And if I die before I wake
Just one more thing to contemplate
Rabbi Kushner: I think the best way to understand it, Krista, is to teach, remind you of two Hebrew words that are in kabbalistic language much more important than their normal definitions. The first word is yaish. And it's sort of untranslated. If you held my feet to the fire I'd say it translated as is-ness. Being-ness. And yaish refers to virtually everything in creation. Anything that has a beginning or an end, that has the spatial coordinates, that has a definition, that is bordered by other things, and it's not just material reality. I mean, love has a beginning, it has an end. Beauty can have a definition. And, it's not bad. It's not something to be renounced. I mean, anybody who has tried to live in the world knows that it is the world of yaish. You and I are yaish. Our microphones are yaish. The room, the city of San Francisco is yaish. Everything is yaish. Yaish is not bad. It's only bad if you think that's all there is.
Turns out there is only one thing that's not yaish. It has no beginning, it has no ends, it's not bordered by anything, it has no definition, it has no spatial coordinates. You probably can't say as much about it as I'm about to try to say, it is the opposite of yaish. It is called Ein Sof — without end. Literally it means nothing. But with a capital N. Because if I said it was something, you know, you've got to stay with the logic here. If I said something, then you will say well it's next to another thing. And the Kabbalists being serious about logic also, they are very logical, no, the only way we can talk about this non-yaish thing is to call it no-thing or nothing, and that becomes Ein Sof, and that has something to do with God, the source of everything of yaish.
Everything in the world is made of Ein Sof. Everything in the world is the wave of which the Ein Sof, or God, is the ocean. And our knowledge our knowledge of the ocean is largely based on the way it manifests itself in the waves. That is the yaish. So my closest I can come to learning about Ein Sof and God is by talking to you, or looking at a tree, or planting one.
(--from On Being, Transcript for Lawrence Kushner — Kabbalah and the Inner Life of God, May 15, 2014)
I learned this, at least, by my experiment; that if one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours. He will put some things behind, will pass an invisible boundary; new, universal, and more liberal laws will begin to establish themselves around and within him; or the old laws be expanded, and interpreted in his favor in a more liberal sense, and he will live with the license of a higher order of beings. In proportion as he simplifies his life, the laws of the universe will appear less complex, and solitude will not be solitude, nor poverty poverty, nor weakness weakness. If you have built castles in the air, your work need not be lost; that is where they should be. Now put the foundations under them.
(-- Thoreau, Walden, 323- 324)
“Myself I cannot see the persistence of the artist type. I see no need for the individual man of genius in such an order. I see no need for martyrs. I see no need for vicarious atonement. I see no need for the fierce preservation of beauty on the part of a few. Beauty and Truth do not need defenders, nor even expounders. No one will ever have a lien on Beauty and Truth; they are creations in which all participate. They need only to be apprehended; they exist externally. Certainly, when we think of the conflicts and schisms which occur in the realm of art, we know that they do not proceed out of love of Beauty or Truth. Ego worship is the one and only cause of dissension, in art as in other realms. The artist is never defending art, but simply his own petty conception of art. Art is as deep and high and wide as the universe. There is nothing but art, if you look at it properly. It is almost banal to say so yet it needs to be stressed continually: all is creation, all is change, all is flux, all is metamorphosis.”
― Henry Miller, originally in “Of Art and the Future,” a wide-ranging essay on war, art, technology, the role of women in society, and mankind’s future, eventually published in Sunday After the War (public library) in 1944. From "Brain Pickings" http://www.brainpickings.org/index.php/2012/11/07/henry-miller-of-art-and-the-future/