This paper examines two stories of creation, an English translation of the Torah, and one part of the Kabbalah story of creation, "The breaking of the vessels." I weave a numerological understanding of the numbers one, two, three and zero through these stories. The Torah's enumeration of certain events on specific numbered days gives further understanding and insight into the creation story. I compare the similarities of the Kabbalah story and the Torah's story of the first three days of creation, examining the numbers that are presented in these stories. The analysis of the creation process is in four parts: the Void (0), the Shattering (1), Relationship/Separation (2) and the Creation of the New "Third" thing (3). Throughout this analysis I attempt to bring out the implications for healing practice and personal growth that I have drawn from this project.
The Forgotten Language of Creation by Kathy Bernstein
My History with Numbers
I have been studying numbers for over twenty years. My fascination with numbers began when I was five years old. While walking along a railroad track, I saw the number 37 on the head of a tack on a railroad tie and knew at that moment that numbers held more than a mathematical significance. This sparked my curiosity about what this earthly life is all about. In the 1970's I came across my first book on numbers and felt like a duck finding a pond for the first time. I had always been looking for a link to God and numbers felt like that link. My thinking was: if numbers represented sequence (and what could be more primal than sequence?) then, as I went back as far as I could in understanding that sequence, I would have to find God.
As a Numerologist I use a person's name from their birth certificate, and their birthdate and create a Numerology chart based on this information. From the chart I could perceive the kind of energy they embodied. This approach is (very roughly) similar to that of the Kabbalah. David Sheinkin, M.D. in The Path of the Kabbalah (58) writes about the letters that make up Hebrew words:
Each Hebrew word - with its particular combination of letters - is seen as a genetic-like code for the word. He uses an example: "Take the Hebrew word for "dog." By truly understanding the interrelation of the three letters of this word, Kabbalists insist, we know the very essence of a dog's nature - its "dogginess."
Looking at a person's chart has been a great neutralizer for me, in that looking at their "dogginess" as seen in a numerology chart tends to melt away prejudices I might have had about that person. If I had preconceived ideas as to their strengths and weaknesses, their assets and liabilities, looking at a chart would help me put these into perspective. I become more objective and less inclined to want to judge or "fix" them. In my mind's eye, I have always seen life as a Numerological cosmic energetic blueprint, weaving itself in and through God's creations. I have tried to make sense out of life by looking at it through this lens as it expands and contracts, but I didn't feel any closer to answering my life long question, "What is this all about?" About five years ago I realized that there was another aspect of numbers that I had not yet explored. I had spent 20 years looking at the apparent "dualistic" nature of numbers in looking at their seemingly "good" and "bad" aspects. I now have a glimpse of a unified wholeness of numbers. I previously called it the Higher Aspect of the number but never quite felt that was the word I was searching for. The shift to understanding the unified wholeness of numbers is about being with the wholeness and the fullness of the I in I-AM, of the "Who-am-I?" There is no separation of numbers here, yet there is a need in me to look at the pieces of the Whole.
Explanation of Terms
Torah, Kabbalah: As part of my presentation I will be discussing the Kabbalistic interpretation of the Torah, specifically the first book of Moses, called Genesis. The Torah consists of the first five books of the Old Testament, ascribed to Moses. Daniel C. Matt (1) explains the Kabbalah:
The Hebrew word Kabbalah means "receiving" or "that which has been received." On the one hand, Kabbalah refers to tradition, ancient wisdom received and treasured from the past. On the other hand, if one is truly receptive, wisdom appears spontaneously, unprecedented, taking you by surprise. The Jewish mystical tradition combines both of these elements. Its vocabulary teems with what the Zohar - the canonical text of the Kabbalah - calls "new-ancient words." Many of its formulations derive from traditional sources - the Bible and rabbinic literature - but with a twist.
Ain Sof: The Kabbalistic story of creation refers to Ain Sof, who in a sense is God. Regarding Ain Sof David Sheinkin (191) says:
Ain Sof.God or the "Infinite", from which all forms in the universe are created. Kabbalists teach that Ain Sof created the Ten Sefiroth as a link from man to him.
Sefiroth: I will also be talking about the Sefiroth, which according to the Kabbalah are ten states of being that create the universe. David Sheinkin (194) describes the Sefiroth as, "The ten energy essences that are said to be in constant interplay and underlie all of the universe." This project will make connections between the Torah story of creation, ideas from the Kabbalah, and the approach of Numerology. The Sefiroth have a basic numerological make-up explained here by Matt (4-5):
The account of Exekiel's chariot formed one major branch of early Jewish mysticism. The other branch was ma'aseh bereshit, the account of creation, or cosmology. The most important text concerning these secrets was Sefer Yetsirah, The Book of Creation, composed apparently in Palestine sometime between the third and sixth centuries. Here we are told how God created the world by means of twenty-two letters of the Hebrew alphabet and the ten sefiroth - a term that appears for the first time in Hebrew literature. Genesis and Psalms had already indicated that divine speech was the tool of creation. "God said, "Let there be light, and there was light." By the word of God the Heavens were made; by the breath of his mouth, all their hosts" (Genesis I:I, Psalms 33.6). What is new in Sefer Yetsirah is the detailed speculation on how God combined the individual letters, as well as the idea of the Sefiroth, which in this text are numerical entities, living beings embodying the numbers one through ten, ciphers, metaphysical potencies through which creation unfolds. The notion that numbers are essential to the structure of the cosmos derives from Pythagorean mysticism. Gradually, however, the Sefiroth evolved into something more, becoming the central symbol system of Kabbalah.
This establishes the basis for connecting Numerology with the stories of the Torah and Kabbalah.
About the paper
According to Marie-Louise Von Franz (18), "Jung has called number the most primitive expression of the spirit." My project will explore this statement by looking at numbers in relationship to the days of creation. I will examine numbers as they are expressed in the accounts of creation found in the Torah and the Kabbalah. I will attempt to overlay the Torah's depiction of the first three days of creation with the Kabbalistic story of "the breaking of the vessels," and look at how a numerological understanding of numbers supports this integration. I will look at the Torah creation story and its images of pre-creation and the first three days of creation to deepen my understanding of each number. Held within this understanding is the realization that creation didn't just happen once, and is now finished, but that it is continually underway second by second. There is no separation in the days of creation; they work in unison. We separate them out for our own understanding.
The account of the Kabbalah given here is vastly oversimplified. My intent is to draw attention to the broad parallels I see between the Torah's text, some of the most basic ideas found in the Kabbalah, and some of my experience as a Numerologist with these numbers. I have tried to distinguish clearly between my interpretations, the interpretations of others, and the various sources.
Much of my work as a Numerologist has been focussed on interpreting numbers according to their apparent "dualistic" nature, in the sense of analyzing out the seemingly "good" and "bad" (or, "healthy" and "unhealthy") aspects of each number. However, each day of creation conveys a story about what "happened" on that day, and these stories provide a more unified understanding of the energy of each number. I will also look at the Trinity, which is the unified nature of the series of the numbers 0, 1, 2, and 3. I will look at my experience of these numbers along with various writings which relate to the stories of the numbered days of creation. Drawing on the descriptions in Torah's account of the first three days of creation, and the Kabbalistic story of creation, I will examine the unified nature of the series of numbers 0, 1, 2, 3, i.e. the Trinity, as this sequence reveals the connection between the Creator and Creation. I will attempt to answer the question, "How do numbers express Spirit and lead us back to the Divine?"
The 16th century German theologian and mystic Jacob Boehme taught that all existence is ruled by seven qualities or energies that create the cosmos and operate simultaneously. Boehme wrote (qtd. in Nicolescu 5):
The seven creations are in everything; no one is first, or second, or third, or last; but all seven are simultaneously first, second, third, and last. However, in ordinary language, it is necessary to speak of them as being placed one after another, otherwise one would not understand what is being said. For divinity is like a wheel composed of seven wheels, one inside another, where one can see neither beginning nor end.
I have spent the last twenty years immersed in numbers, but had given little thought to the number zero. I remember my therapist many years ago saying he was never good at math because in his early education his learning about numbers started with the number one, not zero. I never forgot this, but I never really understood it either. As a Numerologist my only focus on zero was with the major Arcana, the first 22 cards of the Tarot. The Fool is the only card that has two numbers assigned to it, zero and the number 22. This is the beginning of the deck (0) and the end of the major Arcana (22). I see this card as an aspect of self that is flexible enough to experience all of life's experiences. The image on the card shows a jester with a small dog nipping at his heels. The dog is trying to urge reason and logic on the jester as he is about to walk off the edge of an abyss. Does the abyss represent the void, the number zero? I now think so.
Last year I was sitting with my husband, a former therapist, discussing the healing space we create for clients and he said, "The healer is responsible for the setting. You want to invite people into a safe clear field and what happens, happens. You clear an opening in the woods so something can grow. Leave it open for the client to fill." The image of a clearing, an opening in the woods that would allow something new to grow, started me thinking about the importance of being in this undefined space with clients, and got me thinking again about the number zero. Sheinkin (67) describes how Ain Sof withdrew himself to create a void such that the universe could come into being:
God had to make a space for the universe to exist and not be extinguished by His radiance. The only way to create a cosmos was therefore to make a void - an absence of light, a vacuum - so that something other than Ain Sof could exist. Ain Sof had to withdraw some of His radiance to allow for differentiation and identity. Therefore, a darkness or void was created before the light of our universe. This is because nothing can exist in God's presence unless God "hides" or removes Himself to some degree; if God does not do so, then there would be only God.
God withdrew his light to create this space, a void, so the universe could manifest. So what is in this Void and what is its purpose? My husband referred to creating an opening in the woods so something can grow. The opening creates a space for something new to emerge. If you are creating a space for something, there needs to be a perimeter to define the undefined space. Paradoxically, the undefined space needs to be defined. Eric LaVigne (9) describes the number zero in terms of a created space.
If we used merely blank spaces to describe a quantity of zero, it would be difficult to communicate clearly which of the blank spaces signified zero and which didn't, for as a learned medieval Arab scholar once remarked in a nearly poetic tangle of language: "Zero is not nothing. It is more than nothing, for it is something that has to be there to show that nothing is there.
LaVigne cites some images in our physical world that represent zero: the female genitalia, the egg, an ovum and the womb. I also see the cell, the aura, the seed and, oh yes, the clearing in the woods as images that represent the number zero. Held within all these images is the potential of creation. Held within the Void is unmanifest potential, the stuff from which the manifest world is created.
LaVigne (9-10) discusses the active principal of zero, which was a completely new concept for me. He describes the Void as reaching out and actively pulling the animating life force to it:
As the womb of creation, the zero "is not nothing," nor it is simply passive. In the religions out of which our Western symbolic tradition grew, the Goddesses of the life force from Ishtar to Isis were no idle darlings powerlessly lying in wait for the male God force to come along and command them. As the source of all potential matter and creation, they actively draw the "active" male force to them, challenging our socialized notion of "active" and "passive." The egg can be found all over the world as a representation of this potential and its inward force which reaches outward, pulling the animating life force toward itself and then giving birth to creation.
This description of zero's active nature reminded me of a session long ago with my therapist. He drew a dot and a line coming from the dot spiraling around it, moving farther and farther away from it; this was his way of depicting the individuation process, the movement away from the mother. The path of the spiral describes the child separating from the mother and the active draw of the mother pulling the child back toward her.
As I contemplate the void's primal movement, actively drawing to it the active male force [which begins the movement from the unmanifest void toward the manifest], I see the similarities to the child as it separates from its mother. The energy of the active principle of the mother draws and pulls the child back to her; the separation process is fraught with the fear of being pulled back to the mother into the primal abyss and losing all identity. I wonder if this early fearful experience with the mother, the primal fear of being drawn back to the abyss, doesn't color all our subsequent returns towards wholeness? I would think so, but I also believe that as we begin to individuate, heal our wounds, and loosen the grip of our defenses, the pull of the void no longer looms as this primal abyss in which all identity is annihilated. The Void can been seen as a unified ground of Being from which a fuller Self can be realized.
Looking at the zero before the other numbers is like opening up to this ground of Being. I now realize this undefined space - the zero - is potential, and teems with life. Acknowledging this space within myself and within my clients seems to open unforeseen possibilities. I also began to feel, while working on clients, that this principle also holds on the cellular level, that the life essence of each cell comes from this ground of Being.
Zero is starting to sound very much like the "Black Velvet Void" referred to by Barbara Brennan in her Heyoan meditation:
Bring all of your judgements of others, or criticisms of others or anger, or doubts about others into the beautiful Black Velvet Void here now in the Holy presence of the light that surrounds it. Continue absorbing all peripheral activity of the mind, emotions into the center of your being and that which underlies all of existence. Move with me now into the implicate enfolded order, the Brahman that supports all of life and yet is the source of all of life manifest as we know it.
Heyoan's reference to the light that surrounds the Black Velvet Void appears to correspond to the Kabbalistic account of creation when Ain Sof withdrew his radiance to create a void so something other than Ain Sof could exist. I see zero as representing the source that supports all of life that is referred to in the Heyoan meditation as Brahman. Zero also appears to be the ground of Being from which the other numbers flow and have their being. Zero signifies pre-existence or the unmanifest.
Looking at zero has revealed the value of the un-defined space for healing practice. As I enter the healing setting I feel as if I have befriended the place of unknowing. This takes the pressure off me to "perform" and helps to lift the expectations I have that a client needs to be or do a certain thing. Allowing the fullness of this space to just be seems to support both me and my client to be with whatever emerges. In this light it is clear that ALL that emerges in this setting, whether it be a client's reports of mind chatter, or insightful revelations, is sacred. Mind chatter isn't necessarily something that interferes, that we must get rid of; it doesn't mean that I have failed to bring the client deeper. This understanding of the healing setting allows me to see all that takes place is sacred, and to just be with what is there. There is nothing to figure out here; what needs to be done or not done becomes apparent. I recently held a client after a chelation in a space of "not knowing what to do." I didn't know what to do, nothing was emerging, so I stayed with the not-knowing, this undefined space, throughout the remainder of the session. Afterwards the client reported an important shift, which confirmed my sense that I needed to immerse myself in this space. I tend to default more to doing, but no movement came up within me to do anything. If I take this view of the healing space as a microcosm and then look at the macrocosm of my life, I would have to say that everything that comes up in my life is also sacred. Even the acid reflux in my stomach is trying to give voice to the same Divinity which I feel within my meditations.
The First day of creation: One
As explained earlier, in Kabbalistic terms Ain Sof had to withdraw his radiance in order to create a space or void for the universe to come into manifestation. The fact that the void came first is confirmed in the Torah's account of the first day of creation. On the first day of creation the Torah says:
The Torah says that water was present before the light became manifest. The water the Torah is referring to represents the void, the number zero. Sheinkin (93) supports this interpretation: "If you look at the text concerning day one, you can see that water preceded light. This water represents the basic substance from which everything is created."
Next the Torah says, "God said, "There shall be light, and light came into existence." Now we must address the Kabbalah story in a little more detail, for there is a Kabbalistic story of how light was part of the creation of the universe. There are three basic parts to the story of the Sefiroth; the first is that they were formed from the void. From the void Ain Sof created ten states of being in which the divine manifests itself called Sefiroth. A text from the Kabbalah (Matt 94) describes the forming of these vessels.
To fashion pottery, the potter first takes an unformed mass of clay and then puts his hand inside the mass to shape it. So the supernal emanator put its hand into the amorphous mass, that is, a ray of light returned from above. As this light began to enter the mass, vessels were formed.
The ten Sefiroth were to contain the different states of being that were to create the universe, but the light of Ain Sof was too powerful and shattered the Sefiroth. The vessels shattered because there was no relationship between the Sefiroth. The text just cited above describes the formation of the Sefiroth. David Sheinkin (87) explains:
There is a very intriguing Kabbalistic concept involving the "breaking of the vessels", fundamental to the entire mystical understanding of the Bible. Indeed, this notion is crucial to the whole of Jewish mysticism. Kabbalists have long taught that when we speak of "what was created first" we must refer to the dot - past Ain Sof, the vacated space. Within the dot there were the ten Sefiroth. These can be conceptualized as vehicles or vessels for the flow of spiritual energy through which the other universes would be created. The last universe is our own, which consists of both physical and spiritual aspect. Kabbalists explain that these ten vessels shattered; they were inadequate to perform the task for which they were designated.
If the second part of the story is about the shattering of the Sefiroth, then the third part is that the pieces of the shattered Sefiroth were gathered to make five pairs of Sefiroth, for the light of Ain Sof could be contained in a relational way in the pairing. This last piece of the story we take up in the next section, the second day of creation.
The first day of creation is about light coming into existence. Here several questions arise: wouldn't God have known that the vessels were not strong enough to contain the light of God, and is the shattering a necessary part of creation? Sheinkin (90) writes,
God was perfectly aware of the inadequacy of the ten Sefiroth in their original form to carry out their task. Therefore, this shattering must have been built into God's plan for the universe.
The Torah goes on to say "God saw that the light was good, and God divided between the light and the darkness". My understanding is that the shattering of the vessels signifies the separating of the light and darkness, and therefore the first release of light in the world.
Looked at from a Numerological perspective, One is an animating force representing the masculine principle. The energy of One conveys the penetration by the animating force, much as we saw above that "the supernal emanator put its hand into the amorphous mass." LaVigne (9), discusses this masculine principle in relation to the number One:
The one is clearly phallic, drawn as an arrow with a head and tail, a sperm (the shape of which was intuited long before the microscope revealed it.) The one, then is the vital animating force of God, while the zero the fecund egg of potential energy. They are seen as the seed and the ray of light that vivifies it.
During a Heyoan meditation at BBSH in December, 1999, an image of a seed with a ray of sunlight vivifying it came to me. I saw on my mind's screen an oval, which I knew represented the void, and I saw a light within it that I clearly knew to be the One. My experience was one of the unity of the void and the light, but I instantly knew it was also "The Two." I experienced the unified nature of zero and one, which is two, the masculine and feminine energies. It was an experience of the masculine and feminine like I have never experienced before; it was an encounter with a cosmic principle that made my personal images of masculine and feminine seem like mere grains of sand colored by my prejudices. In this image of the light within the egg, there was no separation yet there was a distinct and profound clarity of each, a true "union of opposites." This image also reveals a strong connection to the aura, hara and core star, with the aura representing the void, and the hara and the core star the light within the void. I have been seeing this connection during healings as the image of the cell.
A Numerologist, Lynn Buess (5), provides yet another description of the shift from the void to the one:
The desire for movement within the existence of the unmanifiest eventually topples the homeostasis, and we have the beginning of creation or manifestation. At this point the symbolism of numerology begins to share its depth of meaning, serving as a guidepost to cosmic events. The primal number, One, is inclusive of the all and all. It undergoes no change, yet it is not changeless. It simply IS.
Shattering is a call to union, and reunion, and for me, it is the most difficult concept to grasp and put into words. I experience my shattering as I struggle to write this paper; I feel it as a falling apart, a breaking into many pieces. I experience my client's shattering in their pain, diseases, fears, and losses. I always feel there is something very deep here that I am "not getting," something about God. I think the shattering of the vessels is a sharing of God's light with us, God's entry into the universe. I wonder how this is related to our shatterings? My shattering is an invitation for more of me to come forward. Without this invitation would I do anything? Perhaps not. I seem to be able to trust my client's movement toward wholeness more than I trust this process within myself.
Can we cling to safety by hanging on to one side of an opposite without experiencing shattering which propels us back into experiencing the opposites? For new life to come forth there has to be a shattering. There is a toppling from one state or place to another that takes place in a shattering. It is the first movement in the creative process that brings about something new. Setting the safe container as described in the void provides a safe container for long held defenses and images to shatter. There is a breaking apart that has to take place from the old to the new. Seeing the value in this movement creates respect for the process and a safe space for clients. It is the beginning of defining who we are. It cracks open all that we are in a movement toward greater wholeness. When the client walks through the door there is a shattering. The healer's consciousness of shattering and renewal gives the client the safety needed to fall apart.
The second day of Creation: Two
In the Torah's account of the first day of creation, we have looked at the void, which is represented by zero and holds all potential life. We have seen the reference to water, which also represents the void. We have looked at the first thing created out of this void; on the first day of creation came the light, and the shattering of the Sefiroth. Now we turn to the Torah's account of the second day of creation:
I believe the story of the Sefiroth in the Kabbalah sheds light on the second day of creation. We have talked about the three parts of the story of the Sefiroth, the energies used to create the universe. The first part is the forming of the ten Sefiroth from the void. The second part is the shattering of the Sefiroth when the light entered, and the third is the reconstruction of the shattered fragments into the five pairs of Sefiroth. I understand this reordering into pairs as what happens on the second day of creation.
The Hebrew word for "sky" in the Torah is rakiah, which is more precisely translated as "barrier." According to Sheinkin (92), "The word "sky" in Hebrew is rakiah. A rakiah is a barrier or an interface; either meaning is acceptable." The word barrier is defined in the dictionary as a boundary or limit, and interface is defined as "the place at which independent and often unrelated systems meet and act on or communicate with each other." They interact or coordinate harmoniously. It looks as if the "sky" performs two functions: to separate and to join. Here we have again the separating out and the coming together.
The second day of creation starts with "There shall be a sky in the middle of the water, and it shall be divided between water and water." This means the sky or barrier will be in the middle of the water; sky is separating the water. The text goes on to say, ".and it (sky) shall be divided between water and water." Next the Torah says, "God (thus) made the sky, and it separated the water below the sky from the water above the sky. It remained that way." This shifts the image of the vessels to above and below. This is important because it sets the stage for the third day of creation.
Turning to a numerological approach, Lynn Buess (5) describes two as the first movement:
With first movement comes sentience and the primal duality, the number TWO. TWO brings creation or manifestation, and this primal duality is the understructure to all later dualisms we experience in life - such as day/night, man/woman, good/evil, for example.
When I think of Divine energy, it is always in terms of flow, the wave, expansion and contraction. Also, I can't help but think of what Jesus' words "Where two or more are gathered together there will I be." He says, in so many words, I will be in the space between the two; in relationship you will find Me. Over the years I have passed through phases of different understanding of what I was doing as a Numerologist, and one phase brought me to realize that we were here on earth because this is where we experience relationship: the magnificence of relationship to others, to the sunset, to a snow flake...
As a Numerologist I usually refer to the number two as the germination process. The seed itself is the zero, holding within it the potential of all life. As LaVigne (1999) has written: "The one, then is the vital animating force of God, while the zero the fecund egg of potential energy." The shattering of the original form of the seed begins the separating out, the two. If you lift up the soil as a seed germinates, what you would find is a seed that has split its shell. Coming from it is a shoot going down into the earth and a shoot reaching upward. The separation that is taking place is necessary in order for the potential of this particular seed, be it flower, vegetable, or tree, to be realized. The separation is the beginning of the process of defining what the seed is, i.e. that which distinguishes the seed from its surroundings. As human beings this process is in constant interplay. I believe every cell in our body goes through this process.
In writing this paper I experienced this very thing. My husband is a technical editor and helped me get the paper into final shape. Once, as we talked about the paper, I could feel an energy shooting across my chest, a horizontal shattering across my fourth chakra which was physically uncomfortable. I identified it as the shattering energy I am writing about and realized it was a physical clue to help me separate out: me from him. We are very different people; his logic is not my logic. I realized my work was to hold my difference and his without diminishing either. Holding the difference allowed for integration to occur, and helped me to understand a lifetime of experiences of shattering. My husband is very bright, as was my father. I am very bright but in a rather different way. My whole thought process works differently than theirs. As a child I experienced this shattering at home, in school situations, and with playmates. I took that shattering and saw the differences in me as bad rather than good. These physical sensations were too much to feel and because I was so young I was not able to define properly the difference between me and the other. I just meshed, defended and began my co-dependent relationships.
Our awakening skills give us tools to work with this process of separating out this from that, me from you. In the interchange with my husband, the experiencer within me was noting the shattering across my chest, the asker was wondering what information was held in this physical and energetic experience, and the witness was taking it all in. My conscious awareness of my particular wounding was defining the shattering for me. Being consciousness of how I defend, (putting on "everything is fine" love mask, or going into attack mode with the lower self) all helped me stay in contact with my husband and helped me be more present to the sorting out of what was mine and what was his. I lost very little contact with my husband during this encounter.
Lynn Buess (8) describes the male/female pair of Will and Wisdom and their interactions in a way which is very reminiscent of this experience of relationship and the potential in reflective relationship for the emergence of new life, and Love:
The Will factor emerges from the center of Being; as an expression of Divine Will, or desire, it reaches out to initiate elaboration of consciousness. The receptive or Wisdom quality seeks to absorb the benefit of experience in the manifest existence. The condition of reciprocation and oscillation between the facets of Divinity allows for a point of reflection or awareness to emerge. The two energies reunite and resonate in harmony, through the third quality of Love, having the added perspective of insight received through experience. In a sense, even the Creator is constantly adding to and improving upon the Creation.
D. M Dooling (2) sums this up quite beautifully: "Without difference there is no relationship. Unity begets diversity."
The function of the two is to separate out. The two asks the question"Who am I?" I am understanding this question at a deeper level. Without defining difference, there is little chance for a full relationship. In my meditation experience described earlier, in which I saw the image of the light within the oval, I had the experience of clarity of the feminine and the masculine. I understood that if unity begets diversity, then diversity embodies unity. I experienced the unity of the zero and the one, which was two.
In a sense, the shattering presents an invitation to experience pairs of fundamental opposites as unified wholes. Our defenses arise out of a search for safety, and are based on the belief that one side of a pair of opposites is safer than the other. Light is safer than dark; love is safer than hate. Or, in some cases, dark is safer than light and hate is safer than love. This does not bring about a sense of safety. When we habitually cling to one side we begin an energetic imbalance restricting the flow of energy which eventually creates an imbalance. This can emerge as illness or pain, of an emotional, physical or spiritual sort.
While writing this paper I had an experience of this dynamic of the opposites. A friend read my second draft, and her comment was, "I don't get it." When she made this comment I began to cut off the flow within me. My acid reflux condition became very painful. I attempted to restructure my third chakra, but that gave only temporary relief. One night I awoke and was so uncomfortable I couldn't even put my hand near my third chakra. I held myself in that place. An image came to me of a snake precisely and coldly killing its prey. I knew instantly what this image held for me. My acid reflux was about me, like the snake, precisely and coldly cutting off my flow. The next day I spoke to my healer and she suggested that while it was true that I had cut off my flow in the face of my friend's judgment, there was also another truth present: I am flow. I tried to hold both sides of this paradox, restriction-of-flow, and flow. First I held the image of the snake cutting off my flow; then I held an image of the snake as the ancient symbol of the flow of the kundalini. I could feel an energetic shift and an almost immediate lessening of discomfort in my abdomen. A new third thing had emerged, the realization that these two images are one and the same, and reveal not two different snakes but one snake with two opposite aspects.
I now have more compassion for my clients and for myself regarding this illusion that one side is safer than the other. Once, in a session with a client, I became aware that he had come to me because of physical issues that presented energetically as a lack of flow associated with a shattering in his life. As a healer I held this client and allowed the flow to well up and pass through me to the client. There was no rigid division between the healer's flow, and the client's restricted flow. Both together represented the tension of the opposites, and brought about the mysterious third thing, the creation of something new. When the two, flow and restriction, meet each other the judgements and narrow perspectives of each dropped away. What I saw in my client was not a restriction to be fixed, but his Divinity and his Wholeness. Then I become more aware of how my defenses are just like my client's. Dooling (3) writes about the universality of this dynamic:
One brings forth its own two sides; male-female, plus-minus, for and against, the eternal contradiction which continues indefinitely in opposition until one side "wins" in which case nothing new happens; or until something else enters; a third thing.
I realize that holding this tension is a surrender to the paradox which opens the door of the creation process.
The mysterious third thing
The Third Day of Creation: Three
Let's look back before we look at the third day of creation. Before the world came into manifestation there was the Void. According to the Kabbalah, out of the void Ain Sof formed ten vessels or Sefiroth to contain the energies to create the universe. Next God said "Let there be light." And the light entered the vessels. We now have the Void and the Light. Next the Torah says "God saw that the light was good, and God divided between the light and the darkness." I interpret this dividing as the shattering of the vessels or Sefiroth mentioned in the Kabbalah. Then, on the second day of creation God said, "There shall be a sky in the middle of the water, and it shall divide between water and water." This describes a dividing out in which the vessels were re-formed from the shards of the shattered Sefiroth into five pairs of Sefiroth or vessels. The sky is what separates the pairs of Sefiroths. As mentioned earlier, on the second day of creation the sky represents both that which separates and that which joins. Then the Torah says "God made the sky, and it separated the water below and the sky from the water above the sky. It remained that way." The separating is defined as water above and water below the sky. This distinction of the water above and below becomes very important on the third day of creation. Next, on the second day of creation, God named the sky "Heaven." God called the space between the vessels Heaven. As discussed earlier, this space is defined as the space that separates and joins, and God called it Heaven.
The Torah says, on the third day of creation:
In keeping with the Kabbalistic images thus far, water is represented by the five pairs of vessels or Sefiroth formed from the void, and what divides the pairs is Heaven, "that which separates and joins." This means that half of the pairs of Sefiroth became earth, comprised of land and sea. The question now is: if the Sefiroth below Heaven created the earth, then what about the water above Heaven? Sheinken (103) answers this question:
God said the water under the Heavens shall be gathered to one place, and dry land shall be seen." Notice that He is referring to the waters under the Heavens now, the Heaven being the barrier between the physical and the spiritual.
What he is saying is the water above Heaven is spiritual and the water below Heaven is physical. Let's stay with the vessels or Sefiroth that were to create the earth; the important piece to be noted is that the formation of matter begins here (Sheinken 103):
Where do we find life beginning? On the third day. In essence, then the work of the second day was not completed on the second day - until there was "land" or solid matter.
Next the Torah says "The earth shall send forth vegetation. Seedbearing plant and fruit trees that produce their own kinds of fruit with seeds shall be on the earth." The Kabbalists see a minor distinction in the text and take it quite seriously. They look at the two statements about the fruit trees, first mentioned as "fruit trees" and in the next sentence as "trees producing fruit." They take a good look at the difference. Sheinkin (104) comments:
What kind of tree does God mention? The Bible states, "seedbearing plants and fruit trees". Thus, we are hearing about fruit trees. But do we see in the next sentence "fruit trees"? No, we see "trees producing fruit". What is the difference between a fruit tree and a tree which produces fruit? The fruit tree is a tree which is literally fruit. The traditional notion is that people could literally eat the tree; the tree itself was the fruit. Thus, God said, "Let there be fruit trees" meaning the trees would themselves be fruit, but what resulted was something different - trees producing fruit. In other words, a violation of God's plan occurred on the third day of Creation. The spiritual forces that controlled the earth brought forth something divergent from the deity's wishes. Somehow, life on this day of creation exercised its own freedom of choice and changed God's plan.
This is in complete accord with the numerological experience I have of the number three. The third thing that comes from the two is made up of the two but also, mysteriously, is a new thing. This third thing cannot be predicted (as the story above states), not even by God. We may say this child will be born from these parents, but the essence of who the child will be is unique and yet "derived," in some sense, of both its parents. "The whole is more than the sum of its parts." Sheinken is cited above saying "life on this day of creation exercised its own freedom of choice." To me, the mysterious new unique third thing is contingent on will being a part of the third day of creation. In my view, will is movement toward perceived good.
The Kabbalists are saying that on the third day of creation when life was introduced, somehow life wielded its own will upon Creation. And God says "It was good." As a Numerologist I know the number three has a mysterious will such that the third thing is unique, more so than merely a derivative of its forbears. In the story of creation the will aspect was not obvious, but was revealed in a minor distinction. In a sense it was hidden, which is typical of the three; it can never be simply predicted from the two. Juno Jordan (33), a numerologist, refers to the number three as having a quality of ".bringing into being that which has never been before."
Three things transpire here: earth is formed out of the vessels below Heaven, creation exerts its will and the earth sets forth vegetation. The plants bear their own kinds of seeds. These seeds continue the process of creation and hold within themselves the mysterious new things that emerge. The third day is the Triad, the triangle. Buess (8), has this to say about the triangle:
The triangle represents the threefold nature of this one creator. The Father or male polarity (yang) is expressed through the dynamics of Divine Will. The Mother or female polarity (yin) is the factor seeking wisdom. And finally, the third is the Son-Daughter which is the balancing (tao) and cooperation of the two dualistic energies in the harmony and unity of Love. The two energies reunite and resonate in harmony, through the third quality of Love, having the added perspective of insight received through experience.
An added perspective of insight is received through this triad. Richard Lewis (60) tells a story of watching children trying to catch fireflies and of their the aliveness. He clarifies further Buess' observation of the added perspective of insight that is received via the energy of the Triad:
I was touched by the way the children were so totally absorbed. For the briefest time they seemed to be an example of something being learned in which no part was absent. Everything - the senses, the mind, and the feelings were in some balanced state of concentration; and to separate these elements would have been to take from these children a perfectly natural way to discover what they had not known before.
That is a perfect example of the triad, where nothing is absent. He saw mind, feelings and senses all working together. Lewis says this is "a perfectly natural way to discover what they had not known before." That is the function of the triad: it brings you to what has not been known before. He goes on to say (62):
The unity of this triad is the essential ground for this kind of learning - a learning which seems to be most evident when children play. A sense of inner and outer, of thought and feeling, of body and self, in some extraordinary fashion are working together through children; so that, just as a seed begins to assume the form of a tree, they begin to assume the form of their human aliveness.
It is the triad that is the structure of the new, of cell reproduction, learning, and healing. All the pieces of the triad are always present in the evolution of each second of passing time. For, as described above, the triad is the three-fold nature of the one Creator.
So what are these authors saying about the triad? Scheinkin says, "Life begins here." Buess says, "Added insight" is the result of the triad. Lewis says, "[children] assume the form of their human aliveness." The three key words are Life, Insight, Aliveness. Jordan sums up these three words by saying the triad is ".bringing into being that which has never been before."
So now let's go back and look at what the Torah says about this third day. The water below Heaven brought forth the land, the sea, the vegetation and trees, and it was called earth. Here physical life began. I haven't found much written discussion of the waters or vessels above Heaven except Sheinken's statement referring to the vessels above as spiritual and those below as physical.
This research into the third day of creation has given me a new, more deeply integrated understanding of the void (zero), the shattering (one) and relationship (two), and brings me into a more conscious participation with creation. This understanding has given me a sense of freedom within myself, and with my clients. I am experiencing myself in a new way. If you could imagine a personal baseline, above it would be the expansion of elation, and below it, the contraction of wounding. I notice that when I receive a compliment I do not swing so high with elation. When I feel my wounding I don't dip so deeply into the wound. My emotions seem to stay closer to the baseline. I believe this allows me to be more present to others.
As I began to conclude this paper I was given a gift of confirmation. After the third week of my senior year I returned to my job at a catered retirement community. One of my favorite residents called me over to tell me she had experienced God. She had had a near-death experience. Her next words were, "It is all about creation." I returned to see her later that day with a tape recorder to listen to and record her experience. She said, "What an absolutely perfect beautiful home we have here." I asked, "Even with all the terrible things that happen?" She replied, "They are all part and parcel of the fabric. You can't separate it. It was given to us whole, good, bad, indifferent, and our job is to maintain it and to keep this beautiful creative process going." We are here to serve each other in this grand scheme of things. Creation is the whole thing and that is all we serve. I can't see any other reason to exist except we continue to create, and create and create. She went on to say, "I wish that everybody could know that kind of peace that I found! I don't want to be obsessive about it and I'm not chasing it away. But I don't want to cling to it as if it were some kind of a safety net." This statement is exactly what my paper is all about, an experience of wholeness that doesn't need to cling to one side to feel safe.
There is a trust within me that is new. In the healing setting I know this creation process takes place in ways I can see and experience and also in thousands of ways moment by moment that I cannot see. I can't possibly be aware of all that takes place, but I know now that it does. I get a sense of comfort from this that is new to me.
Further work/research: The remaining numbers
I want to look at the remaining days of creation, 4, 5, 6 & 7. I also want to investigate how the numbers eight and nine fit into this emerging picture. Looking at the remaining days of creation will shed new light on the first three. The reader might have noticed that light is mentioned five times on the first day of creation and sky is mentioned five times on the second day of creation. (Perhaps the reader may not have noticed. We are so bombarded by numbers in this society that we don't even see them anymore.) I am sure if I continue my discovery of the days of creation, I will uncover a significance for light and sky being named five times each in the Torah account of the first two days of creation. My longing for as far back as I can remember has been to teach the forgotten language of numbers. It is most definitely a language that has much to offer.
A foundation to support clients within the creation process
What has emerged from this paper is a foundation for me to rest upon. Something in my bones let go. I have always lived my life as if I was in an airplane, not as the pilot but still believing I was responsible for keeping the plane in the air. This shift in myself can't help but be felt by my clients. This is the foundation upon which my healing practice will rest. During healing sessions I am much more aware of the flow of energy as it emerges moment to moment, and I now interfere much less with this flow. I am more aware of the changing terrain of the session. This allows me as a healer to support my clients in the creation process. I am clearer about "Who I Am." as it emerges moment to moment in the pulse of the creation process. According to the Kabbalah story, the light of God was only able to exist on the physical plane in a relational way. When we cut our self off from either light or dark, consciously or unconsciously, one side "wins" and nothing new happens; the third thing cannot enter. If you hold the paradox of the paired opposites the third thing can appear, perhaps as a newfound wholeness, or, as my retired friend discovered, as the Totality of God. My work as a healer and as a human being is to be conscious of this dynamic as I participate in the creation process. I see this as the foundation upon which my BBSH skills rest.
A connecting link between God and the created
The numbers zero, one, two and three make up the inherent structure of emerging creation. Their flow brings something new into manifestation; this happens within our bodies, within every cell, within every moment, everywhere. The images in the Kabbalah story of the "breaking of the vessels." are a means for understanding this structure. The Torah's account of creation is separated into days to give a numbered container for specific events. I doubt if the first day of creation was a twenty four hour day. I have woven myself through these images trying to get a glimpse of a deeper understanding of the sequencing of events. What I have seen is the rhythm of the Divine.
In order for the manifest world to come into existence, this rhythm continues the unfolding. The Triad has been called the Divine Triangle. I have taken a step back from my everyday view of life to investigate the structure of this Triangle's formation. What I then see, stepping back, is that the life structure within all manifest form is Divine. I also get this feeling that even though the world before me seems to have some major problems, perhaps it all might be perfect just as it is. An awareness of the processes of separation and joining, and flow and restriction, of the paradoxes that perpetuate creation widens our view of this universe helping us to embody the conclusion my friend Virginia had when she called the creation process the "Sweet mystery of Love."
The role of the healer is to attend to the creative process. The healer creates by attending to the healing space with an understanding of the Void, that which supports all of life. The healer's conscious awareness of providing this ground of being for the client allows what needs to be done or not done to become apparent. Holding a client in this space creates a sanctuary in which the shattering of old images and defenses can occur. The work of the healer's consciousness is to attend to the shattering within herself and within her client, all held in the arena of the Void. The healer remains conscious of the value of the Void. She sees all that is present as valuable, whether it is labeled "resistance," or "revelation." When the healer thus values everything, she allows the client's long held images and defenses to emerge.
The healer holds these images and defenses as valued, and mirrors what the client will learn to do for herself. The healer does this without making the kinds of judgments the client has attached to them, such as "I must get rid of these." These images and defenses were first put in place to create a sense of safety, but now they bring about much of the pain in the client's life. As the client's images and defenses emerge she begins to form a conscious relationship with them. A shattering begins as the client realizes all of what these old ways of being have meant to her. In this process the client may come to say, "These imperfections are my key to wholeness." This is a process of separation and relationship, and it is the beginning of defining the self, or "Who I am." The healer creates a space in which these images and defenses can shatter. The shattering is the gift of the healing. It is in this relationship with our images and defenses that we begin to find wholeness.
The intent of the re-creation is relationship. The shattering invites relationship. The healer's awareness of this flow between separation and relation attends to the creative process. It allows the longing for wholeness over safety to emerge, bringing about the unfolding of the third thing, the unfolding of Creation. My healer once said, "Everything a person has, does and is, is a solution to the question: How can I have greater Wholeness?" The healer is a conscious attendant to all that the client is on her journey towards wholeness.
Brennan, Barbara. Heyoan's Lecture to the Junior Class. rec. 23 Oct.1998.
Buess, Lynn. Numerology for the New Age. Marina del Rey: DeVorss, 1978.
Dooling, D.M. "Focus." Parabola 14.4 (1989): 2-4.
LaVigne, Eric. "Creation by Numbers." Parabola 24.3 (1999): 6-12.
Lewis, Richard. "The Pulse of Learning." Parabola 14.4 (1989): 60-63.
Jordan, Juno. Numerology. Marina del Ray: DeVorss, 1965.
Matt, Daniel C. The Essential Kabbalah. San Francisco: Harper Collins, 1996.
Nicolescu, Basarab. "Wheels within Wheels: Jacob Boehme's Inseparable Cosmos."
Parabola 14.3 (1989): 4-10.
Sheinkin, David. The Path of the Kabbalah. New York: Paragon House, 1988.
Von Franz, Marie-Louise. On Divination and Synchronicity . Toronto: Inner City
Copyright 1999, 2000, 2001 Kathy Bernstein All Rights Reserved.