“My heart leaps up when I behold
A rainbow in the sky:
So was it when my life began;
So it is now I am a man:
So be it when I shall grow old;
Or let me die!
The child is father of the man;
And I could wish my days to be
Bound each to each by natural piety.”
He was speaking of the transcendent power of nature in our lives.
Judaism teaches of that power with the arboreal holiday of Tu B’Shvat.
Tu B’Shvat reaches deeper than the roots of a tree, deeper than the surface of ceremony.
The mystics of old taught that Tu B’Shvat teaches us of the four realms of outer and inner-life. To the Kabbalists, Tu B’Shvat became a net of interconnection, and a powerful search engine for our inner-net.
Assiyah – the first world, is the world of action. It is the world in which we assemble and shape things and lives. It is the physical world represented by earth and the season of Winter. In the world of Assiyah, we must have hard shells and be thick skinned. We face the cold hard reality of this realm of existence. And yet…
When we can get beyond the surface, crack the nut, break the shell, there is such a sweetness to this life, a fruitiness, a fruitfulness in our day to day existence. And when we discover the munificence made manifest in the mundane, we discover G.
Yetzirah, the second world, the most vulnerable, is the world of Formation. It is the world of transformation. It is the emotional world represented by water and the season of Spring. We make beautiful and useful works of art from clay and wood and steel. We are transformed; from weakness and fear and hurt to healing and courage and compassion. And in our struggle, in the tests and lessons of transformation, we discover G.
Briyah, the third world, is the world of Creation. It is the world of thoughts represented by air and the season of summer. Where once there was nothing something blossoms. A thought, an idea is created and the world is changed. And, in that moment of creation when thought replaces no thought, we discover G.
Atzilut, the fourth world, is the world of Emanation. It is the purely spiritual world represented by fire. In the Autumn world of Atzilut, It is a realm of being and not being. In the world of Atzilut, we seek the awareness beyond awareness and then to let it go, and so, discover G.
Reb Nachman of Bratslav wrote;
“Master of the Universe,
grant me the ability to be alone;
may it be my custom to go outdoors each day
among the trees and grass – among all growing things
and there may I be alone, and enter into prayer,
to talk with the One to whom I belong.
May I express there everything in my heart,
and may all the foliage of the field –
all grasses, trees, and plants –
awake at my coming,
to send the powers of their life into the words of my prayer
so that my prayer and speech are made whole
through the life and spirit of all growing things,
which are made as one by their transcendent Source.
May I then pour out the words of my heart
before your Presence like water, O Lord,
and lift up my hands to You in worship,
on my behalf, and that of my children!”