Meditation

Presence is the essence of all sentient life that surrounds you, and is within you at all times and in all places. 

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Your ability to feel Presence begins when you notice openings in the continual stream of thinking. These are doorways into the timeless. The timeless moment opens out like a flower filling you with its essence, without any need for thinking.

To enter the deeper dimension that is present within you, here, now, requires no mind, no thoughts, just an alert, inner awareness.

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The practice of Meditation means To Be receptive to Life (Kabbalah in Hebrew): as you bring your attention fully into the present moment, you become rooted in the timeless. The mind becomes still. In this stillness, you realise your connection with Creative Presence.

The Bible calls this entering the Kingdom of Heaven – a deepening revelation of potent creativity in the present moment. This takes us beyond belief, and all identification with spiritual philosophies and religious creeds, into the formless One.

You realise the formless, timeless essence as the core of who you are; the core of everyone and everything.

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Every moment spent in Presence creates gaps in the thought streams of the mind, that open out into deeper awareness that permeates through you.

Once you are able to observe the egoic mind, even fleetingly, you notice how it seeks to fill inner space with thoughts and emotionally charged forms or identities, which draw you back into unconsciousness. Although it is a real challenge, your ability to become, and then remain, present, so that you can observe this return to the ordinary mind, is the beginning of the end of their power over you.  

It is important not to fight the ego; this simply strengthens it. Your attention in the present moment, without judgement, dissolves all past thought forms that cause division and depression, and all future imaginings that cause compulsive needs and anxiety.

Planet-earth

Practicing meditation by being still before doing or saying anything brings the spiritual dimension into your daily life. In this clear space, subject and object separation is diminished. Realising you are an integral part of the interconnectivity of all life on Earth and in the Cosmos brings Peace: your body loves this connectivity and is invigorated by it, the senses open out, the incredible depth and fullness of life reveals itself to you. And then you know that Heaven and Earth are One.

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The senses fill to overflowing, 

enlivened in your awakening,

wordless inner knowing,

a trusting,

you are supported by the universe,

and everything connected,

flows in and out of you as Conscious Breath.

 

Entering the Place of Peace – September 2014 Weekend Workshop on Kabbalah

The Abbey Sutton Courtenay

“At your core is your spiritual Being. It is accessible to you now. This is the essence of Kabbalah.” (From Patterns of Creation.)

Weekend workshop Saturday the 27th and Sunday 28th of September 2014 With Stephen Pope, Author of Patterns of Creation Logos and the Tree of Life in the Gospel of John (Axis Mundi Books 2012)

This workshop focuses on finding Inner Peace. In Kabbalah Peace is understood as the core of who we are, synonymous with Presence, and the stillness of Being. From inner Peace we realise our intimate connection to the whole of life, to all that exists in nature and the entire Universe.

Inner Peace, is the end of all of our projections: it equates with true love, which means no enemies and marks the end of all our unconscious destructive behaviour towards the natural world.

During the weekend we will work with meditation, contemplation, conscious breathing and the energy field of the body to reconnect with the Place of Peace within each of us. From this awareness comes true freedom, as we experience these profound spiritual truths for ourselves and move beyond the mind dominated by ego into the stillness and the peace of Presence at the core.

A practicing mystic in the Kabbalistic tradition for over thirty years, Steve Pope has a B.D and MA in Theology and translates Greek and Hebrew Biblical texts.  His book Patterns of Creation – Axis Mundi Books 2012 is a radical exploration of the mystical teachings in the Gospel of John.

“This remarkable and profound work takes the understanding of the gospel to a new level.”

 Scientific and Medical Network review.

“You don’t have to a be a kabbalist to appreciate this really fascinating and enlightening book..it truly brought the teachings to life for me. It really is teaching at its very best.”

Goodreads Review. 

10.00am Saturday -­‐ 4.00pm Sunday, including evening session on Saturday £165. Please book in advance. Price includes accommodation and all meals. You have the option of arriving on Friday for the evening seminar, The Peace of Wild Things. Join us for both with two nights accommodation for £190

Please book in advance. Price includes accommodation and all meals.

To confirm booking please contact:The Abbey Sutton Courtenay, Oxon OX14 4AF 

http://www.theabbey.uk.com 

admin@theabbey.uk.com

Tel: 01235 847401

And for further details about the course please send an email to: stevepope59@hotmail.com

Jacob’s Ladder

“Within every human is Being: total Presence. Absolute consciousness, stillness, silence, and peace can all be used to describe that which Is.” (from the book Patterns of Creation.)

In Biblical Hebrew these teachings are put into story form, where the emerging consciousness is symbolised by the names of people and places.

Jacob's ladder by Albert Huthusen

The “dream” of Jacob, in which the awakening Soul encounters Eternal Presence.  (Jacob’s ladder by Albert Huthusen)

Jacob – Symbol of the Awakening Soul

In the story of Jacob, the awakening Soul leaves Beer-Sheba (In Hebrew, the seven springs) and journeys to Haran (In Hebrew, a meeting of ways, crossroads,  to burn or glow, and to be freeborn).

The Seed of Life

The Seed of Life, called the seven, springs, or seven wells – Beer-Sheba – in Biblical Hebrew.

In Biblical symbolism, to journey is to encounter greater consciousness.

On this journey of inner ascent, Jacob – the awakening Soul – encounters a place of deep stillness. This point within the Soul is described as an upwelling of abiding strength: a place of Brilliance (Light), emanating out of a timeless Presence which the Soul realises as its source and foundation.

The Light of Consciousness.

The Hebrew word shemesh is usually translated as “the Sun”.  A deeper meaning is “Brilliance” meaning; the Light of Consciousness, abundant, timeless Presence.

The Hebrew text says that, Jacob lays down to die in this established place of HaHoa, the breath of life. 

Hoa –  one of the Divine Names – means Breath of Life in Hebrew.

Jacob's Dream – El sueño de Jacob (1639) by José de Ribera, at the Museo del Prado, Madrid

Jacob’s Awakening is mis-translated as sleep. The Hebrew word shakab means to lie down to die. This is the death of the ego, in which the Soul dies to the sense of being a separate entity in the universe.                                                                (Jacob’s Dream –  by José de Ribera, 1639.)

Jacob encounters the Inner Presence of Elohim in the exaltation of conscious Presence.

Presence – I AM consciousness – dissolves the personality until there is just enough to function in the world. The personal self is realised as a dream, and becomes transparent so that Presence shines through. This brings to an end all needless suffering and limitation.

Patmos

The cave of the Revelation or unveiling of Presence, on the Island of Patmos.

To feel the aliveness of the boundless Presence of Life requires no thought.

Breathing deeply with awareness whilst feeling the energy field of the inner body as intensely as you can creates space.

The ego does not like Presence and will complain and try to distract you.

Practicing conscious breathing, is the  beginning of freedom from identity with thought forms; the beginning of the end of the small self of the ego.

This reveals Presence – called Hoa and Elohim in the Hebrew text of Jacob’s Ladder – the source, out of which all life forms continually arise. 

(A fuller translation of the story of Jacob from the Hebrew is available in the book Patterns of Creation.

Awakening to Inner Space

Meditation and spiritual practice are not separate from your daily life.

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Arriving at the river each day is to greet the world anew.
No life form remains the same.
Underneath the flow of life is the Peace of Presence, the space that allows each form To Be.

Life, meditation and prayer are realised as One, no thoughts or words are necessary only your lucid attention in the present moment.

Awakening to inner space

The Hebrew for the formless Spirit is Ruwach, which can be translated as “expansive creative space,” and “the movement of the breath or the wind.” It is within you now giving you life. (From the book Patterns of Creation.)

The Human Spirit is intimately connected to the whole of life. To live as Ruwach is to be free of identification with any form whist living fully within the universe of forms. 

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Ruwach, the formless Spirit, can only be known by being fully conscious to Life which means being open to the constant renewal of forms.
Awakening to the Peace of Presence, there is no resistance to the continual flow of new life.

Living Creativity

Creativity continually emerges out of unknowing: formless, non-conceptualized space – no-thing that we can say is anything – allowing every possible possibility to emerge in the play of forms.

Creative inner space emerges out of the Quiet Still Presence within you, and allows the application of all of your learnt skills without interference from the compulsive thinking of the unobserved mind.

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As awareness of creative space grows, identification with the ego diminishes, dissolving the compulsive thought forms that cause fear, anxiety, anger and depression.

Ruwach – Spirit of Life – is fullness of life, animating every form.

 Eternal Life continually creates all things new, and is present within you now.

IMG_1098Creativity continually arrises out of intense Presence.

In Hebrew this is, Bereshith Bara Elohim Et Ha Shamaim Vey Et Ha Eretz.

Bereshith Bara Elohim Et Ha Shamaim Vey Et Ha Eretz.

This can be translated as:

The creation of all life continually emerges out of Elohim; Being – Eternal Presence, in the Here – Now:

As Heaven (formless creative Spirit) and Earth (all the forms of the Cosmos):

Heaven and Earth are intimately intertwined as One Creation. 

(my translation of the opening lines of Genesis)

 

 

The Breath of Life

Spiritual awakening begins as a seed in space deep within you.

The Seed of Life

The Seed of Life

To feel this seed awaken within, take a Conscious Breath and become present with all of your attention. Breathing with awareness of the vitality of the body allows the seed to open into spacious Presence.

You are Creative Life.

Creative Life is the space that allows the seed to grow and blossom into a full expression of consciousness. 

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Through bringing all your attention to the Conscious Breath, the mind becomes still – no thought.  

You are the spaciousness within, the aliveness, the vitality that forms and sustains your Soul and body.

In awakening to Conscious Presence you begin to realise the creative dynamic of the Spiritual body, which is without form and has as its core Stillness – I Am – Being. 

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This Icon of the Black Virgin symbolises Nurturing Space, allowing the Seed of Conscious Presence (the Divine child) to grow and blossom within the Soul and body (the boat.)

The creative Spirit – Ruach in Hebrew – means Universal Breath. All thoughts, every form arises and dissolves out of the movement of  the Universal Breath of Life.

As we increase our awareness of the Breath of Life, we allow all thought forms of fear, grief, pain, loneliness and separation to be held in a space of love and compassion, where they are dissolved into the One Consciousness that pervades all of life.

Be Present in the here-now with all your attention – as much as you can give to your awakening in this moment.

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As you Breathe Consciously realise that you are rooted in Being – timeless Presence.

Right now, you are at one with the breath of Elohim – One Consciousness.

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Realise that you are being breathed.

Space and breath are One.

This is beyond all form, beyond anything that the mind can understand as anything.

The Creative Spirit continually conceives new life, allowing all past and future imaginings to dissolve into Presence.

The Cave of Mary Magdalene

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 This post is inspired by my recent visit to the Cave of Mary Magdalene, La Sainte-Baume (“Holy Cave” in Provencal) Provence, France.

The Hebrew name for the Tree of Life is Etz Haim. Etz, translated as Tree also means the Spinal Cord. As a Tree of Life you are rooted in Being; remembering this allows the power of Creation to flow through you as Living Breath.

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The conscious Breath is a doorway to the Eternal Present.
Still the mind and enter your innermost room.

To enter the cave is to be at peace with not knowing.

Without any thought we enter inner silence. 

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Be aware of the spinal cord as the axis of consciousness within your energy field, and breathe with awareness.

Feel the conscious breath massaging the spine allowing you to fully inhabit your inner space – expanding through the six directions.

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Love and creativity continually arise out of consciousness which is beyond the mind. This is the core of who you are, your true Self.

In Hebrew this inner core is called Tipheret: Goodness, beauty and truth; pure consciousness that witnesses the passing of every form into New Life.

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At your core lies your formless timeless Self, a Self that shines without ego: No-mind.
One with the source of all Life.

The sound of every in breath and out breath is the mantra of Ehieh, which in  Hebrew means, I Am – Being.

Listen now, with all of your attention to your breathing, as you take an in breath,     a silent pause, and then an out breath.  

As you breath consciously you bring your attention to the peace of your inner core. This peace is eternally present within you, untroubled by any thoughts arising in the mind. 

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Above the forest in the distance lies La Sainte-Baume (“Holy Cave”, in Provencal) which appears to the mind as an outer place, but which points to the timeless, formless, Self in which all ego dissolves. To look into the Cave with awareness is to see into the core of who you are: Being.

The journey to your centre takes place in the eternal present, each step you take unfolds out of the present moment. 

The journey appears as movement in time-space; Conscious Presence witnesses all movement from a point of Stillness.

Through your practice of the conscious breath, inner and outer, subject and object, are known to be One.

This is the end of all division, all mind-made separation from the Present Moment, Ehieh – I Am.

This is your gift to the World.

 

Kabbalah

What is Kabbalah?

cropped-img_08551.jpgThe Hebrew word Kabbalah means to receive; to be receptive to life as the ongoing revelation of Eternal Presence. There are many Hebrew words in the Bible used to describe this formless Eternal Presence. The three principal ones are Ehieh, I AM; Jahveh, To Be-Being; and Elohim, Absolute life – the formless source of unfolding creation. 

Eternal Presence is in the universe and is the universe, but the universe cannot contain the formless creative essence of life. Therefore every form of life is in  a continual state of flux: a continual outpouring of this One consciousness.

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You are a Tree of Life.
You are connected to everything that exists, both as formless essence and as the

multi-dimentional diversity that makes up the fabric of the universe. Most of Life remains invisible to the everyday mind, yet when you awaken as the Tree of Life your eyes are opened to the depths of Creation.  

To receive is to be open and spacious to possibility; this the universe continually provides in the present moment. You are letting go of outcome and allowing the creativity of the universe to come through you, as it will. This means that we enter a space of not knowing – or unknowing.

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Life always takes on form in the Present Moment. Creation is the continual outpouring of possibility, this is its infinite power.

The mind alone struggles to understand the reception of life because it is striving to know as an objective observer. But the conscious witness is at-one-with all that it beholds.

IMG_1046_1 copyTo know as the witness means letting go of all that we think and accumulate as intellectual knowing – it is to enter a state of Being – Presence – that allows life to flow through us as the universe itself.

The Essence of who you are is at One with the Essence of all Life. In Kabbalah this is expressed as Ehieh Asher Ehieh – I AM that I AM. 

The sound of every in breath and out breath is the mantra of Ehieh. Listen now, with all of your attention to your breathing, as you would listen to the sound of the ocean lapping on the shore. 

Birth through the conscious breath.

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You are intimately connected to the continual flow of creative existence. Even to the vast and seemingly remote Birth of  new Stars.

When you emerged from your mother’s womb into this world, you were naked, tiny and helpless. But within such a seemingly helpless body is the same energy that lights an entire galaxy, and more so, the entire Cosmos.

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The Earth and all its life forms are carried on the universal breath.

You are the Breath of Life, you are being breathed every moment of every day. The spark of life within you, at your core, is one with the creator of all life: whole worlds, stars and galaxies. When the mind is stilled we may see beyond all the forms that are continually emerging out of  formless Spirit, and realise their source within us. 

The Light of Consciousness.

The Light of Consciousness gives birth to the Sun. Every Star is the manifest form of the creative unity of life.

In order for the light of creative consciousness to realise itself in you, all thought forms that separate you from the Unity of Life must die, and in dying, be reunited with the totality of life which is the core of your Being.

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All that we see in the external world are but fleeting images, appearing and disappearing into and out of formation.
Consciousness is the ever open eye that perceives the continual flux of life without becoming lost in the dream.

The ego wishes to keep us small, and this thought form includes all our fantasies about being special or insignificant, powerful or weak, and part of an exclusive group separate from the rest of life. All such fantasies need to be brought into the light of awareness where they can be redeemed.

When the ego-dominated personality passes away, the space of Creative Spirit pervades your life. This is vaster than the mind can comprehend.

All thought dissolves in the face of Creative Presence which sustains all life in the here – now. 

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Our primary purpose in life is to be consciously present with all our attention in everything that we do and say.

Breathe consciously. focusing all your attention into the Present Moment.

Each conscious breath you take creates space where there is no thought, allowing you to be, allowing others to be, allowing all life forms to be.

In your awakening to Presence, the One consciousness realises itself.

Creative Presence

One of our greatest illusions is that we are far removed from the spiritual Universe, the Creative Presence that continually manifests life in all its forms.

The Spiritual Universe is present, here, within you now. It exists as the formless reality out of which all forms of life continually arise, and into which they return. The Spiritual realm is not something to be looked for as if it were an objective place, nor is it something that we need to wait for in some future time.

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In Hebrew the Spiritual Universe is called HaSamaim, “the Heavens”,  the Fire that burns as the Cosmic Breath of life. 

Ha-Shamaim is the animating creative spirit of every form of life, carrying the seeds of every living thing into the fertile womb of space that becomes the full expression of life.

NASA Earth observation website photo

The Earth is seen as a speck of light in the middle right of the picture just below the rings of Saturn, at the outer reaches of the Solar System.

The door to the Spiritual Universe is open to us Now. This has nothing to do with belief –  it requires only our practice of conscious presence. With this comes the dissolving of past thought forms and future imaginings.

Deep Space countless galaxies - Hubble telescope

Inner and outer space are One. The glimmering light of galaxies and the dance of subatomic particles within the cells of your body both exist in deep space. This creative dance is the continual emergence of form, out of the presence of the Unmanifest.

When you breathe consciously you stand on the threshold of the creative universe that exists as a permanent presence deep within you. Take a conscious Breath and feel the energy field that manifests your body. Feel it in your cells, in your bones and in the blood coursing through your veins. The conscious breath acts as a doorway to deep space within you, freeing you from the conditioning of the unconscious mind. 

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You have within you the light of the Cosmos: Take a conscious Breath and feel the spaciousness of Eternal Presence.

The Gospel of John.

IMG_1964The Gospel of John was written for you. It is about you: not as a personality or ego identity, but as spiritual consciousness, the vastness of the spiritual body, which is far beyond the understanding of the mind.

Awakening to the presence of the spiritual body can be felt as a pressure for change, which is not often welcomed or understood by the ego. In reality this pressure comes from our inner core, the deepest part of us, that is more natural and real than the world we experience around us through our everyday mind.

The sacred heart or core of life is Love. Unconditional Love or Agape is Consciousness: universal, beyond gender and race and creed, the source of all life. This is to know peace, stillness, profound silence and bliss. The stars in the Cosmos and the cells in the flesh of your body burn with the same Divine light. All is One.

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Mystical awakening is a reality outside space-time as the mind understands it.

The created universe of Spirit is seemingly endless, worlds within worlds where linear time has no relevance. At the core of this realm there is no separation, no inner and outer distinction. This is I Am consciousness – beyond subject and object – At-one-ment with the Divine.

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The World is not what we think it is.

The Earth in all its magnificent beauty is not just a planet spinning around a star in space: it is a vast field of consciousness that washes through us, and yet we are mostly only dimly aware of its surface in our everyday thinking minds.

The Hebrew word for the Earth or World  is Eretz. Through its three Hebrew letters this can be translated as: Absolute consciousness expressing itself through universal containers as the exaltation of life through diversifying forms; conscious intelligence, creativity, enjoyment.

As we learn to Love the magnificence of the Earth we come to realise that it is transparent, revealing a greater reality suffused with the creative energy of Divine Light.

In every moment souls are continually arriving and leaving the physical realm. The flow of consciousness continually emerges out of the timeless present moment, taking form in individual and collective patterns before dissolving back into the formless again. To know this is to realize that everyone and everything is connected.

Star birth cloud - Hubble imagesThis is the breath of life. The breath and to breathe consciously, is so vast and so deep that it fills all of life and is all of life: the movement of creation, the continual flow of creative life unfolding Eternal Presence. This is Logos. (Logos is the Greek term normally translated as Word in The Gospel of John. In reality it is untranslatable.)

The teachings in the Gospel cannot be adequately be expressed in the written word or any one translation. They remain primarily oral (spoken). This is because living teachings emerge out of the present moment. Or we could say that the teaching continually emerges out of Presence.