Nakedness as a Cover-Up

A spirit teacher shares His understanding of ageless wisdom.

A simple seeker was enjoying a warm and misty afternoon
beneath gently moving foliage. The trees shaded her from
direct sunlight, or would have, if the bright sun had been
able to reach her North facing patio at this time of day.
Fortunately, for her, her neighbours across the hall would
be dealing with summer heat while she enjoyed the breeze.

That thought distracted her from a message the trees were
sending to her. Their branches and leaves were anticipating
rain and were quivering with delight at the expected

Now, moist air or the hint of moist air turned her attention
to the sky. She saw what the trees may not have. The wind
had picked up and was moving the clouds away, unless more
were going to replace them.

Meanwhile, Tarot as a Way of Life, by Karen Hamaker-Zondag,
seemed to need to be reconciled with itself. This Jungian
approach to tarot suggested that the 22 Major Arcana cards
represented a personal path of individuation.

But, our simple seeker still clung to the concept of psychic
integration and transcendence that the Kabbalah Tree of Life
seemed to explain in a way that appealed to her simplicity.

What card would seem to share your present state of mind?

Wow! I’m not an expert, yet.

Would that change the choice of card?

It might.


For now, Seven, the Chariot, would seem to express my intent
to discover.


What life is about and why.

And, if and when you become an expert …?

It’s not if, but when.

Then, when …?

Seventeen, The Star, although I do wish she didn’t expose
her nakedness. Clothes would express a sense of modesty.

Perhaps she wishes to express transparency.

But, to express it so obviously suggests that her nakedness
could be a cover-up in reverse; a pretense at transparency,
rather than the real thing.


What does that mean?

Could it mean agreement?


What else.

Perhaps, a pretense at agreement.



Kabbalah, Taoism, and Education

A spirit teacher shares His understanding of timeless wisdom
with me. Why? I don’t know, but I’m very grateful that He does.
I’ve always enjoyed studying but I’ve usually chosen my own
time to do it. Now it seems to begin and end with Spirit.

What do Kabbalah and Taoism have in common with today’s
education system?

A transmission of knowledge.

Knowledge of what?

Wow? You expect me to explain that?

Yes, and explain it simply and clearly.



Well, the Kabbalah Tree of Life represents seeking ever higher
levels of integration and transformation of an individual’s
intellectual, emotional, and spiritual development.

A basic understanding. Now, Taoism.

Lao Tzu explained the core structure of all life as Tao,
The One that divides itself into two and then the two
together create the three, and from the three come the
ten thousand things, meaning everything else.

How are these two systems of thought similar, and how

Wow! You didn’t prepare me for this.

I prepared you very well, all things considered. Carry on.

Wow! Taoism encourages simplification of one’s lifestyle,
as if moving from clutter to a sense of oneness with Life.

And Kabbalah?

From my very limited understanding, the symbolic message is
one of awareness of the Absolute that is boundless, and of
our capacity and destiny to seek to develop and express ever higher levels of thought, emotion, wisdom, understanding, and
creativity, as a reflection of the qualities of God.

Acceptable, for now. And, finally, how are children being
educated today.



Another Way to See The Tree

“Existence comes before essence”. Who said that?

Likely an existentialist.

Our simple seeker was aware that her Spirit teacher
did not seem to approve of assigning names as credits.
Ideas come to us; we do not go to them, or create them
from nothing, He kept reminding her. What we do with
them is our choice.

Perhaps His position on this and other matters is
intended as a gentle or otherwise put-down, she thought,
on her tendency toward hero-worship.

You don’t call your parents by their personal names.

That’s different.


Calling them mother and father or, more casually, mom
and dad, is a cultural tradition; perhaps a step toward
learning to respect authority and those who have
earned it, one way or another.

Our simple seeker suspected that Spirit was intentionally
distracting her from her focus on Kabbalah and The Tree
of Life.

The Kabbalah has much in common with your own cultural

In what way?

The Tree of Life represents needed structure in our lives.
We develop from the bottom up. The Tree helps us to focus
on form before essence.


The letter of the law must be accepted and respected
before attempting to understand the spirit of
whatever law.

Even if the particular law seems to make no sense at all?

Even if the particular law seems to make no sense at all?



Laws represent order and even if it is time to change
a law, one must attempt to understand what purpose
it might have served at an earlier time.

Then, it should be accepted without necessarily
approving of it?

Yes. Law as form is structure and a foundation, while
essence has potential to expand and deepen, after
the form is acknowledged, and then, perhaps, adapted
to meet changing circumstances.

Our simple seeker felt blessed to have Spirit share
his insights with her, but she had been developing
some of her own; a deeper awareness of …


Differentiation vs Separation

A simple seeker was meditating on the concept of
separation vs differentiation.

What seems to be the problem?

Seems to be, or is?

Seems to be, in the minds of some.

In the minds of some?


But not in all?

Not in all.

But, if all minds are individual aspects of
the one …

And they are.

Then, …

Go on.

How could they be separate?

They cannot.

How is this possible?

Different meals can be prepared from
the same ingredients. Apples are apples,
whether served in a pie or as a sauce.

Or a drink?


But, different minds have varying degrees
of potential.

Not all apples are the same.

So, differentiation could refer to various
specific types of apples.

Or minds.

How can a mind be a type?

We each possess potentials that some others
may or may not possess.

So, a mind is a mind whatever its capacity
or style of learning?

Style of learning?


Exactly. We each learn in our own way.

But, we each learn.


Then, our individual learning style does not
in itself necessarily separate us from others
who learn at their own pace, in their own way?

Yes. We may be in some respects different
in our habits, but we each develop habits.

So, different individual or even group habits
or social customs do not necessarily separate
these individuals or groups from each other.

Yes. We each and all share more similarities
than differences.

Pain is not Suffering, Unless

A simple seeker is recovering from yet another
fairly minor surgical procedure.

It hurts.


Why do you say, “Yes”, as if my pain was
a blessing?

It is.

A blessing?


How is that possible?

Are your wounds healing?

They seem to be, this time.

How do you know?

The nerves in the area are active.

Do they indicate healing?

I don’t know.

But, they live?


That in itself is a blessing.

Yes, but they hurt.

Are you suffering?

Where are you going with that question?

Where might I be going?

Pain versus suffering?

Yes. We feel pain with physical senses,
while suffering is an emotional response
that can be controlled, if we choose
to control it.

Perhaps my suffering comforts me
in my time of pain.

Is that a healthy situation?



In what sense?

Life enhancing.

Surely rejoicing in pain would suggest
an unhealthy mental attitude.

How so?

I am aware of feeling pain and my awareness
seems to activate self-compassion.

Yes. Go on.

You’re leading me down one of your paths


So, I feel compassion for my suffering
and not for my pain?

Yes, and in the deepening awareness
that it is your suffering that attracts
your compassion, healing gradually
takes place.

My suffering is reduced?

Yes, and more. When your natural
healing energies are released from
their focus on your suffering they are
then able to cope with the source of pain.

Learn to relax and feel the pain
without self-pity?


A Higher Infusion of Energy

Our simple seeker was meditating on the concept of
reverse transcendence.

How did that idea get into your mind?

I don’t know. Perhaps you put it there.

For what purpose?

Perhaps to inform me of the topic of today’s lesson.

How would you explain reverse transcendence?

In traditional yoga practice the mind of the student
and that of her teacher become interconnected.

Where does reverse transcendence fit into such
a situation.

As the student absorbs more and more of her teacher’s
understanding …

Understanding and not wisdom?

Are they not the same?

Yes. Go on.

Then her own wisdom or awareness expands, as she
absorbs some of his.

Does she transcend her own mind?

No. An overlap, as in the process of paradigm shifts,
develops between the student’s mind and that of
her teacher’s.

Duality becomes one?

Not totally.

So, she absorbs his energy without losing her own?

Perhaps our unique energy could never be in danger
of being consumed by another.

It could be weakened or strengthened. Is this
the result of a student attracting and absorbing
her teacher’s energy?

Perhaps neither happens.

Then, what does or might happen?

The student may become increasingly aware of her own
vibrating energy through a more relaxed and trusting
association with his.

Very good. But, where does your concept of reverse
transformation come in?

I’m still vague about it but transcendence suggests
going beyond, and if her Guru’s energy is
strengthening her own then the flow of higher energy
is from without to within – a reverse flow from
the generally accepted view of transcendence
as going beyond, or from within to without.

Does the teacher lose anything in this transfer of

Is there a transfer?


Then the high energy the teacher transmits to his
student would be replaced by an even higher infusion
of energy from His source of enlightenment, as a
pressure gradient system might work.

Is that all?

For now, yes. Did I do well?

For now, yes.

To Inspire Us to Think

Our simple seeker had rediscovered Jack Schwartz
somewhere in her personal collection of books
that crowded together in a distressingly
disorganized way, in a bookcase designed
to hold far fewer books than she seemed unable
to let go of.

How did she come to hold it in her hands, now?
It had obviously been cherished by her at
some time in the past, beyond her current
memory. It was full of underlining and
highlighting – her personal signature
statement of interest, though sneered at
by some who claim closeness to her.

If you care for me then accept my ways?

Yes. But, “Human Energy Systems” was still
with her, even though it had been written
more than thirty years ago.

What has that to do with anything?

Of lasting value?


That would depend ..

On what?

Our understanding develops over time.

Not necessarily.

Sudden insight?


Then, as if designed to impress this truth
in the mind of his simple student, her book
opened to “Seeing is not believing”, and
“All the sensory systems of the body
can be misled in one way or another”, and
“In the intuitive domain, however, certainty
often seems to provide factual knowledge”.

A sudden idea or insight can inspire us
to do research on our own, to seek
more information on our subject of interest.

So, there is no conflict between awareness
and formal knowledge?

There is and must be constant conflict
between our personal understanding
of anything and what has been generally
accepted as knowledge.


There could be no advancement in
our understanding if sudden insights
did not come before dedicated study.

To prove the truth of the new concept?

Or to disprove it.


Not how.

Then, why?

To inspire us to think.

Unique Individuals are not Unique in Their Needs

Our simple seeker was discouraged.
She had done all she could to learn
the lessons of life that her Spirit
Teacher seemed intent on instilling
into her mind.

That’s it. My mind is full and I
don’t want to learn any more.

Any more of what?

Any more of anything. I need time out.

That’s something.

What’s something.

Knowing that you have a specific need
is a beginning.

A beginning of what?


Awareness of what?

Awareness of human needs.

I thought we were discussing
my needs.

Are you human?

So, all humans may need time out?

Time out from what?

From whatever they need time out


And that’s it?

Should there be more?

What am I supposed to learn from
this discussion?

That you are not that unique
in your needs.

Does that mean I’ll get time out?


Learning is a Form of Awareness

Our simple seeker was studying with intent to learn more
about Neo-Confucianism.

How does it differ from reading?

Learning, or seeking to learn, something.


Yes, and expecting to learn. I am learning
and I am aware that I have learned
something of value, to me, if to no other.

In such a short time?

Yes and no.

Isn’t that my line?

If it fits.

Yes. If what we are studying now is built
upon a solid foundation of earlier studies
then we can absorb our new learning
into an expanding and deeper understanding
of earlier studies.

Formal educations is, or should be,
built on these same principles.



One step at a time?

It doesn’t work that way.

How then does it work?

Expanding, integrating, and transcending.
How did the concept of transcending
come into your study of Confucianism?


Would Confucius be impressed?

He might be horrified.

Perhaps not.

Why do you say that? Do you have inside

Yes. The trinity that you imagined
(I had visualized an I Ching trinity,
or triad) involving the Supreme Ultimate
as a force that produced Yin and Yang
may well have developed from your
understanding of the Kabbalah Tree of
Life and its supreme triad of energies.

Isn’t it curious and interesting how
it all comes together?



It can come together if we continue
to open to new ideas without letting
go of what we have learned in the past.

Perhaps, all along the way we need to
be aware that what we are now learning
may itself become a foundation for
future learning.

Would you want to reach an end?

Is there an end?

No. Awareness is knowing there is
no end or boundary to awareness, and
in the end, learning is a form of

Evolutionary Buddhism

Our simple seeker was puzzled with the
seemingly contradictory and mutually
exclusive (from her albeit limited
understanding) terms of evolutionary
Buddhism rolled in together.

What seems to be the problem?

Buddhism and evolution together?

Everything is together.

But, spirituality should be forever.

It is.

But not necessarily as it was
or may yet be?


Then how can anyone …

Which anyone?

This anyone, me. How can I ever understand
something that keeps developing, when it
isn’t what it was and may not be what it is?
I need stability.

There isn’t any.

Then what is there to hold onto?

In what way?

In thinking.

You could try holding onto the concept of
endless change.

That would be easy if I was looking
out of a high window at traffic below.

We are doing just that.