Thursday, Nov 23rd 2017

The Cosmic Accordion

THE COSMIC ACCORDION

This expression, "Cosmic Accordion," was born out of necessity.  Over the years, in working with my students, I found this natural law occurring over and over again in many and varied situations.  But it had no name.

We explored it together, and after some time it finally distilled itself into these two words, which, as part of our vocabulary of condensed communication, shortened the space between thought and action in our actual class sessions. Thus, we are able to talk about it, to see it, to reflect upon it, to BE it.

The Cosmic Accordion is the journey between the infinitely small and the infinitely big, back and forth and back again. This process is inherent in the study of any art.  By going deeply into the creative process and deeply into the self, one will eventually come upon the source of creativity – a source that is infinitely vast.



The artistic process begins with the artist's talent.  Added to this is that which we call "inspiration" and what then remains is to manifest it, actualize it, and physicalize it.  This is the artist's or the mystic's real work.  Once the source of inspiration has been tapped (the infinitely large) the challenge is to bring it "down to earth," to materialize the realization for others to see, hear or feel so that it might be appreciated and communicated.

This funneling is called, in Hebrew, TZIMTZUM or condensation.  The artist, or the mystic, becomes the vehicle, vessel, channel through which the infinitely big (inspiration) is poured and gets molded by the artist's masterly actions.  This renders it visible or audible or tactile as the case may be.  In mime, it is the process of visibilizing the invisible.

For the mime, the body itself is the vessel.  Its shape, form, gesture, rhythm, attitude is what manifests that which is invisible and infinite. The mime must BECOME that which he wishes to render.  He is the medium itself, as well as its creator.  He is the color, the musicality; he is the very thought made manifest.

In the actual exchange between artist and audience, the artist hopes to re-create the experience of the infinitely large so that it can be passed on to those who are sharing or participating in the creation.  When the audience receives it, in its condensed, physicalized, manifested form, it goes into the unconscious as an experience or perception, and is thus returned to its source -- it has become, once again, infinitely vast.  Thus, the circle is complete.

This same Cosmic Accordion is active constantly in the spiritual quest.  In meditation and divine contemplation, we wish to experience, even for a brief moment, the freedom from the body and its physical limits.  In these moments, there is often an experience of being a part of the vast cosmic ocean.  We are a mere speck -- infinitely small in the cosmic scheme – but when we merge with this ocean, we feel that we have BECOME IT in all its vastness.

On the spiritual path, one learns to look within the self for many answers and to find all the expressions of the universe represented within the limits of the human body.  There is continual interplay between the large and the small.  One is like a pendulum, swinging back and forth between the opposites ever seeking to find the balance, the middle pillar, where one can be in both "places" at once.  One encounters here the paradox of that which is apparently insignificant on the one hand but is tremendously significant on the other.  All the great teachers throughout the course of history have presented their wisdom in this way -- condensing, from the greater vision, their spiritual knowledge into the material world.

For the Kabbalist the Cosmic Accordion is a ubiquitous principle, many variations of which can be found in every corner of the Kabbalistic literature.  In one instance, it can be seen as the journey downward through the spectrum of the four worlds -- Atzilut, the world of emanation; Beriah, the world of creation; Yetzirah, the world of formation; Asiah, the world of making, of matter.

Through "inspiration," one may be graced with the ability to pull the idea from the world of Atzilut (the upper, big triangle) down through the world of creation and the world of formation into the world of making.  In other words, it is the process of creation itself, or the formula for bringing that which is hidden into the manifest world, from the invisible to the visible.  This process allows for the possibility of communicating that specific idea or concept, for making manifest in the physical world that which is ordinarily inaccessible by usual means.

This experiential concept is also used by the Kabbalists to interpret the ladder of Jacob.

In this case, it is the "angels" which descend, ascend, back and forth in the eternal vertical process of manifesting the God within.  It is a participation in the great plan or scheme of human evolution from matter to spirit, from spirit to matter; the grand cosmic theatre created to "entertain" the angels, humans, animals and all the kingdoms through which the Great One, the unnamable, manifests himself.


From "The Invisible Stairway: Kabbalistic Meditations of the Hebrew Letters"
By Samuel Ben-Or Avital  Page 234
(c)1982 – 2006 Samuel Avital, Le Centre du Silence, Boulder, Colorado USA

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