In this article, I will present a quick introduction of the Tree of Life that is found in the Kabbalah. But before discussing the Tree of Life itself, let’s take a moment to define the word “Kabbalah”. In simple terms, Kabbalah is a set of mystical teachings that originated from Judaism. It’s worth pointing out that the Kabbalah is not part of Judaism per se, but instead (due to its mystical nature) it transcends Judaism.
Note that mystics, which are found in all religions, are people who earnestly seek an intimate connection with God on a personal level (without any type of mediator). Part of connecting with God is understanding Him. To this end, the Kabalistic Tree of Life is a representation of the various aspects of God.
In spirituality, it is understood that each person includes something inside of them which is divine and eternal. This part of self is not only spiritually connected to everything and everyone, but also is a part of the “body” of God itself. Therefore, when studying the Tree of Life and its various parts, we are actually studying the aspects of the Self.
The Aspects of the Tree of Life
The “aspects” of the Tree of Life are officially termed “Sephiroth” (singular: Sephirah), and each has a name from the Hebrew language. To make things simple, this article won’t use the Hebrew names, but instead use a number/letter designation:
1A: The origin point. Pure love/light.
1B: (divine) potential / (divine) wisdom
1C: (divine) purpose
2A: (divine) compassion
2B: (divine) will
2C: Christ Self
3A: Conscious Thought
3C: Subconscious Mind
3D: Physical Body / “Spirit made manifest”
The top level (1A-1B-1C) is what could be thought of as the spiritual level. The middle layer is the soul level, and the bottom level is the physical level. Now let’s take a look at how these match up with various religious and spiritual teachings.
The premise behind holistic medicine is that there are actually four “bodies”, and each one needs to be in balance to maintain health. These four bodies are the physical (3D), mental (3A), emotional (3A), and spiritual (3C) bodies.
It may not make sense why I equate the (3C) subconscious as the spiritual body, so let me explain. First of all, the actual spiritual body consists of multiple levels (i.e. which in reality are all of the top and middle level aspects). However, the aspects at these levels are never off-balance. In contrast, the subconscious mind is where we find our false belief systems, which in turn block us from knowing the truth contained in our spiritual body aspects. Therefore, the “spiritual” body that must be balanced in holistic medicine is the subconscious mind.
The Four Elements
Another tradition that comes up in spiritual teaching is the concept of the four elements, namely: fire, water, air, and earth. Supposedly, these four elements comprise everything that exists. Our modern science would tend to disagree with this idea, but only if we are taking the concept literally. But actually, the 4 elements are symbols of the 4 bodies.
Water is the emotional body. Air is the mental body. Earth is the physical body. And fire is understood to be the “etheric body”, which (although it is not an exact representation per se) relates to the spiritual body.
Perhaps not surprisingly, Jesus Christ also talked about the Tree of Life in the Kabbalah. However, he used different terminology that has been interpreted to mean something possibly quite different than the original intention. When Jesus discussed “the Father”, he was referring to the top level of the Tree of Life. The Son of God (the Christ self) references aspects of the middle layer. The son of man references the bottom level. The teachings of Jesus explain that each of us has our personal Christ (or mediator) that allows us to connect to God.
The Chakra System
The major chakras in our body are not just energy centers; they also symbolize the various aspects of the Tree of Life:
1A: The origin point. Pure love/light. = crown chakra (connection to Divine Source / Light)
1B: (divine) potential / (divine) wisdom = 3rd eye chakra (seeing spiritual truth)
1C: (divine) purpose = throat chakra (living one’s truth)
2A: (divine) compassion = heart chakra (giving and receiving love)
2B: (divine) will = also heart chakra
2C: Christ Self = also heart chakra
3A: Conscious Thought = solar plexus chakra (expression of will, personal power, and mental abilities)
3B: Emotions = sacral chakra (center of creativity and pleasure)
3C: Subconscious Mind
3D: Physical Body / “Spirit made manifest” = root chakra (connected with Mother Earth)
Ascended Master Teachings
There is a group of teachings that started with Theosophy (founded by Helena Blavatsky in the late 1800s) and are related by the fact that they have been channeled by various ascended masters. These teachings include the works of Alice Bailey, Janice McClure, Godfre Ray King, and Joshua David Stone. One of the common elements found in many of these teachings is the idea that there are three levels of self.
The top level is the unified, Higher Self or “I Am Presence”. In other words: this is the aspect of self that is NOT in the realm of duality. It is the “God within us”. The middle layer is the soul, which is the mediator between the Divine self and lower self. Interestingly, each soul is split up into several “extensions”, which comprise the bottom level. Therefore, each individual person in a physical body is actually linked to the soul via an extension, or “piece” of the soul.
The soul extension is worth being aware of, because it means that each soul could potentially have more than one physical incarnation at a time. (In many cases, however, the other soul extensions are not incarnated at the same time, but instead are performing other various tasks and functions at other planes of reality and/or dimensions).
Spiritual evolution in the context of Ascended Master teachings involves reaching and passing certain levels of initiation. At one such level, the soul extension will actually merge with the soul. At a higher level of attainment, the soul will disintegrate as consciousness merges with the “I Am Presence”. Because the soul is where karma is held, this event signifies that all karma has been balanced, and the cycle of reincarnation has been broken.
The information above was just a glimpse into the knowledge and truths contained in the Tree of Life. There is an incredible amount of information that can be gleaned from studying this teaching, and I have barely even touched the surface in this article. However, the information written about the Tree of Life is sometimes quite complicated, so the goal of this article was to provide a simple introduction to the Tree of Life that would give a foundation upon which to build further knowledge.