Teshuvah: The Path of Knowing Your True Self
The term ‘teshuvah’ means to ‘return.’ Specifically, it applies to the path of a person returning to their “true self” which is made in the “Image of God,” based on the emanations discussed “in our Introductory files.“
For Neo, this results in him becoming united with the Source, which we see happen at the end of The Matrix Revolutions. We discussed some ideas related to this in our introductory material on progression through the levels of the soul.
Neo’s journey from his Matrix life as Thomas Anderson to his arrival as “the One” in the Machine City, follows a series of such progressions, each built upon learning to go past his current level of understanding.
Central to each level of advancement is what happens when Neo meets with the Oracle in every movie. This always occurs at the soul level of Neshama (“connection to true spirituality”) within each cycle of rectification. We may thus directly connect the Oracle with the concept of teshuvah/return. This is, “what she is here to do.”
Neo’s First Meeting with the Oracle
Neo’s choice to go on this path began with the taking of the red pill. After this came his first meeting with the Oracle where she revealed an important truth, though he did not understand it at the time.
There would be hurdles. Often confusing ones. This is all part of the rectification process.
After Morpheus tells him that he is “the One,” the Oracle lays this on him:
“Sorry, kid. You got the gift, but it looks like you’re waiting for something.”
What the Oracle did here is light the flame of teshuvah under Neo. She sets the condition for everyone’s life that is freed from the Matrix. You can say she ‘gives birth’ to them having true free will and choice, which is needed for change and advancement on the path.
Morpheus’ subsequent words were true, but beyond Neo’s scope of understanding at the time.
“What was said was for you and for you alone.”
Neo’s Second Meeting with the Oracle
As discussed in our intro material on the levels of the soul, the first Matrix movie was about Neo rectifying his basic Nefesh level of the soul. His second meeting with the Oracle, may be seen as a “progress report.”
“Well, come on. I ain’t gonna bite ya. Come around here, and let me have a look at ya. My goodness, look at you! You turned out all right, didn’t you?”
“You have the sight now, Neo. You are looking at the world without time.”
Translation to the above: You met the condition of rectifying your Nefesh.
(Note that time and space are elements of the lowest world of existence, which corresponds to the lowest [Nefesh] level of the soul.)
This is followed by:
“I know you’re not sleeping. We’ll get to that.”
“You’ve seen it, in your dreams, haven’t you?”
Translation: I will now guide you into your next condition to fulfill, your Ruach level, and dreams are part of that.
Here, as in their first encounter, she challenges him by presenting a bit of ‘deficiency’ he has to figure out how to overcome:
Neo: “I suppose the most obvious question is, how can I trust you?”
The Oracle: “Bingo! It is a pickle, no doubt about it. The bad news is there’s no way if you can really know whether I’m here to help you or not. So it’s really up to you. You just have to make up your own damn mind to either accept what I’m going to tell you…”
Note her words, “So it’s really up to you,” are a puzzle that she explains only in their third encounter. (See below.)
Neo is still not understanding that the Oracle herself is about understanding!
Because you didn’t come here to make the choice, you’ve already made it. You’re here to try to understand why you made it. I thought you’d have figured that out by now.
Translation: “You didn’t come to this next (Ruach) level of the soul to make the choice. You did that in the first movie, at the level of Nefesh. You’re here in this second movie, at the Ruach level, to learn how to get to the dimension of the Neshama which is that of Binah/Understanding.”
Neo’s Third Meeting with the Oracle
With each conversation, Neo attains an additional ‘understanding’ of the deeper aspects of reality and himself. He receives only “what he is ready for” through each phase of his journey. This is part of the analytical nature of the Oracle/Binah.
She explained this to Neo in their final meeting in The Matrix Revolutions:
Neo: Then why didn’t you tell me about the Architect? Why didn’t you tell me about Zion, the Ones before me – why didn’t you tell me the truth?
Oracle: Because it wasn’t time for you to know.
Neo: Who decided it wasn’t time?
Oracle: You know who.
(She points at the Temet Nosce (“Know Thyself”) sign above the door.)
Neo: I did.
In kabbalah, the concept of ‘knowing’ has to do with making an intimate connection. Teshuvah is thus “knowing your true self.” It is here that she presents Neo with his greatest challenge of understanding – his connections to the Source and to Smith, and to the rectification of evil.
Mom to Whom?
We know that Smith refers to the Oracle as ‘mom’ when they meet.
Now consider what she told Neo:
He is you. Your opposite, your negative.
That would seem to indicate that she is also Neo’s ‘mom’ in some manner.
It is a kabbalistic principle that The Oracle, as the ‘divine mother,’ is nurturing “the One” from one level of his soul to the next until he reaches maturity.
In this text, the term “Little Face” refers to “the One” connecting the worlds of existence, and how he is a reflection of the ‘great face’ which represents the transcendent God (the Source):
All phases of development of the Little Face are dependent upon the Mother. This is why she is called Mother for she is actually the Mother Creator of the Little Face, who gives birth to him and raises him.
Kabbalah of Creation, Eliyahu Klein