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Meditating on the Holy Name

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This picture shows a woman sitting in meditation.  She is practicing an ancient Jewish meditative technique where one visualizes the four letters of the Holy Name of God (YHWH) in the mind’s eye.  This Name is the most important and powerful Name in the Kabbalah as its four letters represent all Ten Sefirot. 

The first letter - Yod י - relates to Chochmah (Wisdom) often associated with the mind in meditation (or the right brain).  The point on top of the Yod hints at Keter (Crown) associated with the soul - most of which is above and beyond our body.  The second letter - Heh ה - relates to Binah (Understanding) often associated with the heart (or the left brain). 

The third letter - Vav ו (I think the pronunciation should be Wow) - whose gematria (number value) is six, relates to the six Sefirot that comprise the body.  These are Chesed (Loving-kindness) and Gevurah (Strength) the two arms; Tiferet (Beauty) the torso; Netzach (Victory) and Hod (Splendor) the two legs; and Yesod (Foundation) the genitals. 

The fourth letters - Heh ה - relates to Malchut (Kingship) one’s partner.  This Holy Name is traditionally pronounced Adonai, but it refers to the Eternal Present - always was, always is, and always will be.  The Name is One.

I made a woman here because Malchut is associated with the feminine Shechinah (the Divine Presence) - God within or immanent as opposed to God without or transcendent (masculine). 

This woman is looking at God within herself and is also being aware that the form of her body is in the image of this Holy Name.  She is feeling herself in the image and likeness of this One Name. See how she is feeling her head as a Yod, her shoulders and arms as the first Heh (in red), her spine as a (yellow) Wow, and her pelvis and legs as the final Heh (in blue)?

This woman is also feeling her correspondence to the Ten Sefirot of the Kabbalah (represented by the Tree of Life - circles with branching trees joined through a network of lines that unites them all).  The Sefirot are ten filters or containers for the Eternal and Infinite Light of the One God that the kabbalists call the Ein Sof

Above her head is Keter (Crown).  At either side of her head are Chochmah (Wisdom) and Binah (Understanding).   On her shoulders are Chesed (Love) and Gevurah (Strength).  On her chest is Tiferet (Beauty or Harmony).  On her knees are Netzach (Victory) and Hod (Splendor).  Her interlocked fingers over her genitals represent Yesod (Foundation) and beneath her feet is Malchut (Kingship) - the ability to reproduce in her own likeness.

A meditation I like to do is this.  Feel your body as the Holy Name.  Breathe in Yod up into your head, then breathe out Heh down your arms, then breathe in Wow up your spine and then Breathe out the final Heh down your legs.  This is done without vocalizing the letters, just breathing them.

Many people see a connection between the Sefirot of the Kabbalah and the Chakras of the Yoga tradition.  Sometimes people ask me if this picture represents a female Buddha, and every once in a while someone will ask if I made a picture of Jesus!  Several years ago a Sufi Sheik told me that if you rotate the picture clockwise 90 degrees you can see in Arabic letters the word Allah! 

I like how many religions can be seen in this one picture, and when I read the deep thinkers, the mystics, of every tradition, I find many similarities, and all of them say that God is One.  My hope and prayer is that one day all adherents of the world’s religions will know that God is One.