Before the British commandeered Australia for use as an open prison and began sending its undesirables – from petty thieves to Irish political activists – the Sapphire Coast was home to the Yuin people (a collective name that designates several distinct tribes); people who’d lived in harmony with land and sea for over 30,000 years, taking little from it and certainly never destroying it. The first European sighting of the coast’s original inhabitants was recorded in the journal of Captain James Cook – to the British, a celebrated explorer and note-taking coastal cartographer of land the Empire would seize by fair means or foul (mostly foul); and to the first people of Australia, the breath of a leviathan so mighty, it would descend upon their land and destroy their way of life in what was a complete and often brutal takeover.
In less than 200 years from Cook’s 1788 sighting, the Yuin population of this area was reduced by 95%, through a combination of killing, disease and displacement. It is an incalculable travesty, one that can never be redressed.
I recently spent time on the Sapphire Coast – in a beautiful and mystical place called, Kalaru. While I was there, I could feel the land, sea and stars yearn for their gentle inhabitants and the symbiotic relationship that existed between them. I made this collage to express that feeling.
North of Kalaru, in the Mimosa National Park, is a place called Aragunnu. There you can find one of the Sapphire Coast’s largest middens. A midden, or occupation site, acted as a repository for shells and bone fragments. A place where a given tribe would leave the remnants of what they had eaten, so the next people to visit would know what kind of food was available in the area, thereby ensuring a greater chance of survival. The midden at Aragunnu is 30 metres long and as much 7 meters deep. It is considered sacred to the Yuin People.
Sadly, I did not visit Aragunnu; rather, I stayed at our holiday house making the Kalaru collage (the 1st in this series). However, my friend went there and took lots of photos and told me all about the midden, which she knew I’d love. Despite not seeing it myself, I wanted to make a collage of it to honour my friend’s thoughtfulness, and as a reminder that creating can sometimes be at the cost of experience.
Further down the Sapphire Coast, nestled in Twofold Bay (one of the deepest natural harbours in the world), is a town called Eden. The area has a fascinating whaling history that stretches back millennia. Every year, Baleen whales migrate to and from their breeding grounds, their path cutting directly in front of the bay. At one time, lying in wait were predatory Orcas (from the Latin Orcus, meaning: demons from the underworld) – also known as Killer Whales (despite the fact they are actually dolphins).
Although such behaviour is typical of Orcas the world over, those of the Twofold Bay area were unique, in that they developed a symbiotic relationship with the Katungal (coastal people of the Thaua tribe) who originally lived there. The Orcas would drive Baleen whales into shore, then alert the tribesmen, who would spear and kill the Baleen, leaving the Orcas to feast upon their lips and tongues (a favourite delicacy), taking what was left for themselves once the Orcas had finished. It was a sacred relationship which continued for successive generations; indeed, the Katungal considered the Orcas (whom they called Beowas) to be ancestors that had returned to provide for the tribe.
When the British arrived and took over the area, setting up whaling stations in and around Twofold Bay, one station-owning family made use of the Katungal relationship with the Beowas, eventually destroying in less than 100 years what it had taken the Katungal thousands of years to develop.
HOLY COW – One of the greatest exemplars of human nature can be found in our relationship with cows. Domesticated an estimated 10,500 years ago from wild ox in the near east, cows have been our constant companions and, in many cases, our most valuable resource. Because of their symbiotic relationship with us, they have been an object of both divine adulation and unspeakable cruelty; the latter is particularly true of their treatment in the industrialized world. What they once gave freely, we now take with ruthless mechanisation. It is tempting to think that abstaining from beef and dairy will exculpate us; but if we wish to wash the blood from our hands we would also have to do away with our current forms of dyes, ink, adhesives, plastics, pet food, plant food, shampoo, conditioner, wallpaper, plywood, refined sugar, charcoal, glass, air filters, brushes, insulation, chewing gum, candles, detergents, fabric softener, deodorant, shaving cream, perfume, crayons, paint, biodiesel, cement, ceramics, chalk, explosives, anti-freeze, instrument strings and more.
The Lonely Seether
THE LONELY SEETHER – one of the gravest consequences of modern life is the sense of alienation and loneliness it fosters in people. It is typical to view people in such a state as essentially harmless; when, in truth, some are seething with rage. If their rage becomes pathological and fuelled by nihilism and a hatred of being, the consequences can be catastrophic, not only for themselves, but for all those around them.
BAKED – It is a revealing commentary on the reality of modern living that suburban mothers are one of the fastest growing groups of prescription drug abusers. Opiates, benzodiazepines and amphetamines are abused in an attempt to ease pain, reduce anxiety and increase energy respectively.
TATEMAE – [Japanese ‘built in front’, ‘facade’] the face one shows to the world, as opposed to Honne [‘true sound’] a person’s true self, feelings and desires. With the proliferation of social media, people in the West are fast developing a Honne & Tatemae dichotomy of the self. Even more alarming, many identify with their Tatemae (in this case, their online persona) to such an extent that their Honne (true self) becomes subsumed within it and is all but lost. This will likely have disastrous psychological consequences as people age and can no longer maintain the Tatemae they have constructed for all the world to see.
HIVE – for a creative idea to flourish, there needs to be combination of internal nurturing and external pollination. When the balance is just right and an idea is both protected and sufficiently fed, there is a good chance it will become a reality.
SELFIE – there is a tendency these days to over-identify with our face (especially with the advent of selfies), as though the face is synonymous with the self. This isn’t so bad when we are young and beautiful, but it can cause great distress (and in extreme cases, profound psychological disturbance) when our face changes as we age. The answer is less about changing our face (which, though possible these days, has a macabre aspect to it), and more about realising true beauty resides in the inner self; which, when healthy and balanced, transcends one’s outward appearance, no mater how altered by time.
NUMEN – from the Latin to ‘nod’ …used in Ancient Rome to describe the spiritual force in inanimate objects, places or awe inspiring phenomena. Such places were thought to contain divine power or will, defined by its ability to consent (or nod). In our industrialised and technological world (esp. in cities) we are no longer surrounded by numen (or have lost our ability to perceive it), which is, in part, responsible for our deep sense of alienation.
According to Jung, THE SHADOW consists of those aspects of the self the ego finds painful or shaming and, therefore, does not want to be associated with. Most people have no conscious awareness of what is lurking in their shadow, and often project its contents on to other people. If you are curious as to what might be lurking in your shadow? A sure sign is, those traits you find intolerable in others.
PARAMOUR – Old French ‘par amor’ – meaning, ‘for the sake of love’. Paramour is an old termed used to describe ‘a lover’ – typically an illicit lover of a married person. It used to be, as the name suggests, that one would engage in an illicit affair for the sake of love. Marriage, on the other hand, was a contractual, socially advantageous relationship, wherein sexual relations was for the purpose of procreation. One was not expected to ‘love’ one’s marriage partner, in the romantic sense; such feelings were reserved for one’s paramour.
This is one of the biggest social changes to have occurred since the Romantic era towards the end of 18th century. One is now expected to passionately love one’s marriage partner, and to marry ‘for the sake of love’. Extramarital affairs, on the other hand, are typically described (when one gets caught) as meaningless, purely sexual ‘mistakes’.
What does the imagery in this collage mean? I have absolutely no idea!
Inventing the Self
INVENTING THE SELF – invent, from the Latin ‘invenire’ meaning to ‘find’ (viz. to find by seeking).
So there I was, wide awake at 2am fretting about this and that…too tired to read a book…but not too tired to play on my phone. My soul felt dry and dusty…so I decided to go in search of the beautiful writings of Sarah Zadok. I first came across Sarah’s writing on Hevria; there was something about the sound of her soul that ushered light into mine. I found my way to her site…and she didn’t disappoint. I would’ve been happy with a little water; instead I found a pomegranate…its seeds bursting with juicy goodness. I gobbled them up. Not only was my soul refreshed, I was inspired.
Sarah had made a video, in which she discussed the Soul of the Seder; that is, the steps of the Seder and their personal application in our lives.
The first juicy seed is the word Seder itself, which means order…referring to the 15 steps of the Seder and the order in which they are to be followed. These steps, according to Rabbi Nachman, are sign posts for the way – i.e. the way to liberation.
The Seder is the special meal that takes place on the first night of Pesach (Passover), which is celebrated each year in commemoration of the Israelites’ release from captivity in Egypt. The Hebrew word for Egypt is Mizraim – which means boundaries or narrow place. As such, it is said that following the steps of the Seder can enable us to transcend boundaries or restrictive modes of behavior – i.e. those things that enslave us or hold us back.
I decided to follow these steps myself in order to gain release from something I felt was holding me back. To do this, I handmade pictures to represent of each step – this allowed me to meditate on and access the wisdom found in the Seder ritual.
It is these pictures – and the thoughts that occurred to be me while making them – that I share with you now.
1. Kadesh – Blessing of the wine
Words are very powerful – especially when spoken with intention; they have the power to create or destroy. Indeed, central to Jewish theology is the belief that the world was spoken into existence. This is a magnificent idea…and one that I love very much. It is no surprise then that Jewish rituals begin with words – beautiful words incased in light. It is amazing to think that this particular blessing has been repeated again and again for centuries. For over a thousand years Hebrew was only ever spoken in prayer or the recitation of scripture – making it a sacred language. This being so, liturgical Hebrew must have a very special vibration. Visually, on an esoteric level, I imagine a blessing such as this resembles a beautiful mandala – pulsing out into existence.
If you find yourself bound by a situation that you long to be free from, begin by speaking words of blessing into your life with a sincere heart.
2. U’rchartz – Washing hands
Sarah, at the beginning of her video, asks the question: what does holy look like? I wracked my brain over this – and finally came to an understanding when making this picture. The Jewish concept of holy relates to separateness – and refers back to offerings brought to the Temple – those things that were separated and sacrificed were considered holy. But what does that look like in our lives? It made me anxious to think about…as though we must have to do something grand to be holy – to be separate – as though holiness has to do with worthiness. Then I considered the step of U’rchartz – and I understood. At this stage, all we have to do – and all that is being asked of us – is to wash our hands; of our own volition, that’s all we can do to be holy…the rest comes later.
If you are on the cusp of change, don’t wait to be dazzled by a sense of your own piety…simply wash your hands and begin your journey.
3. Karpas – Dipping in saltwater
The 3rd step of the Seder is to dip a simple vegetable into saltwater – which is reminiscent of tears shed in sorrow. Sorrow is a powerful force in our lives; and, like saltwater on a rusty pipe, it can carve a deep hole in our being. Mostly we mask our sorrow and deadened our pain…which works for a while – until the thing we deadened it with becomes a source of sorrow itself…and the hole just gets bigger.
The lesson here is: dip into your sorrow, acknowledge it, taste it.
4. Yachatz – Breaking
The key item on the Seder plate are three pieces of Matzah (unleavened bread); step four is breaking the middle piece of Matzah and hiding half of it.
Breaking is a difficult but vital part of the liberation process. The reason we mask our sorrow, is because we fear it will break us. The secret is…to let it. For in breaking we release our creative potential and the source of our healing.
Allow the breaking of your heart to take place…trust in the process and prepare to be amazed.
5. Maggid – Telling the story
At every Seder the Exodus story is told…the captivity, the sorrow, the release, the drama…the whole story…every beautiful gory detail.
We must tell our story too – whether we write it down or speak it out. With repeated telling, our story loses its hold over us and we are released.
And we should take time to listen to other peoples’ stories. Not only will it enable the teller to gain release from their past – but we will no doubt find them rich in lessons for our own lives.
So, if you are somewhere you don’t want to be, tell your story. How did you get there? The telling will be like a light to your path and will show you the way. Lasting change can be a slow process, with imperceptible gains; but don’t lose heart – as long as you are headed in the right direction…you’ll get there eventually. Indeed, by the Seder’s reckoning, when you tell your story you are a 3rd of the way there.
6. Rachtzah – washing hands with blessing
Here we wash our hands again, only this time while saying a blessing – a fusion of step one and step two. Although we are performing the same simple act of purification as before, we are now drawing on the power of sacred words.
Visually, this made me think of Mikvah – the ritual cleansing of the whole self, which is done with intention – and the power inherent in such an act.
Never underestimate the power of ritual purification, especially when undergoing a process of change. The key is to be fully conscious while performing an otherwise simple act (like standing in the rain or dropping a pebble in a pond) – the way to do this is to speak your intention with an open and expectant heart. Try it, you’ll see.
7. Motzi – Blessing for grain
The Motzi is a blessing said in gratitude for grain.
The cultivation of grain – such as wheat – was the single most important step in the evolution of human civilization; we went from wanderers to settlers…and from there we built towns and cities and then the mega cities you see today. To be sure, being all bunched together like that, we have fought – primarily for resources and/or the control of them – but it has also allowed us to think beautiful thoughts and make beautiful things; we have healed each other, entertained each other, discovered galaxies and filled countless libraries with our knowledge.
How often are you grateful for the simple grain that made all that possible?
That is the lesson of the Motzi Blessing. Recognizing and being grateful for the little things – those things that may seem inconsequential and that you take for granted. Being grateful and saying thank you has the power to transform – it can heal fractured relationships and the fractured self – and is an important step on the road of transformation. There is ALWAYS something to be grateful for.
8. Matzah – Blessing and eating
Matzah is the unleavened bread that the Israelites had to eat when they fled Egypt – according to tradition, they left in such a hurry that they did not have time to let their bread rise. Matzah is also the heart of the Seder – indeed, the whole of Pesach, which is also known as the Festival of Unleavened Bread.
This then is the heart or turning point of your journey. Here you are asked internalize the process, allowing it to transform you. This isn’t always easy, for it means making a conscious effort to implement change. The trick is not to feel sorry for yourself. Just as eating Matzah isn’t much fun, and can feel like a deprivation…you soon get a taste for it and find it’s not so bad. Besides, you just learned in the previous step to be grateful…even for small things – so say thank you and get munching.
9. Maror – Bitter Herbs
How interesting that after passing through the heart of the Seder we are then reminded of bitterness. In the actual meal this takes the form of eating a bitter herb dipped in charoset – a sweet spicy mixture.
On a personal level, why after going to the trouble of implementing change should we be made aware of bitterness? I think because it is the most common thing that keeps us locked in the past and destructive behavior patterns or situations. When we internalize the transformation process and begin to change, we are laid bare. The past comes back to haunt us; and the bitterness and resentment of what happened can overwhelm us and make us feel justified in not changing. In which case we revert to our old patterns of behavior – to quell the bitterness…and it works; until the next time we are fed up and want to change. And so the cycle continues.
So, how to overcome the bitterness we feel? The Seder teaches us to dip it in sweetness.
Looking at the past and what led to your current state of entrapment is bound to bring up bitterness. When it does, dip it in the sweetness of gratitude. Gratitude that you survived, gratitude for the people it brought into your life, gratitude for the lessons you learned, gratitude for the compassion suffering has given you, gratitude for the tears that have cleansed your soul, gratitude for the change of heart that has taken place.
10. Korech – The Sandwich
For this step of the Seder, we take 2 pieces of matzah, some maror and some charoset and make a sandwich. To be sure it’s not the tastiest sandwich in the world, but it is a powerful metaphor in the process of change.
Now, I know what you’re thinking: what does a zebra have to do with a bitter-sweet cardboardy canape? Only everything.
You see, the thing with suffering is – it irrevocably changes us. Indeed, it is the single most powerful force for change in our lives…and the world entire. Take the Zebra. It’s got to be a hard row to hoe when you’re a stumpy-legged equid on the plains of Africa. But they’ve survived…how? Because of their stripes – which act as a form of camouflage, making it difficult for predators to distinguish a single animal from the herd, as well as distorting distance at dawn and dusk…typical feeding times for predators. There are lots of other wonderful facts about Zebras (I love them very much) but suffice to say, they earned their stripes the hard way.
Whether you like it or not, if you have known deep sorrow in this life, you’ll have stripes too…which is a bitter-sweet thing. The secret of this step is to embrace your stripes and find a purpose for your suffering. Don’t let your suffering harden your heart…allow it break it…then express it – whether through art or in service to others (really they are one in the same).
And don’t forget: the great thing with having stripes is…it’s easy to recognize other people that have them too…and the connection with such folk often run deeper.
11. Shulchan Oruch – The meal
Ahh…we made it. This is the part in the proceedings where we kick-back and enjoy a festive meal. What does this mean in terms of a personal application? Well, the clue is in the name: Shulchan Oruch – which means: set table. The state of repose that marks this step doesn’t just happen spontaneously…we have to prepare for it. This means arranging our lives in such a way that we are at peace with ourselves.
Simply put…do the things you are meant to do and stop doing the things you shouldn’t. This may mean relinquishing relationships – with people and things – or modes of behavior and that are no longer conducive to your peace of mind, as well as incorporating those that are.
Remember, it is life’s simple pleasures that yield the greatest peace.
12. Tzofon – Finding and eating the Afikoman
Way back at step 4 – when we broke the Matzah – half of it was hidden. The hidden portion – called the Afikoman – is now revealed and eaten. The Akikoman is an elegant metaphor for that which remains hidden…only to be revealed when we have gained the ability to see.
The silver lining of breaking is, you get to peep behind the veil of reality. It can be traumatic at the time and difficult to come to terms with; but further down the track, when you have healed and set your table, you’ll have the opportunity to revisit the understanding you gained, to explore it and delight in the revelation it brings.
13. Beirach – Reciting Grace
The blessing that is recited at this stage of the Seder is beautiful and is akin to pulling down grace into our lives. Here we ask for divine assistance to permeate our lives – and the world entire – with peace and happiness.
This step refers to a conscious desire to make the world a better place – to become source of grace – i.e. unmerited love and mercy. This can be harder than it seems. Gaining liberation from something is an inward-looking process and can become very self-indulgent…to the point where we hardly notice those around us (I’m talking to myself here).
You’ve come a long way, but you can’t just loll about in the grace you have received…to have to share it. Begin by being kind and helping those around you…you never know where it may take you.
14. Hallel – Psalms of Praise
The Seder is almost complete, the lessons have been learned, the past commemorated and released; what is left but to raise our voices in praise.
Hallel is the Hebrew word for praise and literally means: to shine. To praise is to radiate love. It is the most marvelous state to experience; it feels like every atom in your body – both material and ethereal – is glowing.
In practical terms, how can we live a life of praise? I don’t think it’s jumping around and singing about rainbows…that’s annoying. Rather, I suggest, keep the light low but constant. To do this, give your whole self to something…your spirit, mind and emotions…pour out your soul…create something beautiful…astounding…for no other reason than love. That is praise.
It is different for everyone. For me it is painting. What is it for you? Whatever it may be…shine.
The Seder has come to an end; our journey is over…and yet it has just begun…that is Nirtzah.
Nirtzah is mysterious; as such, the picture I made to represent this final step is intuitive and speaks to me of the possibility of a spiritual life.
Often, when we have been on a life altering journey, especially one that involves suffering and/or great change, the opportunity of commencing a spiritual path arises. It is like a gift that is presented to us…and we can choose whether or not to take it.
Where to start? The Seder teaches…at the beginning.
That, dear reader, is the Soul of the Seder – at least as I experienced it. I encourage you to explore it for yourself…to meditate on its meaning and unravel its mystery…it is, after all, that time of the year.
Forgiveness is our superpower. Its grace can astonish the hardest of hearts and wipe the rage from our eyes. Yet its power is often no match for our resentment – that we nurse like a firstborn child swaddled in the tears of injustice – afraid our existence depends on the tally of grievances we hold aloft for each other to see. Rub your nose in this – we cry, all the while our hearts die with the loneliness our demand for perfection creates.
To forgive is to sacrifice our firstborn; to burn that note to self – I will not trust you again. To release the hypocrisy of our judgement and stand naked in front of each other and sigh with the knowledge that we are all the same.
It is not a onetime action, but a state of being that must be seized upon and wilfully practiced. It hurts. It hurts deep. But oh, when it is possessed; we are never more beautiful.
Finding a way through the brick wall of resentment that surrounds our hearts – and continually impedes our relationships with loved ones and positive interactions with others – is not an easy task; rather, it is task that requires a teacher and a guide.
Last year I had the supreme good fortune to stumble upon the lectures and writing of Dr Henry Abramson. The excellence of Dr. Abramson’s teaching resides in his ability to speak to the heart as well as the mind; filling both with knowledge so rich it has the power to transform.
One such book and lecture series is Dr Abramson’s Kabbalah of Forgiveness; a commentary on the classic 16th century work by Rabbi Moshe Cordovero, called Tomer Devorah (trans: Date Palm of Devorah). The Tomer Devorah is essentially a Kabbalistic how-to-manual; specifically, how to imitate God.
Dr. Abramson’s commentary addresses the section in the Tomer Devorah that deals with God’s mercy and provides a step by step guide through the 13 levels of mercy, or forgiveness. Rabbi Cordovero’s ideas regarding forgiveness are as relevant to today as there were in the 16th century; and Dr Abramson’s warmth and down-to-earth teaching style make those ideas accessible to all.
The following is not an attempt to teach the Kabbalah of the Forgiveness (why listen to the donkey when the master has a YouTube channel). Rather, it is a visual documentation of my personal journey through the 13 levels of forgiveness.
NB: The titles below reflect the pictures themselves – which may only be one aspect of a given level. In cases where the picture title differs from that of the specific level, I have included the latter in brackets.
All pictures are hand-cut, 12″ x 12″ paper on paper collages.
THE INSULTED KING
Level One concerns the need to forgive those people that take us for granted (or bite the hand that feeds them). It draws on the analogy of a king who endures insult from his subjects, yet continues in his beneficent attitude and actions towards them. It further reminds us that God’s mercy and creative energy continues to sustain existence, despite the deplorable things we do – individually and collectively; and encourages us imitate such forgiveness.
WHOSE K’TEGORS ARE THESE? (Let it Go)
Level Two is somewhat complex in its Kabbalistic ideas – especially for the novice. However, in essence, it recommends letting go of the need to hold people to account for their behavior towards us, on the grounds that if we look closely, we are no better. To illustrate this, it talks of the Kabbalistic idea of k’tegors – malevolent destroyers that feed on the energy of the people who created them through their misdeeds. Personally, I find it sobering to think of a band of metaphorical k’tegors following me around; and it gives me pause for thought when on the verge of taking offence at someone else’s behavior.
PART OF THE PROCESS (Take Care of it Personally)
Level Three acknowledges that when someone we are close to messes up in a major way, it is tempting to walk away and leave them to it – they made the mess, they should clean it up! However, level 3 suggests the opposite. It says, if someone we love has made a mess and is truly sorry, it is incumbent upon us to be part of the process by which they transform their life and gain forgiveness – both in our eyes and theirs.
IN THE SAME BOAT (Remember we are family)
Level 4 reminds us that life is hard and we all mess up; as such, we should go easy on each other. After all, we are all in the same boat.
RELEASE THE ANGER
Level 5 reminds us of the destructive and debilitating nature of anger. It is very tempting, when we are angry at a loved one – over a perceive injury or insult – to lash out at them and let them bear the brunt of our anger. However, as this picture illustrates, anger does not resolve relationship issues; rather, it makes them more perilous and puts us in a situation where we have very little control over the outcome.
WHO MAKES YOUR LUNCH?
Level 6 reminds us that, when we need to forgive someone, we should think about the nice things they do for us – those simple everyday things that sustain and elevate us. When discussing this level, Dr Abramson relays the touching example of how his wife makes his lunch every day; reminding us that being aware of the grace conferred by such actions and not taking them for granted, helps us maintain a forgiving attitude towards our loved ones.
BUILDING A FENCE (A Knot is Stronger)
Level 7 concerns the need to forgive those who betray us. This is an extremely difficult thing to do, especially if we cannot be sure the person will not betray us again. To counter this difficulty, one of the things Dr. Abramson talks about is the need to build fences. If someone we love sincerely wishes to negate a particular behavior pattern that has caused us and the relationship harm, then they are well advised to build a fence around themselves so as to limit access to the detrimental behavior. If our loved one goes to the trouble of building a fence, we should take it as a sign they are serious about not hurting us in that way again; and so can be begin the process of forgiveness.
MAINTAIN A CORE OF LOVE
Level 8 builds on level 7 and talks about the need to not only forgive our loved ones, but also to let them back into our heart.
THE SCAPEGOAT (Bury the Past)
Level 9 brings up the idea of the scape goat and the need to offset our anger so that it does not infect the person we love – even though they may be the true target and instigator of the anger. Personally, I recommend finding a creative outlet for such feelings.
The preceding levels concern loved ones – friends and family; the remaining levels concern acquaintances – those people we may not be particularly close to.
THE HOOK (Do the Right Thing Anyway)
Level 10 is about letting everyday folk off the hook. It recalls level 4 – in that we are all in the same boat, life is hard and we all make mistakes – and encourages us to go easy on other people.
SERVE AND PROTECT (Do More for Those Who Do More)
Level 11 encourages us to confer extra forgiveness on those we know to be good people, who help others by giving of their time and/or resources. It is tempting when good people do the wrong thing, to want to knock them off their pedestals; but this level instructs us not to. Rather, we should go out of our way to forgive and protect them.
FAMILY TREE (Remember Where they Came From)
Level 12 recognizes the fact that some people have few redeeming qualities and generally make the lives of those around them miserable. In such cases, it can be helpful to consider the person’s family – both living and dead – and forgive them for their family’s sake.
THE MOMENT OF INNOCENCE
Level 13 recognizes that even level 12 may not be enough and asks us to consider that the person in question was once an innocent baby. By doing so, we can become aware of their inherent vulnerability and find it in our hearts to forgive them.
So there it is dear reader, a small taste of the Kabbalah of Forgiveness. I sincerely hope it inspires you to access Dr Abramson’s lectures and book for yourself and embark on what is a remarkable and life changing journey. I should warn you though, as remarkable as that journey is, it is also arduous and, at times, deeply uncomfortable. You may be shocked – as I was – to realise how attached to your resentment and long list of injustices you are. Although you will be loath to part with them, part you must. But do not fear, that empty nest will soon be filled with love.