What is my “self?” I exist, feel, live, and perceive reality…. But I don’t know what the “self” is. I only know that it’s the way in which I feel myself: There is the “self” and there is my environment. Where does this feeling come from? It comes from my desire to receive. I feel all kinds of pleasures and deficiencies one way or another, and they are part of my perception, feeling, cognition, and understanding.
On the whole, my vessels make up the desire to receive. To some extent they are full and to some extent empty. The desire that is divided into five levels of development (the still, vegetative, animate, speaking, and the root) makes up the feeling of my personal body, my life, my “self,” and the environment. Eventually I have to attain the essence of my desire with everything that is within it. What is this desire? What does it mean to feel it?
I am in it, and it radiates the feeling of itself and of external reality. The feeling of the self is my body. The feeling of external life is made up of many people and of the whole universe. All of this is depicted and presented inside my desire.
These things should be clarified in the light of free will: How can I use them? Which way should I direct them? Can I do anything that I want with these feelings? Or can I use them only if I turn in a certain direction? Do I have to find the right “frequency,” the right range of frequencies in which I’ll see the whole picture and the way to the goal? In such a case, all the other ways are closed. They’re not for me.
A very delicate approach is needed here, the only approach that will enable me to see the picture in the right light. All the other paths provide me with false and distorted pictures, and I will pay dearly for their falsity. The main point here is to understand what I should do and where to go. In order to do that, I tune myself to the desirable range of frequencies, choose the correct “crack,” in order to look at my internal and external reality. Such approach brings me to the only possible action I should perform—that of a free choice.
Everything else is irrelevant. Even if I don’t know anything else, it makes no difference. The main point is that I know this. My whole life and future depend upon this. By fulfilling this “subtle” principle, I can also change everything else, and extremely so. I should deal with what’s important and not with anything else because then I will only mess things up.
Thus, free will should protect me from false and harmful actions that will take great efforts to correct. I need to reach the essence in the shortest way possible and to realize it.
For that Baal HaSulam explains that every state I am in is divided into four parts. If I know myself, I am under their control. These are the factors:
- The source;
- The unchanging conduct of cause and effect;
- The internal conduct of cause and effect;
- The conduct of cause and effect of alien things.
The source is the unchanging nature, the essence, which I received even before I felt myself here and now. One may ask about it questions like, why, and what for, but it won’t change reality. You are what you are, and you advance on a one way street, from the beginning to the end. The distance you have traveled is the past, and there is no point complaining about it. All you have to do is find out how to make the future better.
As for the conduct of cause and effect, here too, as Baal HaSulam says, there is nothing you can do. Of course, wheat will grow from a grain of wheat, and rice will grow from a grain of rice. These changes are additions to the source, they dress upon it. Besides the initial data that exist in the Reshimo, in the “particle of information” which contains everything, there is also the rest of the development, the second factor, which is also predetermined. And this means that one should look for free will in the third or fourth factors.
From the 4th part of the Daily Kabbalah Lesson 12/18/2011, “The Freedom of Will”