The one who is a slave to the truth is truly liberated.
That is a paradox, but it is the deeper understanding. Once we understand the truth, we must then be faithful to that truth that we have experienced. Without that we have liberation insight, but we cannot hold it in our practice. This is why so many teachers fall. They are not able to hold faithful to their insight into the truth. I am more deeply clarifying the meaning of enlightenment. It is not enough to know the truth and to have the inner experience of it. One must bring it into action… into service.
I calculate that Avraham was born in 1812 B.C., approximately 3,800 years ago. Avraham was 58 years old when Noach died. Noach knew Adam, so Avraham had exposure to the earliest teachings, specifically from Shem and Eber. What were their teachings? They taught direct liberation. They were liberated yogis. They were mountain top yogis removed from society. Avraham’s insight was not one of “the one God”, nor was it the insight of a “personal God”. He had a unique insight of the manifestation of the Divine onto the physical plane; in other words, the mitzvot, the service, the good deed. That was his insight. He took the esoteric liberation teachings, as a clearly liberated being, and moved them into holy action in the world as part of the liberation process, in which he merged the heavens and the earth in his daily life (integrating the imminent and the transcendent). (Prior to this time the meaning of God was primarily understood as transcendent.) That was his unique insight. Although Avraham lived in the timeline of Noach and was exposed to the higher teachings, his world, dominated by Nimrod, was a world bereft of liberation wisdom, and there was an ongoing struggle against Nimrod’s attempt at one world government enslavement. He was 10 generations away from Adam in his exposure. They all lived a long time, so he was certainly exposed to these teachings.
I came from and I am part of the liberated tradition beyond the mind, but in my deepest understanding, this is not the most profound teaching. It is not the teaching of transforming the world. It is not the Messianic teaching of collective enlightenment. It is about personal liberation. My book Spiritual Nutrition is about how one becomes a superconductor for the Divine. Recently I’ve been talking about bringing holiness to the various aspects of our lives, including our meals. This all comes from a much deeper place than simply managing gluttony. It is about bringing sacredness into our food, our relationships, our gardening, and every aspect of our lives. We are sanctifying our lives, and we are sanctifying the world. That is the mission.
Our mission is the sanctification of our lives, and how we can live as full human beings. In every action we take it is important to ask the question, “How can I create holiness in how I eat and live?” It isn’t simply thinking liberated thoughts and giving liberated teachings. When I am speaking of holiness, I am not talking about simply being in the moment. I mean connecting to the Source prior to the Great Mind (the Big Universe), and bringing that Source into our physical actions. That extends out into the world. This is a Messianic teaching. When I speak of sanctifying the world, sanctifying ourselves, sanctifying every action we take, we are no longer alone in our liberation process. Through our daily practices we sanctify all our actions.
Now Avraham had all the liberation teachings. Oral tradition suggests that he was liberated at 3 years old, and he progressed deeper and deeper until he was 75 and had his vision of God. Avraham’s implicit teaching was to manifest the higher spiritual awareness into physical actions. My teaching of sanctifying ourselves and sanctifying the world is a rebuttal to the common teaching of the separation of body and spirit. People put down the body. They whip the body. They keep celibate. Whether it is Christian flagellation or yogic renunciation. It is always a separation of flesh and spirit in these cases. It exists in almost all the Eastern teachings. My teaching is just the opposite. How do we elevate the body unto spirit?
My teaching is the elevation of the physical into the spiritual.
Spiritual Nutrition is the first clear example of this. The entirety of the teaching is the sanctification of our actions and the world, so that material reality is elevated into the spiritual. It is in the other direction. How do we elevate our bodies, our relationships, our world into the spiritual so that it is a unified whole? That is the next step beyond the teaching that we are multidimensional beings. Implied within this is the next step – sanctifying the physical so that it becomes one with spirit. That is the new insight liberation teaching.
We are not separating flesh and spirit. We are not saying, “Go hide in a cave and there you are pure.” No. We are creating the physical and sanctifying it until it becomes undifferentiated from spirit. This is the pre-Messianic teaching. Not only is this prophetic time a time when Spirit amplified on earth, but also that the human becomes transformed into the Divine. We are merging humanity with Spirit. The overall picture of the mission is the sanctification of ourselves on every level. From eating, to living, to gardening, and all aspects of our lives, we are sanctifying the whole world as a precursor to and a creator of the Messianic world coming from our own elevation of the physical into the spiritual.
Before Jacob went to Laban, he studied for 14 years with Shem and Eber. It is important to note that Shem and Eber led lives similar to the Indian yogis and sages. They had separated flesh and spirit. They had ended the domination of spirit by flesh in their personal lives. Why did Jacob study with them? He studied with them because they were part of his lineage and to learn the higher truths. Jacob learned from Avraham a fully integrated model of liberation. Laban, the primary dark occultist in the Middle East at that time, also separated flesh from spirit. As a result of this he had tremendous occult abilities but on the physical plane he was beastial. Jacob had to integrate and master the illusion of apparent separation of flesh and spirit under the tutelage of Shem, Eber, and his grandfather, Avraham. Because of the power of Jacob’s lineage and training, when he was with Laban he was empowered, while maintaining his deeper spiritually integrated strength, to overcome Laban’s entrapment of him and his family. Laban’s influence did not fragment Jacob or pull him into the dark side. Instead, he became spiritually stronger from this challenge, and, upon completing his time with Laban, Jacob still held the integration of the spiritual and the physical.
Our spiritual task is to sanctify ourselves. Sanctify our relationships. Sanctify our communities. Sanctify the land. Sanctify the world. Sanctify and bring holiness to everything. This is the deeper meaning of the liberation path in our Western culture.
A liberated person stays faithful to the truth without knowing where it is going. There are no guarantees. We must keep quiet and follow the truth. This has been my journey. Now a new journey begins – one of world service and clarity of world teaching. Simply put – sanctify every thing… including yourself and your own awareness. In this way we raise the physical world into the spiritual world.
May everyone be and live in the holistic holiness of the moment.
Rabbi Gabriel Cousens, MD, MD(H)