In the path of higher teshuva one accesses the core shadow energy. This energy — rooted, as it is in one’s most primal and essential self—is far more potent than the more staid and bland energy emanating from the more refined parts of the self.
The highest rocks fall to the lowest places.
So is it in our world of ruins and broken vessels; the highest sources of energy and light are often hidden, having fallen to the lowest and darkest places.
To have the courage to shine light into our darkness we must extend our exploration further still into the forest of our psyche. At the Great Gathering, the mystics paved a second path, the path of love.
“B’chavivuta talya milta”(it all depends on love), said Shimon Bar Yochai at the Great Gathering in the field.
Love is to perceive the G-dliness in the footsteps of the dragon. Self-love—in the nomenclature of this mystical text — is the ability to embrace and ultimately transform the shadow.
Love is not an emotion; it is rather a perception-identification complex that gives birth to an emotion. Love is to perceive the unique value of self and accept the shadow within—secure in one’s self-knowledge.
Abraham Kuk writing in Jerusalem between the World Wars taught that the purpose of living is to learn what he calls “the great art of loving.”
Ultimately what the mystics are teaching is that the path of the dragon can only be walked in love. Indeed the two approaches encouraging embracing the shadow, the path of the dragon and the path of love, are really one path.
It is rather a question of the spiritual methods used to embrace and elevate the shadow. One deals with the shadow by subduing the evil, the other, by transforming it.
If one subdues the shadow by concentrating on good and ignoring evil impulses, there is still the danger that the shadow may lurk and subvert the G-dly service.
The shadow has not been integrated and ultimately one’s spiritual self will lack integrity.
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posted on marcgafni.com