The 10 Principles

The  10 Principles, or'Sefirot' as they are commonly referred to, are at the heart of Kabbalistic psychology. In practical terms (i.e. how it affects you and me in our daily lives), all human understanding and experience is channelled through the 10 Principles. These are divided into 2 major categories - 3 of mind and 7 of emotion. The whole integrated nature of this process is appropriately known as the Etz Hayim - The Tree of Life.

Unfortunately, too often, the challenges, pressures and frustrations of everyday life, together with our lack of awareness of the interplay between mind and emotion, lead to us short-circuiting the mind functions and defaulting to lower-level, and often counter-productive, emotional reactions of anger, stress, anxiety and depression.      

The 3 Dynamics of MIND (Rational)

  1. Hokhmah - The Capacity for Wisdom (Inspiration and Creativity, but also Self-Righteousness and Dogmatism)
  2. Binah - The Capacity for Understanding (Lucidity and Intelligibility, but also Doubtfulness and Insecurity)
  3. Da'at - The Capacity for Knowledge (Insight and Perception, but also Arrogance and Egotism)

The 7 Dynamics of EMOTION

Primary/Internal Emotions (Active)

  1. Hesed - The Capacity for Loving-Kindness (Altruism and Empathy, but also Suffocation and Manipulation)
  2. Gevurah - The Capacity for Self-Discipline (Moderation and Restraint, but also Reclusiveness and Fearfulness )
  3. Tiferet - The Capacity for Compassion (Authenticity and Self-Awareness, but also Depression and Anguish)
Secondary/External Emotions (Tactical)
  1. Netzah - The Capacity for Perseverance (Determination and Fortitude, but also Authoritarianism and Intimidation)
  2. Hod - The Capacity for Humility (Foresight and Optimism, but also Evasiveness and Narcissism)
  3. Yesod - The Capacity for Commitment (Assertiveness and Courage, but also Indifference and Detachment)
Physical Action
  1. Malkhut - The Capacity for Expression (Harmony and Serenity, but also Indolence and Discord)

An 11th Principle?

Keter - The Capacity for Thought & Experience

The first principle, Hokhmah, starts with a given, namely that we have an innate capacity for formulating thoughts, feelings and experiences. However, what is obviously missing from this process is the nature of their origin, since they clearly don't just spring from nowhere.

This is where Keter fits in.

Keter, which means crown and implies sovereignty, is the funnel through which all thought and experience is channelled. The reason it is not directly included as a principle is mainly because it is so fundamental, acting as a basis for all the other principles, but also simply because we do not have any control as to what enters our minds, only how we choose to respond to whatever thoughts subsequently arise.

In practice, Keter is included in The Tree of Life, through Da'at, which is the Capacity for Knowledge,  and is its practical implication, transforming, as it does, abstract constructs into viable realities. Da'at is also the link between the intellect and emotions.     

 The 10 Principles are used in conjunction with Soul Dynamics. For more information contact Daniel Anderson at daniel@tiferet.co.uk