Soaring upwards
Can be like reaching down

Pushing forward

Can be like pushing back

Going right

Can be like Going left

Within is within

All things begin

And end at the cross roads

–GraalBaum 2013



This world-mountain was Nizir to the Chaldeans, Olympus to the Greeks, Hara Berezaiti to the Persians of the Avesta, the later Alborz and Elburz; a transfer, as says Mme. Ragozin, of ‘mythical heavenly geography to the earth.’ This mountain—the solar hill of the Egyptians—we shall again refer to in the next two or three chapters. At its apex springs, the heaven tree on which the solar bird is perched. From its roots spring the waters of life—the celestial sea, which, rushing adown the firmament, supplies the ocean which circumscribes the earth or falls directly in rain. At their fountain these springs are guarded by a goddess. In Egypt Nut, the goddess of the oversea, leans from the branches of the heavenly persea and pours forth the celestial water. In the Vedas, Yama, lord of the waters, sits in the highest heaven in the midst of the heavenly ocean under the tree of life, which drops the nectar Soma, and here, on the ‘navel of the waters,’ matter first took form. In the Norse, the central tree Yggdrasil has at its roots the spring of knowledge guarded by the Norns, the northern Fates; two swans the parents of all those of earth, float there. In Chaldea the mighty tree of Eridu, centre of the world, springs by the waters. The Avesta gives a very complete picture—Iran is at the centre of the seven countries of the world; it was the first created, and so beautiful, that were it not that God has implanted in all men a love for their own land, all nations would crowd into this the loveliest land. To the east somewhere, but still at the centre of the world, rises the ‘Lofty Mountain,’ from which all the mountains of the earth have grown, ‘High Haraiti;’ at its

summit is the gathering place of waters, out of which spring the two trees, the heavenly Haoma (Soma), and another tree which bears all the seeds that germinate on earth. This heavenly mountain is called ‘Navel of Waters,’ for the fountain of all waters springs there, guarded by a majestic and beneficent goddess. In Buddhist accounts, the waters issue in four streams like the

Eden from this reservoir, and flow to the cardinal points, each making one complete circuit in its descent. In the Persian Bundahish there are two of these heavenly rivers flowing east and west. To the Hindus the Ganges is such a heavenly stream. ‘The stream of heaven was called by the Greeks Achelous.’ The Nile in Egypt, the Hoang-Ho in China, and the Jordan to the Jews, seem to have been celestial rivers. This mountain of heaven is often figured in Christian art with the four rivers issuing from under the Throne of God.

Sir John Maundeville gives an account of the earthly Paradise quite perfect in its detailed scheme. It is the highest place on earth, nearly reaching to the circle of the moon (as in Dante), and the flood did not reach it. ‘And in the highest place, exactly in the middle, is a well that casts out the four streams’—Ganges, Nile, Tigris, and Euphrates. ‘And men there beyond say that all the sweet waters of the world above and beneath take their beginning from the well of Paradise, and out of that well all water come and go.






It is precisely the challenge involved

in using inadequate words

that drives the mind

beyond all words…

At the borders of speech

we open ourselves

to the positive value of silence….

Literary reading,

through its complexity, its music,

its suggestiveness, points to a fuller realm of being.

–Edward k Kaplan (citing Abraham Joshua Heschel)

Zhungzi and Huizi roamed on the bridge over River Hao. Zhuangzi said, “The tiao fish come out roaming, free and at ease (chuyou congrong). This is the joy of fish!.”


Huizi said, “You are not a fish, how can you know the joy of fish?”


Zhuangzi said, “You are not me, how can you know that I do not know the joy of fish?”

Huizi said, “I am not you, indeed I do not know you. You, indeed, are not a fish, that you do not know the joy of fish is completely clear.”

Zhuangzi said, “I beg to seek the beginning. For you have to have said ‘How can you know the joy of fish,’ it is as if you already knew that I know it and thus asked me. I know it by standing on the river Hao.”

Two modes of knowledge and reasoning are juxtaposed here. Huizi’s certainty is based on the logic of difference: analogous distinctions or disjunctions between man and fish, and between himself and Zhuangzi. Zhuangzi, by contrast, plays on the logic of fluid boundaries and claims to overcome the division of self and other. Instead of meeting Huizi’s logical argument on its own terms, he radically redefines it and affirms intuitive communion: he knows the joy of fish by standing on River Hao. Huizi concedes to not knowing Zhuangzi; Zhuangzi for his part must presume to know Huizi’s mind, even as he knows the fish. He attributes motives and emotions to Huizi’s question: implicit recognition of Zhuangzi’s own knowledge, possibly envy and irritation. The key word is you (roam, wander, play), which describes the movement of both Zhuangzi and Huizi, as well as that of the fish: the repetition here marks empathic continuity. Roaming is associated with the state of being free, at ease, and disinterested, whereby the mind can be most creative and best apprehend the world. To roam, wander, or play is also to overcome boundaries, to move from one state of being to another, to achieve the self –transformation in Daoist transcendence of the opposites of self and other, dreaming and waking, life and death.

Wai-Yee Li (On Becoming a fish, Paradoxes of immortality and enlightenment in Chinese literature)

Spiritual practice is essentially prayer. There are three forms of prayer: first, canonical prayer, for instance the Lord’s prayer; second, personal prayer, whose best model is given by the Psalms; third, the contemplative prayer of the heart; this is mystical spirituality, which requires certain conditions. The story of the “Russian Pilgrim” offers an image of it; also Hindu texts about japa-yoga, methodical invocation.

–Fritjhof Schuon


Having unalterable opinions with an air of self-confidence, rejecting society with distaste for the people involved in it, and engaging in intellectual discussions while cursing and slandering others are merely signs of self-righteousness. That’s what the scholars in the mountains and valleys do – those people who remove themselves from the world and would prefer to either grow old and withered or drown themselves in a deep river.


The people in the villages have a saying:
“Most people place importance on profits. A person of principles places importance on his reputation. A person with high ideals values devotion. The sage treasures his essence.”
Therefore, pureness can be called that which isn’t sullied. Genuineness can be called that which doesn’t depart from spirit. One who has the ability to place the most importance in genuine pureness can be called a True Person.
Zhuangzi Chapter 15: Unalterable Opinions

The Complete Works of Chuang Tzu


The esoteric doctrine of the unification of opposites is not limited to the Kabbalah. It is, for example, the core of Taoism, whose symbol of the union of Yin and Yang decorates the Korean Flag. It can be shown that also the Israeli flag, carrying the symbol of “the Star of David” is just such a visual expression of the union of opposites, and the most ready illustration of this would be the union of the “earthly Jerusalem” (which is constructed from the ground up) and the “Heavenly City” (constructed, or which flows, from heaven to earth).

I would go further in this Midrash: if the union of the heavenly and of the earthly is to be seen on the flag, then the call for the union of opposites must be found even closer – in our sacred names. It is known that Israel-Jacob represents, in the Kabbalah, just that balance of Hesed and Din, called Tiferet or Rahamim (compassion). Now our insistence to call Jerusalem by the name of “Yerushalayim” with its strange twainess will show – yar’eh – the workings of the concept of “Shalayim” – of that whole (shalem) which is made of the union of two equal and opposite parts joined together. By our daily mention of Jerusalem we constantly evoke, even if unaware, the expectation that she will demonstrate to us this unification, the making of peace and of wholeness out of full conflict.

The reader is likely to comment now that there is no need to go to such an involved Midrash to say that Jerusalem should be “the City of Peace”. It is quite commonplace to say that the “Shalem” of Jerusalem (and forget that confusion “Shalayim”) really means “shalom”, that is, Peace. I would agree, but my point is that this message is coded in the name of Jerusalem, both in that more esoteric way and in another, more blatant way; so much so that we usually refuse to hear the words that come to our ear. These two modes, together, give a prescription for a peace-making process based on Jerusalem. “


Man, of this nature is always astir; he is always busy, because he wants to do! The candidate on the path comes to fathom the mystery which lies in Lao-Tze’s words “not-doing”, not letting the I-being take precedence. It is He, the Lord of all Life, who fashions the willing and the doing in you. When the candidate is united again with “It”, with the path, with Tao, with the Gnosis, he has entered into a bond of voluntary obedience with the eternal, with the kingdom of God within him, with the Jesus-Man within him. Then it comes to pass that the other one, who cannot be explained from this nature, does, lives and is.”



– Catharose De Petri

Today we explore walking meditation. This can be done in a number of ways. Here we explore the Wu Wei walking meditation.


A Kabbalistic version can be done by the following exercise also.



The Taoist practice of “aimless wandering” through places of great natural beauty is a wonderful way to cultivate Wu Wei. As we practice, little by little we revive our capacity to move in the world with the kind of joyful ease and spontaneity that we see in young children. At the same time, we are nourished deeply by the elemental energies – by the plants, minerals and animals, the earth and the sky.


Difficulty: Easy

Time Required: 30-45 minutes, or longer if you’d like

Here’s How:

1.    Choose a place to practice. This might be your neighborhood park, the courtyard of an apartment complex, a mountain meadow, or a forest with a gentle stream flowing through it. What’s important is that it be a place where you can connect with the elements of the natural world, and a place that you feel inspired by.

2.    Sit or lie down directly on the earth. (You can use a blanket underneath, if you’d prefer.) Close your eyes. Take a couple of deep slow breaths, and feel your connection to the earth beneath you. Feel the breath moving into and out of your body. Let go of any thoughts of past or future, as though there were no past or future – only this delicious moment, here and now.

3.    Now open your eyes, and let your gaze gently scan your surroundings, noticing and appreciating the beauty of this place. Notice also what you’re hearing (birdsong perhaps), smelling (the scent of pine needles) and feeling (a gentle breeze on your face).

4.    Next, let yourself begin to wander – to stroll about in this beautiful place, without an agenda of any sort. Be guided by what catches your eye, or perhaps a mysterious sound, or perhaps just your intuition saying: “let’s see what lies in this direction.”

5.    Feel free to pause whenever you’d like, to sit or lie down again, or to examine something in great detail: to notice the texture of lichen on a rock, or the innermost folds of a blossoming rose. As you explore in this way, do your best to remain at a feeling and sensing level, without a lot of mental analysis.

6.    If you notice that you’ve gotten lost in thoughts of the past or the future, no problem – simply bring yourself back to the practice: to wandering about, carefree as a child, in this beautiful place, letting your curiosity and gratitude guide you.

7.    When your allotted time for the practice is up, or when your intuition tells you it’s time to end the session, sit down once again, and take a couple of deep slow breaths. Generate a feeling of gratitude for having the opportunity to spend time in such a beautiful place. Notice how you feel, in your body.

8.    Then bring that energy with you, though the rest of your day!


1.    Don’t worry if this feels a bit awkward at first. Many of us are so used to structuring our days with agendas and schedules and check-lists, that moving in a more spontaneous way can feel a bit odd at first. But you’ll soon remember how wonderful it is!

2.    Be clear about the difference between this practice of “aimless wandering” and simply spacing out! Spacing out is what happens when we are drawn into thoughts of the past or future – when we get sucked into a “movie” being created by our thoughts. Aimless wandering brings us into the fields of our senses, and into a direct relationship with the elements of the natural world.

3.    Notice the difference between honoring your own intuitive desire to move in one direction or another, and engaging in judgment. The sweetness of the “aimless wandering” practice is that there is no absolute “right” or “wrong” way to do it. Each of us discovers what’s right for us!

4.    As you become more adept at the practice, your sensitivity to the energies of the place will increase. Enjoy this!

What You Need:

·         a precious human body

·         a place of great natural beauty

·         a blanket to lie on, if you’d like

Suggested Reading

“A Guide To Walking Meditation” by Thich Nhat Hanh




The Miracle Tree: Demystifying the Qabalah







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