Qabalah | A Kavanah Meditation, by David Chaim Smith

This is a great practice. It gathers a lot of life force and allows for a smooth and powerful opportunity for the recognition of its essential nature. The practice is derived from post-Lurianic sources obviously (such as Shaarei Kedusha), but is done in a style quite different than how such kavanot are described in the kabbalistic literature. It is almost impossible to do this style of work from the books directly without some practical translation into the context of a working meditation. No one…not even Kaplan… actual instructions for that transition. What I have given in this and in all my books is from years of working with the material. Hopefully the actual practice is clear enough that it can be done in all its detail.

A really good kavanah meditation I did every day for many many years (published in ‘Blazing Dew of Stars”):

Visualize the name AHYH (21) above the crown on the head. Prepare it for its descent as a visualization of the letters YHV (21) expanded for yetzirah (YVD HA VAV=39). Flash the word/value of dew (TaL=39) which equals the expanded letters.

Visualize the second heh (5) of that YHVH in the heart of the brain, within the scull. Visualize it as four alefs in each quadrant, with the the fifth in the center. Transform the descending 39 form of YHV to its simple letters (just YHV). Visualize them descending as dew from keter penetrating the scull. Feel the prismatic crystaline shefa dripping in to suffuse the brain. In the position of the central alef of the five, a blazing shin (300) arises to crystalize its fire at the apex of the spine, in the very center seat of the brain.

Around the shin in the center of the brain are the 13 letters of the 300 expansion of Elohim surrounding the scull. On the right are ALP LMD, on the left are YVD MM, in the center are the heh and yud. Visualize the yud above the horizontal of the heh (this implies the name YaH attributed to chochmah, partner of binah). Below the heh’s horizontal the blazing shin radiates (figure). Here, the shin represents the fire of yud’s primordial dynamism which is brought forth, just as the ruach Elohim (300) does in Genesis 1:2. Thus the 13 letter ALHYM is worn like a crown around the shin. Here the divine fire of concentration is stoked, and its radiance glows to outshine the scull and the surrounding environment, and it meets the infinite depth of space, and they merge seemlessly. This fiery illumination passes through every construct both internal and external, and the blazing seat of space is focused. Its brilliant diaphanous glow equalizes all phenomena, and it directly connects in feeling tone with the birthing pregnancy of creation.

The intensity of the shin blazing in the inner sanctum of the head at the apex of the spine can be almost unbearable. Thus, it must pass down into more grounded embodiment. Breathe the shin fire down directly into the heart. Use the in-breath to gather its fire together, and the out-breath to flow it down. Exchange this over and over to circulate its blazing. Feel its residual glow permeate the body. Do this many times in a cyclical fashion. Visualize it as a loop of mirrorlike brilliance, sparkling brightly beyond capture. Settle the blaze of the dew within the heart, as a visualization of the name YHVH, standing in vertical form. Continue the breathing, but let each in/out breath allow the name in the heart to flicker with its albash reflection MTzPTz, as black fire on white into white fire on black, back and forth. In this manner the fiery charge of the 300 can suffuse the whole of your being and temper its reflexes. Within its radiance, contemplate and bind the following kavanot.

Visualize the three expansions of the name AHYH.

They are 161, 151, 143, arrayed like this:




Concentrate on the combined values of the three expansions, which add to 455. This is the gematria of the word ha-shefa (the shefa, or shefa of the heh). Understand and recognize this connection as if it were the ‘face’ of the name AHYH. Now step out the name AHYH triangularly, in the manner of the tetractys, in four rows.

It proceeds this way:

alef (1)

alef-heh (6)

alef-heh-yud (16)

alef-heh-yud-heh (21)

The total value of the four steps is 44. This is the gematria of the word DaM (blood). This is the blood of space, inherently suffused with shefa and endemic to all appearance and non-appearance. Kabbalistically this is called the ‘back’ of the face of AHYH. Realize that the aspects of ‘front and ‘back’ comprise the totality of the mind, as in “alef is never less than two”, the

meat of the paradox. Combine their values, which are 455+44=499. This sum is the gematria of the word tzabaot.

This is a divine name appendage signifying non-dual essentiality within the appearance of relative collectivity,

translated as ‘the hosts of ’ (as in YHVH Tzabaot or Elohim Tzabaot). It corresponds to hod and netzach, the gates

of the triad NeHiY, through which the alchemical marriage of Zer Anpin and Nukvah is opened or closed. In this

kavanah it seals the names which have been elaborated into a cohesive working unit, through which mind can pass.

Once sealed in this manner, the apparitional display silently breathes through the circuitry that has been


To close, the bright space of the heart is breathed out throughout the body, joining the senses to their sense fields.

As the charged internal sensations are suffused into external appearances, the final union is sealed.

This is beyond instructions. Those who can understand will do it spontaneously. Simply rest within it.

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