Merkava - 1st class
The Merkava Map
The merkava can only be appreciated if one understands a bit of background information. As we mentioned in the merkava home page, the merkava is a chart or a map. It's a map or a sefirotic representation of the human soul. The Kabbalah illustrates the human soul with Divine names on this map. Specifically, the 4 letter "Shaim Hameforash," or Tetragrammaton, is used with various vowel points to distinguish between one sefira and another. For example, the 4 letter name with the vowel "kametz", pictured like the letter 'T', under each letter represents the "Keter." The "patach" (-) is the sefira "chachma" and so forth. On a purely meditational level, one stares at the ten sefira Tetragrammatons while thinking of the Divine power that is inside of the sefirot names on the chart that are aligned with one's soul. There are a few additional elements on the chart, such as the Divine names that align with one's Divine soul's seeing, hearing, and speaking realms.
The Kabbalistic Merkava Meditation
This chart may be enough for a seasoned Kabbalist who is thoroughly schooled in the deep meaning of the sefirot's various holy names and the numerous meditations or kavanot which serve to bridge our lower mundane reality with the analogous upper world reality. In other words, to align body, soul, and G-d together. Our goal is to allow even the unschooled spiritual seeker a chance to align. How can we accomplish that?
Using Tools to Enable the Common Person to Realize the Lofty Merkava's Goal
The answer is TOOLS. Tools of transcendence which will enable any of us to live the sefira. The sefirot, when properly internalized, allow one to connect with the essence of oneself and onešs potential and to heal oneself and ultimately connect to Hashem. As we mentioned before, the Arizal promises the one who stays constantly connected to the merkava to be able to see, hear, feel and think in a Divine-fusioned way, and that goes for the rest of the human personality traits. So without further ado, let's begin.
Keter - An Essential Definition
The first and highest sefira is Keter. Keter literally means crown. It is the part of the personality trait that connects oneself with what is beyond oneself and as a result serves as the supreme inspirational and motivational guiding force. Itšs truly the crown (final touch) or highest authority of the personality. It's represented by three traits. The highest is that which connects with what is beyond us through emuna, or faith. The middle and lower traits, primal pleasure and primal desire, channel or draw down the highest aspect of emuna or Divine interface into every other aspect of the personality and inspire or motivate the personality to direct itself to its highest and deepest calling!!
Making Faith Real With Trust and Transcendent Awareness
In order to maximize our faith and our connection to what's beyond us, we need to be very real with what it is that is beyond us. We need to be real with the fact that G-d loves me and I can constantly rely on Him to come through for me when I need Him, which is virtually all of the time. In a little bit we will describe how to internalize this with our first tool, called bitachon, or Divine trust. But, first a bit of a preview of other aspects of being real with G-d that we'll try to deal with. One aspect is simply awareness. He's everywhere at all times. Not only that, but in truth, even beyond His everywhereness there exists a mind blowing principle that G-d is all that exists- not them, not it, not you and not even me. Just G-d. We hope to get into some tools that can make this aspect of G-d connection real also!!
The Five Step Bitachon Tool to Make Divine Trust Real
Now let's begin with our first tool- bitachon. It's actually very simple and very profound, but it is only effective if one does it daily over an extended period, at least five minutes a day! The exercise can be done alone in a meditation or a contemplation with a friend in a dialogue, or in a written form. I'll describe the written form and you will understand how to do it in a non written style:
  1. Draw a spider chart: Make a balloon in the middle of a piece of paper and write the following statement in the middle of the balloon, "These are examples of how Hashem came through for me these last twenty-four hours."
  2. Draw ten lines extending from the balloon in every direction (sort of like a spider web). Take 2-3 minutes to fill in the lines with the first thoughts or remembrance that come into your mind. Don't strain your memory. Just receive the information provided to you by your amazing subconscious mind!
  3. Now draw a second spider chart and in the middle write, "These are the things that I need Hashem to come through for me in the upcoming twenty-four hours." Draw the ten extending lines and take another 2-3 minutes to fill out the chart.
  4. Finally, say to yourself, "Just like Hashem came through for me in the last twenty-four hours or in any other similar circumstances that I can recall, so too did I trust that He'll come through for me in these ten things." When you resonate with trust, put down a checkmark (a BIG one for a lot of trust).
  5. Check out on the third day how Hashem came through for you. Be open minded. Sometimes Hashem's way of coming through for you is expressed according to His own unique fashion or timeframe.
Just remember, the point is to develop trust in Hashem's active, loving participation in your life, often times coming through for you, often times guiding you or teaching you a lesson which is ultimately for your best. This is also certainly Hashem coming through for you, too.
Other Spiritual Benefits From the Bitachon Tool
Pay attention to other spiritual benefits you can gain with your consistent daily exercise:
  1. Hashem's presence in your life; the source of all well-being.
  2. Peace of mind; increasingly free of worry.
  3. An increasing sense of self assuredness and willingness to take chances and grow since I can trust that Hashem will come through for me.
  4. A constantly increasing assuredness that I'm not doing or accomplishing things. It is all Hashem.
So you see, a daily five minute's tool can acquire for you the first aspect of Keter- emunah, and bring with it healing and Divine awareness.
Please stay tuned for the next Keter-emunah lesson entitled "The Puppet Show."