The Zohar, Chapter “VaYetze (And Jacob Went Out),” Item 88: It is written, “A Psalm of David, when he fled.” He said the psalm while fleeing because previously he thought that the Creator would punish him for his sins in the next world. And when he saw that He wished to avenge him here in this world, he was happy and said a psalm.
Consequently, any state we experience is a state of concealment of the Upper Light which hides from us behind our egoistic qualities. It is revealed only to the extent that our qualities become similar to it. It follows that each of our states is called a “world,” (Hebrew “Olam” from the word “Olama” or concealment), that is a measure of concealment that we attain.
Therefore, “this world” and “the next world” are two degrees. One is what I feel and observe at this moment or what I can verify, investigate, and study. The other is a state to which I aspire, a measure of concealment that I want to reveal and attain. That is what the Kabbalists refer to as my next world.
From the 1st part of the Daily Kabbalah Lesson 6/23/10, The Zohar