Intro: Wisdom is Not Copyrighted
“Wisdom is not copyrighted. You have to become it and make it your own.” – Kabbalist Samuel Avital
Wisdom is not copyrighted. You have to become it. These are the words of master kabbalist Samuel Avital, my teacher for the last 10 years. This is the thing he wanted me to understand.
People are searching for wisdom. We look for it in words on pages. We search for a priest, guru, or rabbi who will tell us the answers. We seek it in books, in prayers, in rituals, in monasteries and mantras, in holy places, and on meditation cushions. We repeat many rituals hoping they will help, but we nod off in piles of books, during services or meditation, and most dangerous of all, in life in general, where we fall into the same standard habits and routines, the “same old thing.”
This is where the voice of every authentic spiritual teacher pierces our malaise. Don’t fall asleep! Wake up right now to this perfect and fleeting moment of life. This is your only chance to live. Yes study, yes practice, but it is not wisdom until you stand up and live it. It is not wisdom until you walk it.
Kabbalah is a tradition that integrates the physical and spiritual into a living understanding. The kabbalists say that there is heaven (spirituality) and there is earth (the physical world) and that man is what unites the two. So holiness is everywhere. It is in the way you drink a glass of water, how you breathe, how you speak to your friend. As Moshe (Moses) says in the bible, It is not in the heavens or beyond the sea that you can complain that it is too remote for you. Rather, it is in your heart and your hand to do it. *
We have all met people who seek wisdom so they can wear it like a lecturer wears his robes, clear proof that they “know” more than others. But spirituality is not about “having” more knowledge. It is about “being”. A person can write eloquent novels about wisdom, but if they don’t know how to “be” that, it means zilch. Trying to gain knowledge is not where true understanding lies. As my teacher said to me many times, “Everyone always wants the answers. People always want you to tell them the secret. There is no secret. You are the secret.”
Spirituality is not meant to be dry, or to be dead in ancient books. It is meant to be potent, alive, the very essence of this ever-changing and unpredictable life. It is a walk through the uncharted territory of oneself, a voyage far beyond one’s horizons, a journey through space, time and being: In essence, an adventure. If you find yourself falling asleep reading rote text, then it is time for you to get up and start walking.
This is the point of the Walking Wisdom Blog. It is a reminder from myself to myself – to constantly walk and practice the great wisdom shared with me by my teacher. And it is a window into how one can begin to live and breathe the beautiful art of kabbalah, not just to theorize about it. This blog is based on the Kabbalistic knowledge shared with me by my teacher, but I believe strongly that the understandings here are in fact universal and will be helpful to anyone on an earnest spiritual path.
This past ten years of study has enriched my life in ways that I cannot begin to explain. I am eternally grateful to my teacher for sharing these things with me, and do hope this blog is able to share even a taste of that great wisdom with others.
As they say, the journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step, and I am very grateful to make this first step, dear reader, with you by my side.