There is nothing more important than freedom. When I am in chains, when someone controls me, it does not matter who it is in particular. It makes no difference to me whether it is nature, or the Creator, or the upper force, or God. I do not care if He has a mind and feelings or on the contrary, is faceless and indifferent. This is not what matters.
When I am in the hands of someone or something, I do not exist. My “I” does not exist. There is only a certain being under total power of a force of a higher order.
Any item that we speak of has its own essence in our eyes. It exists on its own. Even if it is a chair or a house, we attribute an independent existence to it. We subconsciously personify it. For example, we get angry at a frozen computer or a broken car. Nothing has value in our eyes without a certain share of independence.
Thus, the notion of freedom is fundamental. We perceive things only if we see them as independent, self-existing. Otherwise, we simply do not distinguish it; we do not recognize it. I attribute independence to things. To the extent of this independence, they acquire weight and meaning for me, to the point of becoming a source of threat or pleasure. I weigh everything in the world on the scale of freedom. Only then do I recognize and form a corresponding attitude.
This individuality of things, people, and phenomena varies according to my tastes and scale of values. Overall, the notion of freedom represents the foundation of my existence. It forms my view of the world. Nothing enters my field of vision without this parameter.
For example, in life, a certain person suddenly becomes important to me because in my eyes, I attribute to him individuality, freedom, a personal opinion, power, and the ability to influence me. On the other hand, when someone loses the “halo” of freedom, importance, and influence in my eyes, he moves aside or completely leaves the picture of my reality. So freedom is a very significant and important notion.
This pertains to my own freedom as well. When I fully, one-hundred percent, depend on someone or something, I simply do not exist. Just as in similar situations when I do not see others, I also do not see myself when I am fully subject to someone else’s will, for example, in prison or captivity.
However, if we go even further, if we acknowledge that the upper force or nature controls all of my cells and physiological systems, all my thoughts and desires, every breath, if there is nothing mine within me, nothing that doesn’t come from somewhere outside of me, then I do not exist. I do not even belong to anyone because in order to be subject to someone, you still need to be. However, in the case of absolute submission, nothing at all remains of me.
This is where the self-ness criterion brings us. It originates in the Creator who, being distinctive and unique, created us and gave us the feeling of the same distinction. Every one of us evaluates himself and others only according to this measure. In this way, we weigh and distinguish details of reality according to the Creator’s presence in them, the force that gives everyone uniqueness and independence. This is why nature is a basic notion.
However, a reasonable question then arises. When I strive for perfection, I become one-hundred percent like the upper force, which means that I carry out its will precisely. I become the Creator’s slave. I forfeit everything I have, I renounce myself, I restrict my desire. My intention is only to bestow. I am ready to do everything the Creator wishes. But do I not annul my distinction, my freedom this way?
Kabbalists say no, on the contrary, this is the way you acquire your freedom and individuality. Right now, you only have a tiny point of freedom and distinction. Then, you acquire the Creator’s full image from Him and dress into it. The only way to achieve absolute freedom is to acquire the Creator’s qualities from Him, His image.
In other words, even my altruistic intention, similarity to the Creator, comes from my egoistic desire. In the end, I consist of two opposites: inside is egoism, the desire to receive, and on the outside, the intention to bestow to the Creator. This is why I do not disappear.
We must understand that our egoism saves us from disappearing. As I ascend the spiritual ladder, my egoism grows on the left, and it is opposite to the Creator. The intention for the sake of bestowal, which is similar to the Creator, grows on the right. I acquire His qualities through this contrast. I acquire them independently, personally, and without becoming dissolved in Him.
This is the gift the Creator has given us: the opportunity to exist independently. In this way, we gradually acquire independence in our spiritual development. In comparison to it, our current state is called “death,” “non-existence,” while spiritual attainment and overcoming is life. The Light that Reforms is called the Torah. It is salvation from the “angel of death.”
From the 4th part of the Daily Kabbalah Lesson 12/13/2011, “The Freedom”