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malkuth: radical amazement [Jan. 20th, 2005|01:55 pm]
Gates of Light
Plato writes, “The right way of Eros, whether one goes alone or is led by another, is to begin with the beautiful things that are here and ascend ever upwards aiming at the beauty that is above, climbing, as it were, on a ladder from one beautiful body to two, and from two to all the others, and from beautiful bodies to beautiful actions and from beauty of actions to beautiful forms of knowledge, till at length from these one reaches that knowledge which is the knowledge of nothing other than Beauty itself.”

This for me represents my ascent towards Heaven, beginning here in Malkuth with the most beautiful things and striving towards the ultimate Beauty of the ineffable God.

A J Heschel defines man’s relationship to God as one of radical amazement. Not merely awe, but a complete transparency of self that allows the utter mystery of God to move through us and utterly astound us. We can’t stand in radical amazement of God as it is, because we can’t understand it, and cannot relate to it on any real or substantial level. And so to begin the journey towards knowledge and beauty we begin here, in this body, on the earth, amongst these beautiful things.

“The stars sing; the mountains tremble in His presence. To think of God man must hear the world” writes Heschel, and I can’t helped but relate this to my own understanding of Malkuth. It is the gateway, it is the portal. But before we step through, before we shed the skin of the earthly body and direct our attention toward something more sublime and that white light, we have to understand this world, the things here which amaze us. Standing in relation to a mountain, we are as nothing. Standing in relation to stars, we are as nothing. How then, in relation to the ineffable? And thinking on that brings me pure wonder and awe of God, and if I open my eyes to the things in relation to which I am great—a blade of grass, an ant, an atom—and I see the complexity and perfection of god in all it’s sizes and forms here around me. And only once I succumb to that amazement and let that beauty carry me can I walk through the gateway.