Actually sexuality is at the center of existence. Both Freud and the Kabbalist would agree. But they have a completele opposite view on that! To Freud everything in the world is a metaphor for sex. For the Kabbalist sex is the metaphor for everything else. For Freud, a perfected, idealized world is a de-sexualized world. For kabbalist to goal is eroticizing the world – says dr.Gafni. For Freud the wounds of the world is being over-sexualized, for the kabbalist it is being de-eroticized! So tha spiritual goal in Kabbala is to live an erotic life, not reducing it to sexuality, but expanding Eros from sexuality to everything else. This is the secret of an erotic living.
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The fall of the temple symbolises the exile of the Erotic energy. Where did it go? The erotic is exiled in the sexual! We have to understand, that the sexual models the erotic, but it doesn’t exhaust the erotic.
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The fourth face of Eros is interconnectivity. We have to shift our perception from „myself”, from the skin-encapsulated-ego, which is the greatest mistake of modernity, to a higher expanded connected self-sense. This shift breaks the boundary of separate-self. Our self expands, from self to groups, then to nations, to the Earth, and finally to the Cosmos.This gradual shifting of the boundaries is the experience of the Erotic.
In this FREE 4 MINUTE AUDIO CLIP dr.Gafni speaks about the third quality of Eros, which is the participation in the desire force of being.
He says, that we should not get rid of desire – this is a spiritual misunderstanding. Rather we need to embrace desire, and participate in it. „Be filled with the throbbing of desire” – this is the cosmic invitation. Deteachment is not the goal, but a strategy, the goal is the clarification of desire.
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In this audio clip dr. Marc Gafni explains what is real Eros, and what is pseudo-Eros. Pseudo-Eros is how we try to avoid emptiness.
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The second quality of the Erotic of Shekinah of the Zohar is fullness of presence. This is not the same as being on the inside. You can actually be fully present, but not in the inside. There is a story about a 19th century Kabbalist master, Levi Isaac of Berdichev, who was able to be fully present. Once a Jewish girl joined the convent and that was completely unaccepted at that time so she shouldn’t have been there. The community sent all the wise men of the region to the convent to persuade her to leave. On one day Levi Isaac of Berdichev went there and sat behind a tree and started to wait. He had been waiting for three days altogether. Two days went by and nothing happened, but on the third day, the woman walked there after the convent and she said: “Oh, it’s you! Thank you for waiting!” What did she sense in the temple? What did the master do? Dr. Gafni explains it in this audio clip, along with the notion, that Eros is about presence. Berdichev was present; the woman sensed it and responded to that presence. Presence is about fullness, the opposite of emptiness. The ability to hold the fullness of presence even in the face of emptiness. We always seek fulfillment in our culture – we want to be full and filled at any cost. Life is what we do with our emptiness. Not the Buddhist emptiness, but the simple emptiness. We have a difficult time to stay in the void, we therefore do a-void-dance, but the only way is not dancing around it, but going through it. And we can do this by precisely staying in the emptiness.
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The breakthrough to the other side happens in every facet of existence. It happens in an erotic conversation, when time stands still. To be engaged erotically, means the same as to be holy: being in the inside of an event. The Maggid of Mezritch, a great Hassidic master once said “if you can hear yourself talking, sit down”! That is the exile of speech Galut Ha-dibbur in Hebrew. In this speech is the Goddess Divine, Shekinah. The exile of the divine is when you can hear yourself talking, because you stepped outside. The Zohar, the book of Aramaic Hebrew mysticism says “a river flows from Eden” – to be in that river is to be in the flow, which is exactly the Eros space. In another Kabbalist story, Hanoch the Kabbaler stitches his shoes, and the text say “the heavens begin to move and transform”. What is he doing when he stitches his shoes? Nothing else, but stitching his shoes. He is totally one with that action: he is in the inside of it and so he becomes the Shekinah, the erotic itself. The divine is in exile, when the inside and the outside are disconnected.
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Dr. Marc Gafni explains the esoteric meaning of the erotic. One aspect of the erotic is being on the inside of existence. As the kabbalistic text says: „lifne adonay”. It is usually translated as „being before the face of god”, but Dr.Gafni elucidates the hidden and real meaning of the original phrase, where „face, inside and before” is also involved in the meaning of these words. Puting it together erotic means to be on the inside of God’s face. This is the first essence of the erotic experience. We can experience this „breakthrough to the other side” in any aspect of life, where time stands still, and we are on the inside of the experience. One simple example is running. After 17 or 19 minutes, something shifts, and we are no longer the runner who struggles with the pavement and the wind, but all touches together and we become the running, the pavement and the wind at the same time.
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