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Expansion, Contraction & Harmony

Last week, I introduced the concept of finding and working on the Midot and our emotional world. You might have seen the Kabbalistic Tree of Life recognizable for its circles and distinct shape and pattern.

What are the circles? How do the emotions relate to each other? What does their physical representation on the chart tell us about their impact in our emotional world? The Tree of Life includes the 10 internal faculties that every human is created with. Three of them are intellectual and seven of them are emotional. The pattern is one on the right, one on the left then center and so on.

The right side denotes openness and expansion the left side is for boundaries and contraction. The middle is the harmony and the container that carries both expansion and contraction.

Without getting into each of the Midot, I'd like to focus on this pattern of expansion, contraction, and harmony. It's a theme that is present in so many different areas of our lives; internally and as we engage in the world. It is a map to being able to engage most effectively. The right side is where curiosity, creativity, new ideas, generosity and anything that is expansive and gives comes from. While this may seem to be only positive, the shadow side expansiveness is chaos, too many ideas that don't come to fruition, giving without discernment or boundaries.

The left side is contraction. But it contracts in order to direct the energy from the right into the places where it is most appropriate. Like the banks of a river or the shore at the beach. These boundaries keep the water in its body lest they become a force of destruction should they come onto land. The contraction also brings order to ideas so that they can be implemented and carried out.

The center is able to hold both the expansion and the contraction, which operate somewhat in a vacuum without awareness or acceptance of the other. The center is associated with harmony and compassion because it is an empathetic witness and then uses that information to inform the next steps. The center is associated with truth because truth is not afraid to see that there are many sides to any given situation. It acknowledges and can hold even contradictory realities without needing to one or the other to be right.

As we get closer to the holiday of Shavuot, time of the giving of the Torah, we will explore the connection of Torah with the element of truth and the number 3.

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