September Retreat in Southern France.

0001kO0002tx 15-05-30

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

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. 

IMG_2031

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. 

IMG_2830

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.

IMG_0859

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.

IMG_2024

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

IMG_2717
 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.

IMG_2746

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. 

IMG_2737

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.

IMG_2740

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.

IMG_2736

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. 

IMG_2705
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.

Triple circles tree 1

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.

DSCF0904

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.

Star Birth Close-up  copy

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.

Earth-the-universe-22238243-2560-1600

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.

IMG_0869_1 copy

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. 

DSCF0685 copy

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.

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.

hs interacting spiral Gs jpg

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.

IMG_2024

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.

Two Day 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.”

Weekend workshop Saturday the 2nd and Sunday 3rd of November 2013 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 takes you into the depth and beauty of the mystical teachings of Kabbalah, which tell us that we are intimately connected to the whole of life, to all that exists in nature and the vastness of the Cosmos.

“You are a tree of life, connected to all that is unfolding in the natural world, the solar system, and stars. You have within you the light of consciousness that continually gives birth to, and sustains, the created universe.” (From Patterns of Creation)

The workshop will help you to experience these profound spiritual truths for yourself, going beyond the everyday mind, which is dominated by the ego, into the stillness and peace of Presence at your core.

The creative intelligence of life is far greater than the everyday mind can conceive: it is the formless essence out of which all life forms emerge, and into which they dissolve, to be reborn as new life.

During the weekend we will work with meditation, contemplation, conscious breathing and the energy field of the body to reconnect with that creative source of life within each of us. From this awareness comes true freedom, and the realization that we are part of the great community of life on Earth, and intimately connected to the life sustaining the vast Cosmos.

Saturday 10.00am to 4.00pm with an evening session. Sunday 10.00am to 4.00pm.

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.

 

Cost of the workshop: £165.00

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

If you wish to arrive at the Abbey and stay on the Friday evening there is a small supplement. Enquire on booking. 

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

Agape – Love, the sacred power of consciousness

IMG_0861

Agape – Love, could be described as the activation of the sacred power of consciousness within us,
a deep initiation into the creative power that permeates the visible universe.

The Seed of Life

The Seed of Life

For if I speak with the inspired language of the Human Spirit (Anthropos)

and the voices of Angels (the Patterns of Creation)

but have not Agape (Unconditional/universal Love),

then I become like the roaring echo of an empty vessel,

the clamouring of restless and raging passions. 

And though I have inspired prophecies and insights into the mysteries,

and all gnosis (spiritual knowledge), and such faith that I could remove mountains,

and have not Agape, I am nothing. 

genesis.gif

The Flower of Life

And if I give away all my possessions to the poor,

and give the vitality of my body to burn as a shining light showing the way,

but have not Agape in me, I gain nothing.  

Agape stays constant, is patient and kind;

Agape does not envy or hate – knows no anger; 

Agape does not boast, and has no pride; it is not coarse or rude, does not insist upon its own way.

It is not irritable or easily provoked; it is not resentful, injurious or destructive.

It does not rejoice at finding wrong but rejoices at goodness, beauty and truth.

Agape never gives up, never loses faith, has confidence, and perseveres through every circumstance.  

Alham33 copy

The Flower of Life

What we can know is only partial,

our prophetic visions are only ever partial,

but when that which is perfect comes (the peace of completion/Oneness with the continual creative outpouring,)

the imperfect (identification with forms) will pass away.

Alham37

The Flower of Life

When I was a child, I spoke without knowledge, I lacked understanding,

I reasoned without knowledge or wisdom;

when I became an adult, I deprived those childish ways of their power and influence over me.

For now we discern as in a darkened mirror, but then in immediate presence (face to face).

Now my Gnosis is partial, but then I will know, as I Am known.   

1 Cor 13:1-12 (My translation)

Cord5

The Flower of Life – Roman Tile, Cordoba

The Oneness of completion with the continual creative outpouring, that which is perfect, is not the end of created life, nor the cessation of change in the world, it is the Peace that comes to us as we allow life to flow freely through the centre of consciousness that we find to be at our core within the great unfolding universe. 

IMG_0844

All forms are fleeting and in continual flux.

To let go of attachment to all forms, is to allow the imperfect to pass away. All our holding on to form becomes imperfect because the creative spirit is a constant flux of renewal. Peace comes to us when we stand at the core of our Being, which is simultaneously the point of unknowing that allows the spirit to unfold freely.

Alham41

All creatures exist within the formless creative universe and the world of form simultaneously.
What we see is a mere fleeting glimpse of their reflection.
To see their true depths we first need to find our own true depths.

Everything we see, touch and, hear is an impression of the One consciousness interpreted by the mind as a series of objects and events. The source of life is the Eternal Presence: I Am – Being.  From out of Eternal Presence comes the continual outpouring of  creativity – Agape. This is the formless universe of Ideas which flows as the breath in great rhythmic pulses, sustaining the sea of  ever changing forms and ephemeral matter we call the Cosmos.

When you still and silence the mind, you become aware of this continual outpouring as living presence animating everything in existence.

IMG_0160a

Every Creature is a revelation of the continual creative outpouring.

Universal Love is not the limited to human beings. Every creature is involved in the great revelation of Agape: each creature at first discerning its being as in a darkened mirror, but then realising the brilliant fullness of its beauty as an intimate expression of the whole universe – both visible and non-visible.

Goddess3

This image of the Divine feminine is based on the Archetype of Mary – Magdalene. 

We are emerging consciousness in human form. To become Human – Being is our destiny; to look into the dark inner reaches of the cave of unknowing, is to begin to see the brilliance of the fullness of consciousness emerging out of the Great Cosmic womb. 

This is to be continually born anew in Eternal Presence, where we relinquish all identity with form. 

Through becoming consciousness itself you are At-One with that Presence.

You create no more suffering for yourself, for others, or the creatures of the natural world.

This is Agape.

Etz Haim – The Tree of Life

The vast Cosmos is a manifestation of the Tree of Life – every galaxy an emerging blossom on one of the great boughs of this single Tree.

hubble telescope image 0f near and distant galaxies.

The pulse of creative life breathes the Cosmos into existence. This is taking place within you now, as you read these words.

In the Creation story of Genesis the Tree of Life, Etz Haim in Hebrew, stands in the midst of the Garden of Eden – the universe of diversifying forms. Eden is not a place, but a state of higher awareness. The Tree of Life is the stillness out of which the continual creativity of the Tree of Knowledge of good and evil emerges. In Hebrew, the words translated as good and evil mean the movement to buildup and breakdown formless creative patterns and their emerging forms.

The garden of Eden symbolises the beauty of divergent forms and their manifestation as the continually emerging Cosmos and natural world.

DSCF0883The movement of creative patterns continually unfold out of the formless and dissolve back into the formless.

Triple circles tree 1

You are a Tree of Life: the still centre out of which the creative movement of life continually emerges.

The four worlds as described in the Book of Genesis:

Tree of Life, eternal Being – Stillness.

Tree of Knowledge of good and evil – the formless universe of primal movements, the creative impulse of Life.

Eden – the universe of luxuriant, diversifying forms, giving life to the Cosmos,

the foundation of what we experience as the physical universe.

Dawn on the Sea of Galilee.

The Sun appears over the Jordanian hills illuminating the Sea of Galilee. Can you be aware of this as an inner reality?

Being is the essence of all creative life which is a continual movement out of stillness: this movement continually creates and sustains all forms of life out of the eternal present moment. Take a conscious breath, and feel the inner stillness out of which each breath emerges.

Mary Magdalene as the receptive vessel - Grail

In this image of the sun setting over the Breton coast the form of the Grail appears – the cup of light. The sun is both receiving and giving simultaneously in the eternal present moment

All life is continually emerging and dissolving out of nothing that we can say is anything: all sub-atomic particles are continually appearing and disappearing into and out of the formless womb of creative space, which ceaselessly nourishes physical matter.

cordoba.jpg

Geometric Tree of Life – from the Madīnat az-Zahrā, Cordoba, Spain. 10th Century.

Every flower and insect, every bird, and all the creatures that live upon the land and swim within the rivers and seas, are part of the Great Tree of Life.

You are connected to the whole of life. Whatever happens to the myriad  forms of life in the world around you, has a direct affect on you.  

Menorah

Menorah – depiction of the Tree of Life

The Tree of Life and Torah:

The Torah, or the laws given to Moses, are not a set of rules governing human behaviour. Torah is the teaching on life’s creative patterns, which tells us that everything is alive, and that we are intimately connected to the whole of life.

Torah signifies the laws which give space and movement to the whole of life.

The Tree of Life

The image of the geometric Tree of Life emerged out of the relationship between Greek and Jewish Cultures. From the Book Patterns of Creation.

It was often said by the mystics and prophets of the tradition that the Torah is oral; it can only be taught by word of mouth. And that it was only permitted to be written down if it was in danger of being forgotten.

Why was this warning given to us? Because the Law is not, and can never be, fixed or contained by either the mind or the written word.

The Laws which govern Life are continually transforming with the unfolding of creation into the form and matter from which they are inseparable. We cannot say “here they are, we have defined them in a book.” Or “there they are, we hold all the answers to life’s problems and mysteries.”

When we truly awaken to the realization that all life is One; feel it in our breath and blood, in the cells of our flesh and bones, taking each step of the way with awareness of Being, then all our life negating, behavior will cease.

Through conscious presence the Torah lives in you as the abundance of the Tree of Life. Take a conscious breath, breathe with awareness. 

The Laws of Life give us insight into the continuing story of the emergence of existence. If we can live from the place of unknowing deep within, we allow ourselves To Be. From the place of unknowing, at your very core, know that you are supported by Eternal Presence as you move within the continual creative flow of the universe – Genesis of the great river of life.DSCF0017 copy