Question: How can I exactly recognize the point of my free choice?
Answer: First of all, we discover that we are absolutely, one-hundred percent not free. This is the realization of evil.
However, on the other hand, what is so bad about that? If I am entirely under the power of the Creator, or Nature, then there is nothing to ask of me. I am neither good nor bad. What is there to demand of me? No matter what I do, it is not me doing it, as it is written: “Go to the craftsman who made me.”
Religion is based on this. I am a small person. I do everything that He wants. If He says do, I do. In this way, all my charges are removed, any questions are canceled, and I rid myself of problems.
However, on this path, you lose independence and freedom. Just by following the Creator’s decrees, even if unwillingly, you will always find a reward for yourself and ease your task—at the cost of your real “I.” This is why religion is good for the masses. When everything comes from Above, it adds a feeling of comfort to life and provides psychological support to flow together with everyone.
On the other hand, in Kabbalah, I demand independence, instead of self-cancellation. I want to find the beginning of my “I.” In this search, in this rational and logical evaluation, I discover that in reality, I do not exist. I did not make the decision about being born in this world, I did not chose my qualities, my genetics, my parents, my country, or my environment. I was reared and educated by already formed systems and institutions such as kindergarten, school, mass media, and so forth. Who am I after all this? I am a piece of dough baked in a common oven into a regular loaf of bread.
When I see this, a question arises in me: Is this what life is? What does it give me besides never-ending concerns, a constant flight from suffering, and brief moments of pleasure? This is the realization of evil: I begin to think about the essence of what is happening, about my journey and its end, and I understand that I do not exist. There is only a machine that I neither launch nor control. When there is an algorithm conflict in the computer, it gives an error message. I too respond to problems, albeit in a sensory way. The pressure jumps somewhere, and I feel pain. That’s all it is to it.
In this case, I simply have no reason to live. Many people come to this conclusion. The only thing that holds them back is an instinctive fear of death, and even that does not always work.
This is where I begin the search for true freedom, my true essence. The path to it lies through becoming like the Creator, not in worshiping and canceling yourself before Him, but actually becoming like Him. I must grow and become more like Him. Absolute independence and freedom is inherent of the Creator. There is none else besides Him in all of nature. I can grow according to the same principle when there is no one else besides me in all of nature.
This is the Kabbalistic method. We search for freedom and independence. The most painful thing is the fact that I do not exist. Where can I find my “I?” This pursuit of my own “I” is my entire life. I want greater self-expression. I want to rule over everyone and receive. What is all this for? It is for my “I” to form and grow. Here, Kabbalah explains that to acquire your “I” means to acquire the qualities of the Creator, in other words, to acquire freedom.
Question: So how can I find my “I” without free will?
Answer: The initial point of my “I” manifests itself through questions about the meaning and essence of life. A person who comes to Kabbalah already has this point of choice, a point in the heart, a spark, the other side of the middle line, the reverse side of freedom, the feeling of emptiness and lack.
I have no freedom, and this is why I ask questions about the meaning of life. This is exactly what I lack. I do not care about life itself; I need to find my “I.”
From the 4th part of the Daily Kabbalah Lesson 12/13/2011, “The Freedom”