After Endlessness (EIN SOF) withdrew itself (Zimzum) from one place and the void appeared, the EIN SOF OR, the Eternal Light, surrounded the void.
With the appearance of the Light, the universe expanded, then the Eternal Light contracted and entered the void and poured its radiance into the center of the void. The center could not contain the Light and it shattered, and the light separated into tiny sparks or particles of light, which radiated outward in undulating waves of vibration. The light became concealed within these undulating waves which then unfolded into different forms and different worlds.
This concealed light is the light of the whole spectrum of vibratory substance from cosmic rays to visible light to audible sound to the vibrating molecules of matter. Theoretical Physicist David Bohm considered light to be the entire electromagnetic spectrum and beyond it as well. He saw light as more than just energy, but as the potential and foundation of literally everything that exists, enfolding the whole material universe. (1)
Hidden in all these vibratory forms are the sparks of the Eternal Light continuously emerging out of and dissolving back into the great cosmic void, like the sea of photons that continuously arise out of and dissolve back into the quantum void at the heart of every atom within every form and substance of the universe. The ancient texts of sacred wisdom and the electron microscopes of science seem to be revealing the same underlying truth, that at the heart of everything is a great void and out of this great void comes light and out of this light comes all that exists and all that exists is just vibrating waves of being. (3)
With the appearance of the light, the universe expanded.
With the concealment of the light,
the things that exist were created in all their variety.
This is the secret of the act of creation.
One who understands this will understand everything. (5)
The light is said to be hidden in Torah, in the human soul,
and in sparks of light that fill and animate the entire world. (6)
This Inner Light is born within us at birth
and it is the stuff that we are made of,
and so it is said we are "Children of Light."
There is also an Encircling Light that we create
as we perform acts of loving-kindness. (7)
Since the eternal light is the closest visible form to the Divine Endlessness, there was always a light burning in the Holy Temple of the Children of Israel, and to this day every Judaic House of Worship has a continuously burning "Eternal Light" (Ner Tamid) in its sanctuary. This eternal light burning in the sanctuary is there to remind us of the EIN SOF OR, the Eternal Light within every aspect of creation, arising out of the Divine void in waves and waves of vibrations continuously unfolding and enfolding into and out of existence.
My earliest childhood memory is of a haunting mystical experience of this vibrating reality that I had when I was in first grade. One morning, as I was getting ready to go to school, I experienced a deep sense of panic at the thought of returning to the ridicule and laughter I was receiving from my fellow classmates because of my stutter. Walking down the block with the other kids, the dread became unbearable. I turned the corner and slipped behind some tall bushes. As I watched the other kids going to school, I started to calm down. After a while, the street was empty. I slowly got up, turned down our back alley, and walked back to my house. I snuck into the garage, took my bicycle, and rode off feeling the urgency of escape. After riding through the neighborhood for a while, I turned down an alley and suddenly stopped.
Autumn leaves swirled around the cracked pavement of the alley, being blown in spiraling waves by the strong Chicago winds. White billowing clouds swiftly rolled across the bright blue sky above, and the electric power lines gently hummed around me. In an instant all my pains and fears vanished, and I was filled with a sense of awe and wonder. Somehow I felt the power and beauty of nature washing over me and cleansing me. I sensed a presence of something vast and deep and unknown around me and within me. A feeling of safety and peace filled me, and I stood there for what seemed like hours. Now, after all these years I finally understand that I was bathing in the light of creation in all its vibrating forms, and this bathing awakened the light within me, producing a "lightness" of being.
This brief glimpse of the great vibrating waves of existence has lived in my memory every since, lighting my way toward my return to a state of remembering the light that is me, that is everything, that is eternal.
Let's close our eyes
and see the light shining within
to the sounds of light streaming around us
Let's sing out
vibrations of light and love
the surface of things
and sense the vibrating reality beneath
Oh great mystery of light
light in the sky
light in my eyes
light in my cells
lightness in my being
Oh great mystery of light
(1) David Bohm (In Friedman, 1990, p. 292).
(2) Image of the wave patterns produced as an electron passes through the mass of a crystal, revealing its underlying wave reality. Note the striking similarity between this image and the Kabbalistic Creation Mandala in the previous entry (Endlessness).
(3) The relationship between modern physics and spirituality is part of an emerging debate between science and spirit. There are many different views and belief's within this debate, and the concepts I am presenting here represent one of many perspectives within this ongoing dialogue between these two spheres of knowledge. My reference to "the electron microscopes of science" is meant as a metaphor, since there are many different instruments and methods used by scientists to observe and explore the quantum universe.
(4) Image of the sun's ultraviolet level of light.
(5) Shim'on Lavi (In Matt, 1995, p. 91).
(6) Rabbi Arthur Green (1992, p.154).
(7) Adapted from Dr. Philip S. Berg (1981, p.24).
(8) Kabbalistic image representing the Encircling Light.
(9) Image of the sun's x-ray level of light.
Dr. Philip S. Berg. Kabbalah for the Layman. Jerusalem, Israel: Research Centre of Kabbalah, 1981.
Norman Friedman. Bridging Science and Spirit. St. Louis, MO: Living Lake Books, 1990.
Rabbi Arthur Green. Seek My Face, Speak My Name. Northvale, NJ: Jason Aronson, 1992.
Daniel C. Matt. The Essential Kabbalah: The Heart of Jewish Mysticism. New York: Harper-Collins Publishers, 1995.
*Title Image: Ner Tamid, the Eternal Light
*Originally published on KabbalahBlog hosted by Enlightenment.com