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Personal Kabbalah and the Highest Learning: 

What Makes A Genius?


Penny Cohen, LCSW

What makes a genius?


Einstein said, “My comprehension of God comes from the deeply felt conviction of a superior intelligence that reveals itself in the knowable world.” We all have access to this genius state where we experience inner wisdom, increased intelligence and creativity, and infinite, unconditional love. It’s accomplished by searching for truth, love, purpose, and creative potential. One way to achieve this state is by following the path of personal Kabbalah and the Kabbalistic Tree of Life.


I came to this path by accident, upon having a spontaneous spiritual experience while going through divorce. After years of researching and questioning what happened to me, what I might have done to attract this experience and how I could reach this state in a balanced way, I was guided to Kabbalah through a lecture being given at Wainwright House, a New Age institute in Rye, NY. When I walked into the room and spotted the Tree of Life diagram, my body began to tingle like when I had the mystical experience. It was as if I understood it without knowing what I understood. It became a deep passion and yearning to know more. I learned that we can tap into the secrets of the universe intentionally and in a healthy way by following the universal laws of love and life.


Kabbalah is an ancient tradition based on the mystical interpretation of the Torah (the five books of Moses). Since Abraham is considered the father of all religions, and he passed down esoteric information to his children Isaac and Ishmael, it is considered the mystical tradition that underlies the Judaic-Greco-Christian esoteric philosophies of the West and parallels those of the East. It has been studied by people like Moses, Jesus, Maimonides, Nostradamas, Pythagoras, Isaac Newton, Carl Jung and many more philosophers, scientists, mathematicians, psychotherapists and lay people.


Kabbalah can be studied from two perspectives: “The Work of Creation,” and “The Work of the Chariot.” The “Work of Creation” studies the macro perspective of creation; the flow of light and sound vibrations, the beginning of time, the cosmos, and the structure, function and dynamics of the universe. The “Work of the Chariot,” on the other hand, is the micro perspective, or the personal path. It is the study of our individual relationship with the universe and the journey of the soul. It deals with life, death, reincarnation, love, free will, destiny and service.


The Kabbalistic Tree of Life viewed from the top down is a grand organizing diagram of the flow of light and sound vibrations and creative life forces in the universe and represents a blueprint of creation. It is a paradigm of which everything is organized around. It corresponds with the chakra system of Eastern philosophies, the seven sacraments of Christianity, the medicine wheel of Native American shamanism, Erickson’s stages of development and Carl Jung’s archetypes. It can graph the hierarchy of government, or an organizational chart in business, or even an orchestral piece.


Regarding personal, professional and spiritual growth, and looking at the diagram from the bottom up, the Tree of Life depicts the evolution of consciousness and the journey of the soul. To begin to reach higher consciousness, we can look at it from a spiritual perspective — our relationship to a higher power and what we need to do internally — as well as approaching it from a practical perspective and what actions we need to take in everyday life. Studying it offers ways to reach the wisdom of higher learning and attain our highest potential in all areas of our lives and improve the lives of those around us. Presented here is a diagram of the Tree of Life and the steps to reach higher consciousness both internally and practically. We start from the bottom up and read the chart from left to right.



Kabbalistic Tree of Life From A Psychological Perspective

(adapated from Personal Kabbalah: 32 Paths to Inner Peace and Life Purpose by Penny Cohen, LCSW. Sterling Publishing Company, 2005)


KINGSHIP: Physical World — Body and Environment

The essence of this sphere is king or kingdom. It’s the physical world and pertains to cleansing our bodies and our environment to become kingdoms and sanctuaries for Divine presence.

Internal steps:

1.Meditate: Do a relaxation and temper the senses to reach a state of inner peace.

2.Affirm: “My body is a temple for higher consciousness to reside.”

Practical steps:

1.Take good care of your body and environment; eat nutritionally, exercise regularly, get sufficient rest. The more balanced you are, the more in tune you are with the creative flow.

2.Connect with nature and others to experience the external world.

3.Clean out environmental clutter. It adds to mind clutter and zaps the creative flow.


FOUNDATION: Self Image — Ego

The essence of this sphere is to develop a firm foundation by connecting to higher consciousness through study, prayer and affirmation and living righteously, responsibly. On a practical level the firm foundation involves having a healthy self-image.

Internal steps:

1.Acknowledge a higher power. This helps develop a strong internal foundation.

2.Meditate and affirm that there is a higher power. “I acknowledge a power greater than myself.”

Practical steps:

1.Read inspirational material.

2.Develop a healthy self image.

3.Commit to live righteously, responsibly.


SPLENDOR: Mental Clarity — Thinking and Passing on Information

The essence of this sphere is to experience the splendor of a higher power by co-partnering with it and passing on Divine wisdom. It’s the area of thought and passing on information inspirationally.

Internal steps:

1.Meditate on gratefulness to a higher power and for the ability to commune and co-partner with greater intelligence.

2.Do a visualization to transform self-defeating beliefs and negative thoughts such as “I’m not important,” to something more positive like, “I’m willing to feel important.”

Practical step:

1.Notice the synchronicity of thoughts and happenings and the co-partnership with a higher power and acknowledge them through gratefulness and charity.


VICTORY: Leadership, Emotional Release and Self-Mastery — Fight or Flight Response

The essence of this sphere is eternity and victory. Victory is when we become masters over ourselves rather than slaves to conditioned patterns and emotional acting out behaviors. It’s often called the fight or flight response. When we overcome the emotional charges we open to higher sense impulses and intuition.

Internal step:

1.Meditate on having faith in a higher power. Having faith is knowing that there is a greater plan for us and that we will get not necessarily what we want, but what’s right for our souls to evolve.

Practical steps:

1.Overcome the fight or flight response (acting out impulsive instincts) and master emotions. When we release and express blocked emotions internally as well as to others and affirm a higher power we open to higher creative impulses.

2.Give to others what you need for yourself.

3.Turn sadness into joy by seeing the lighter side of things and giving joy to another.

4.Turn anxiety into tranquility by choosing peace and acting peacefully.


BEAUTY: Compassion — Awakening to the Soul

The essence of this sphere is to experience the beauty in life and the Divine. We are in touch with our Self, with open hearts. We awaken to and communicate with higher consciousness.

Internal steps:

1.Meditate to experience the beauty of Divineness.

2.Affirm “I am in touch with my soul and the Divine within me and I see the beauty in life.”

3.Since this is the area of opening to higher consciousness, many people experience celestial beings. In meditation ask for your spirit guides to come to you. They may come in the form of angels, archangels, mythic or human entities, spirits, waves of colors, pins or needles, or words, images or physical sensations.

4.This area is also the watcher over the ego. Reflect daily on your behavior by observing yourself in meditation. Rather than putting yourself down for something you didn’t like that you did, think of how you will do something differently next time by picturing it, thinking it and feeling it.

Practical steps:

1.See the beauty in everything by observing the details.

2.When dealing with another, be with that person in essence; listen with heart, soul and gut.


STRENGTH: Justice — Self Discipline

The essence of this sphere is the awe of the Divine and inner strength. At this level we work on being non-judgmental, non-critical and non-controlling. When we overcome evil urges and behave with love, we develop a deep inner strength and we experience the awe of a higher power.

Internal steps: Meditate on the awe of God and develop inner strength and self discipline to overcome evil urges. Affirm: “I am self-disciplined and live non-judgmentally and non-critically and treat people justly.


Practical steps:

1.Whatever we judge in someone else is something we haven’t resolved within ourselves. When you have an emotional charge, rather than blaming another, look at what you have to release within yourself.

2.This is the area of overcoming our “evil urges.” Practice self discipline, self control and give up slandering speech or gossip.


LOVE: Mercy — Loving-kindness

The essence of this sphere is living with unconditional love, loving-kindness and mercy. It’s the area of forgiveness, pouring out our love to others and being creatively productive.

Internal steps:

1.Meditate on unconditional love (the love that’s within) and mercy.

2.Affirm: I am merciful, pardoning, creative and live with unconditional love.

3.Forgive from the heart, not just the head. In meditation when you think of the person, notice the emotional charge in your body and pray to give it up.

Practical steps:

1.To live with unconditional love, keep yourself in a state of peace and openness throughout the day and practice right speech. (Speaking from the heart without an attitude.)

2.Practice acts of loving-kindness.

3.Follow values of love.



The essence of this sphere is understanding from a higher perspective the dynamics of what we do, why we do them and the ramifications of them. We see things from all perspectives. At this point we become a master of what we do and are constantly doing good by living our purpose.

Internal steps:

1.Meditate on understanding from a higher perspective.

2.Affirm: I am living my uniqueness and follow the Divine plan for me

Practical steps:

1.Become a visionary. Develop a vision for what you think people need that you can offer.

2.Become a master at what you do by determining what you do in your field that is unique and expand upon it.

3.Start living your vision.


WISDOM: Revelation

The essence of this sphere is to be in the flow and open to receiving Divine revelations and prophecy. We may know who we are, what we love to do, but not know who to do it with, or when. This is when we let go and wait for the “aha” experience, the spark of Divine creativity.

Internal steps:

1.Meditate on Divine revelation and prophecy. State what you want to happen, or information you want to attain, and then let go.

2.Affirm: “I am in the image of a higher power and receive wisdom.”

Practical steps:

1.Specific “aha” experiences come often when you least expect them.

2.Concentrate on something by asking questions, making commands and then let go totally by focusing on what you’re doing at all times.

3.Give yourself time to play, dance, sing, write poetry, etc. Ideas and opportunities will emerge.



The essence of this sphere is oneness, total pleasure and will. This is the union of everything. In this union there is all potential, all love, all knowing, all presence, all peace. It is the “I am that I am.”

Internal steps:

1.Meditate on oneness: All light, love and wisdom

2.Affirm: “I am that I am and I am in the process of fulfilling my Divine purpose.”

3.Cleave to the higher power of love and wisdom at all times by thinking of it, acknowledging it and being grateful to it.

Practical step:

1.Live totally in the present. Set the intention (will) to live the Divine attributes and live with total focus on what you are doing.

When we live the Divine attributes, we live in a state of inner peace. We are open to unconditional love, higher learning, creativity and purpose. When we live our purpose we feel totally fulfilled and want to serve others. This is when we bring Heaven down to Earth and experience more peace in our own lives and help bring more peace and love to the world. My prayer is for us all to reach this highest state of learning and live in a state of peace, love, purpose and pleasure.


Penny Cohen, LCSW has been counseling, lecturing, and leading seminars internationally on personal, career, and spiritual development and on Kabbalah for the past fifteen years. She is the author of Personal Kabbalah: 32 Paths to Inner Peace and Life Purpose (Sterling Publishing Co., 2005) and has a private psychotherapy and life and spiritual coaching practice in Westchester County, NY. She can be reached at or call 914-764-1708. Please visit for more information.

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