Baal HaSulam, “Introduction to The Book of Zohar,” Item 42: We have now explained the five worlds that include the entire spiritual reality that extends from Ein Sof to this world. However, they are included in one the other, and in each of the worlds there are the five worlds.
Why are the worlds necessary? Isn’t the world of Ein Sof (Infinity) enough? After all, it descends from its whole spiritual level that is totally in order to bestow to a gradually lower level of bestowal called the worlds of Adam Kadmon, Atzilut, Beria, Yetzira and Assiya.
On the whole, it is about the same unity, the same mutual bestowal, but on a lower level. There are the same features and they connect in the same way, but the intensity of their connection decreases and is conveyed more weakly through the general network. Thus, the “worlds” are the concealments of Ein Sof that cover the intensity of its unity and connection.
In any case, we are speaking only about one reality. Later, when the souls are created, when a person wants to attain the attribute of bestowal, he will see and feel this system according to his current state.
And besides the five Sefirot KHBTM in each world, there are the four spiritual categories: still, vegetative, animate, and speaking.
There are nothing more than Lights and vessels. As the vessels mutually connect with the Lights, they feel them differently. In the language of the branches, we attribute these manners to the levels of the still, vegetative, animate, and speaking levels, and give them different names. Now, they are all depicted to us as this world.
On the other hand, there are no identical “images” in the spiritual world where we feel the levels of our mutual connection. All the Kabbalistic concepts belong to the spiritual force that operates inside us, and so we have no illusions in the form of “three-dimensional pictures” that take up space, have weight, and so forth.
In spirituality, everything is clarified inside us in the true form, which means in the form of forces. However, in order to be able to speak about these forces and about the states of the desire, we give them names and definitions taken from the wisdom of Kabbalah and from compatible reflections in our world.
One way or the other, it is the same Ein Sof that is distorted to the extent that the created being looking at it is corrupt, as it is written, “a person who disqualifies, disqualifies according to his own faults.” The created being’s perception is depicted as 125 degrees, although, in fact, there is nothing but Ein Sof. When we speak about the worlds, about what goes on in them, we always refer to the person who is on that level. When he rises to another level, he will see a different picture.
So, we see that everything is relative. There is a system we are in and which we attain. The worlds do not actually exist, and their order depends on the person who attains it.
You constantly determine your state in relation to the world of Ein Sof. By perceiving twenty percent of it, for example, you determine your perceptions the world of Assiya. If you perceive forty percent of Ein Sof, you are in the world of Yetzira.
The worlds are divided also into degrees, but on the whole, you determine your current state with regard to the world of Ein Sof. Only it exists, and you aim your perception toward it and find yourself in one world or another on a certain level of concealment of Ein Sof.
Now, your desires are totally corrupt and opposite to it, so it is depicted to you in the form of this world. Actually, now, too, you are in Ein Sof, but unconsciously, and in this unconsciousness, the corporeal pictures are depicted to you. This is why our world is called “the imaginary world.”
From the 4th part of the Daily Kabbalah Lesson 7/15/12, “Introduction to The Book of Zohar”