The Primordial Fire

The burly, bearded man addressed us in an accent of proper Queen’s English mixed with some heavy Brooklynese, “Imagine spending your life climbing the corporate ladder only to find out when you reach the top that it’s up against the wrong wall.” His name was Adam, and he was the special guest at one of our monthly meetings of the Small Business Club of NJ, which I had started attending when I ran Inhouse. Adam was a South African, self-employed, insurance salesman who was really best at selling himself. Regal in demeanor and yet a bit of a slouch, he was slightly balding, very overweight, and a smoker who ran a weekly newspaper column on business management that was supposedly on its way to being a syndicated radio program. Adam was sure to let us know that he had also written a book, which was only available via an eight-hundred number, and, that he had a Winnebago for sale if anyone was interested. The clincher was, that prior to his entrepreneurial endeavors, Adam was a rabbi out on Long Island.

A rabbi-turned-salesman was exactly what I was looking for. I needed that Jewish perspective on my awakening experience, and he was just the guy to speak to. In the waiting area of ARI, Adam’s office, there were framed pages from the Who’s Who books all featuring himself, and just in case you missed those, the books themselves were on the coffee-table. The entire office was painted in a bluish-gray with ox blood colored carpeting, red wine leather and cherry wood furniture. The wall behind his desk was nothing but books touching on every subject from Fair Practices to collections of quotations, and the art on the walls included black and white photography of his family, historical Israeli landmarks, a Chagall poster, and a caricature of the stereotypical salesman. On his desk was a dark green, well-doodled blotter, little mind-occupying fidget toys, piles of papers, a soldering wire sculpture of a man with a briefcase standing on a wooden platform that read ‘Salesman’, more books - with their spines facing me - and the remote for the television, which sat in the DAD mug along with his pens and pencils. Adam was wearing an unfitted suit and a shirt that was a size or two too small, so it was little tight in the belly. He loosened his tie, unbuttoned his collar with both hands, and asked, “How can I help you Mikel?”

After taking him through the entire story of my awakening, Adam simply asked me why I had chosen him to tell this to. Clearly not in his office for an insurance policy or a Winnebago, I asked Adam, as a former rabbi, to help me try and understand. “Mikel, because what you experienced wasn’t formulated in words you certainly can’t expect it to be explained in words. Sometimes you find things out simply by your own awareness. It’s a very different kind of knowing.” he told me. With a more somber tone to his voice, he went on to explain, “The light you saw, Mikel, is more commonly referred to as a metaphor for human awareness. Psalm 36:10; In Your Light do we see Light. A light glowing brightly in a place somewhere between energy and matter. The Holy One spoke, “Let there be light and there was light” to establish creation. אור מאוחסן בפנים or the light stored within. The mystery of the Ayn-Sof. The Infinite One Himself. The One who is Light. Adam continued, in Hebrew, and then translated to me, “My children, since my light is your light, and your light is my light, let us go together. Praised are You O Lord, the One who forms Light. Mikel, your journey is nothing more than your personal evolution of consciousness.” In both the Torah, and in dreams, there are no coincidences. Everything has a reason. All the parts are indispensable. As your awareness blossoms, so does the realization that you are in all things as all things are within you. Materialism and idealism become One.

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