion. Within this practice, your brain is drawn into a constantly expanding web of complexity with every new configuration deepening the absorption by recruiting successive quanta of attentive potential; eventually the mind reaches a cognitive threshold and seizes up, those faculties of consciousness that have been utterly consumed with activity suddenly disengage and absolute Silence ensues.

    This Silence, or Demamah within the Hebrew, is a state of primordial presence, embryonic in its character. It’s thus the Hebrew word Demamah also represents a catalogue of other elemental meanings, earth, blood, imagination, and maybe most significantly, “likeness”, as in “Let us make man within our image, after our likeness” (Genesis 1:26, Artscroll).

    These five stages are those which are under the Kabbalist’s direct control, and reaching the most receptive of states, ultimately, in Silence, the Kabbalist now awaits Divine grace to inject him with its Inspiration and illuminate his consciousness. If the Kabbalist-Prophet will be able to keep sufficient passivity during this experience (without being jolted back to ordinary consciousness) the "Divine Inspiration" will spill over into real prophecy, the introduction to supreme infinite reality.

    The Nature of Prophecy and also the Immortality from the Soul

    The Ecstatic Kabbalists inform you that prophecy is a procedure for deification: “He’s felt the Divine touch and perceived its nature, it seems right and proper to me and also to every perfected man he should be called “master” because his name is like the "Name of his Master," whether it is only in one, or in many, or perhaps in all of his names. For the time being he’s no more separated from his Master, and behold he is his Master and the Master is he; for he’s so intimately united with Him, he cannot by any means be separated from Him, for he is He.” (Abraham Abulafia, Sefer haYashar) and “She [the soul] will cleave to the Divine intellect, and it will cleave to her, and she and the intellect become one entity, as if somebody pours out a jug of water into a running well, that all becomes one.” (Isaac of Acre, Otzar Haim)

    The prophetic state can also be the reason for the soul’s immortality in the world to come: “its ultimate aim is the reason from the lifetime of the "World in the future." This aim may be the union from the soul, by this intellection, with God, may He be blessed, for good and ever and eternally, and that thing is called the “image of God” and His likeness, “will live in man everlasting life without any limit, like the lifetime of the Creator, which is their cause.”” (Abraham Abulafia, Hayeh HaOlam HaBah)

    Sources:

    The Mystical Experience in Abraham Abulafia, Moshe Idel.

    Studies in Ecstatic Kabbalah, Moshe Idel.

    28 Jewelled Crown, Daniel Gigi.

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