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The Five Levels of the Soul (and the explanation)

Mendelssohn X

June 20, 2012 | 9:56 am

"Religious Pomegranate" by Alisa Poplavskaya

According to Jewish mystical belief and Kabbalistic sages there exists Five Levels of the Soul. These five souls are in between the poles of Yesh, which is the world that we know, in which we exist as individuals being separate from the whole, and on the other end the world of Ayn, which is the cosmic soul of everything, or in more biblical words, it is what we mean when we say G-d is everywhere.

The individual being is like a sunbeam. It is unique and it exist as a „self“, but it is much more itself when it is in its source, which is the common sun, where the individuality of the sunbeam dissolves in a higher „self“. The five levels in between this „I am a sunbeam“-process are Nefesh, Ruach, Neshamah, Chayyah and Yechidah. Nefesh can be seen as the life force, which keeps the heart beating and the lungs breathing. Ruach is the instinct that causes you to look for shelter when caught by a rainstorm. Neshamah is the closest to our Ego. It is saying „I, me, mine“ and is a conscious and separate self. Chayyah is the beginning of cosmic consciousness. Chayyah understands that everything is connected, yet it also feels itself as a separate entity, though in unity with the whole.

If Chayyah had Facebook it would post stuff like „Be the change that you want to see in the world“ Gandhi. Before we come to the highest level, Yechidah, it is important to understand that most of the complexity between Yesh and Ayn happens between the soul levels Neshamah (ego) and Chayyah (cosmic consciousness). Now Yechidah moves from cosmic consciousness to unity consciousness, meaning it´s the Meta-LSD, when there is no separate self anymore at all, but only pure understanding without someone who would be actually there to understand. Abraham Abulafia said in the 13th century in Sepharad: Ani Hu!. I am He. And G-d himself had told Moses during the episode with the burning bush, he should tell the children of Israel that „I will be who I will be“ has spoken. Maybe that was the stuff that Jesus was on? Who knows, it used to be a rule that someone should not study Kabbalah until he is 40 years of age, because he might go nuts. What do you think, a great description of our reality or „One Jew over the Cuckoo´s Nest“?

You can see more pictures of Alisa on www.jewrnalism.org

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

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Jews visiting Central & Eastern Europe frequently come with stereotypes and prejudices about the region.  In particular, group heritage and education tours for young Jews...

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