Kabbalah, like Alchemy, is a scientific system providing a practical method of achieving higher degrees of ‘illumination’, or more simply stated higher degrees of energy flow within ourselves. This enhanced flow of energy causes higher degrees of balance, harmony, vitality, conscious awareness, etc which is commonly called ‘Spirituality’.
In order to understand how we interpret these higher states of energy in Kabbalah and the Tree of Life we first need to understand a bit about our inner process so we can bridge the gap between the arcane language of Kabbalah and it’s symbols to how they relate practically within.
Let’s start at the core; Working almost entirely below the level of consciousness in most people we find the autonomic nervous system which is responsible for controlling visceral functions. The ANS affects heart rate, digestion, respiratory rate, salivation, perspiration, pupillary dilation, micturition (urination), sexual arousal and more.
While neurons are the building blocks of the body’s communication system, it is the networks of neurons that allow signals to move between the brain and body. These organized networks, composed of up to one trillion neurons, make up what is known as the nervous system. The human nervous system is composed of two parts: the central nervous system, which includes the brain and spinal cord, and the peripheral nervous system, which is composed of nerves and nerve networks throughout the body.
The ANS is divided into these two subsystems called the parasympathetic nervous system (PNS) and sympathetic nervous system (SNS). The PNS and SNS can be viewed as a ‘excitory’ and ‘inhibitory’ process as we can see in the example of sexual arousal (PNS) and orgasm (SNS). These two ‘channels’ of energy operate independently in some functions and interact cooperatively in others and in many cases the two have “opposite” actions where one activates a physiological response and the other inhibits it.
The endocrine system is also essential to communication. This system utilizes glands located throughout the body, which secrete hormones that regulate a variety of things such as metabolism, digestion, blood pressure and growth. While the endocrine system is not directly linked to the nervous system, the two interact in a number of ways.
The way that our nervous system and the endocrine system operate and flow energy greatly impacts our perception of reality through our thoughts, our emotions and our body (actions). When the nervous system is flowing freely and the endocrine system working efficiently we achieved intense feelings of peace, tranquility and bliss.
The endocrine system is composed of glands, which secrete chemical messengers known as hormones. Hormones are carried in the bloodstream to specific areas of the body, including organs and body tissues. Some of the most important endocrine glands include the pineal gland, the hypothalamus, the pituitary gland, the thyroid, the ovaries and the testes to name a few. Each of these glands works in a number of unique ways in specific areas of the body. The main seven glands are directly related to the seven chakras in Yoga, the seven metals of alchemy and the S’firot in Kabbalah.
Therefore, one of the main processes within Alchemy and Kabbalah is to remove blockages in our energy system, known as a restrictions (tzimtzum) in Kabbalah, barriers in Alchemy, cinnabar fields in Taoism, granthis (blockages) in Yoga, etc. First through their use, then through their correction, these common blockages when opened greatly relieve the restricted energy flow that results in imbalanced energy pathways. We want the neural networks to flow and fire evenly so that we can increase the level of energy that we attract through them. This increased level of energy creates what is known in the mystical traditions as Illumination or Liberation.
These nerves pathways are known in Kabbalah as the Tree of Life which comprise of a main middle pillar (the spine and nerves centers there) and two main forces outside of the spinal column called the left and right pillars sometimes referred to as the Mother and Father forces, Yin and Yang, Ida and Pingala, etc. These three pillars are connected by a series of pathways which connect them together forming the branches and ‘fruit’ of the Tree of Life – the nerve pathways and their main plexus of the physiological and subtle bodies.
The nerve plexus and the main endocrine bodies of these pillars are called S’firot (pronounced See-Fir-Ot) in Kabbalah. These S’firot are responsible for how Light energy flows also known as Qi in Taoism, Prana in Yoga, etc.
Therefore the Tree of Life is a diagram showing us the basic alignment and formation of the energy flow of the entire ‘Vessel’ or ‘Kli’ which is our complete inner energy structure. The whole of Kabbalah is concerned only with how this ‘Light’ energy interacts with the Vessel or Kli.
In Kabbalah we learn how to increase the relationship to the energy through a specific process of correcting our use of energy through Will called a ‘Screen’ (Masach in Kabbalah). This correction is the process by which we learn to balance the left and right pillars, the ANS and SNS systems, for the purpose of removing blockage and allowing more Light energy to flow to these main energy centers, the S’firot. This is sometimes called ‘adhesion with God’ since the more Light energy we draw into the Vessel (our inner body) the more we enhance our perception of reality and thus reveal higher states of awareness and connection.
As we increase the pure Light energy in the body through this correction, we achieve higher states of peace, balance, harmony and revelation of what is known as the Spiritual Sense which is beyond the 5 physical sensations. This higher spiritual sense is when the body’s energy pathways are uniform and Light energy has been increase to reactivate or reveal the highest states of awareness – this is called ‘Returning to the Garden of Eden’.