Baal HaSulam, Letter No. 13: …This came upon you due to your negligence of my request to exert in love of friends, for I have explained to you in every possible manner that this remedy is sufficient to compensate for your every deficiency. And if you cannot rise to heaven, I have given you ways on Earth, and why have you not added in this work at all?”
We are the ones who draw the picture of this world in our properties. Actually, we distinguish two types of impact that our desire to receive feels:
- good and comfortable
- bad and dangerous
The “matter” we consist of is the desire to receive that is divided into five (5) levels: zero to four. On all these levels, we have multiple qualities that in general can be reduced to how to receive pleasure.
Our perception of reality allows us to differentiate the edges of the Light of Infinity that can either bring us pleasure or harm. All we do is we portray them in our perception; the entire picture of our reality is woven of them.
This picture is very small and limited; Kabbalists have been telling us about this fact for thousands of years now. Lately, also scholars ascertained that we catch only a fraction of reality.
Is there a way to observe authentic reality other than the one we are born into, live and die in, in which we feel insignificant, unhappy, and incomplete?
Kabbalists say that it’s possible to perceive the true reality and sense the Light of Infinity in which we constantly dwell only on one condition: if we manage to amplify our tools of perception.
This is why the science we study is called “the wisdom of receiving.” With the help of this methodology, we manage to broaden our sensors and in addition to the five senses—sight, hearing, taste, smell, and touch— we climb a step higher towards obtaining five additional senses.
To do this, we have to change our desire to receive in terms of not only perceiving what’s important to us in a positive or negative sense, but rather to perceive things that are outside of our desire also regarding them in a positive or negative way. How do we do that?
I need to dress into somebody else, into someone who is external to me, to rise above my own sensations, both positive and negative, to the perception of what is good or bad for another. If I manage to catch somebody else’s sensations, at least the perception of one person, then I get out of myself and start identifying the world as it really is, in a initial, small extent. Then, a person can continue working on expanding my exits outside of myself, again and again, until I start sensing the reality completely independent of myself. This is called the perception beyond reason, above the desire to receive.”
We have been in the process of developing this quality for quite a long time now. The matter of which the desire is built has transitioned from the inanimate level to the vegetative, then to animate, and it has been the development of the receiving desires of self-perception. The desire to receive continued to enlarge its ability to feel various outside impacts from within until it depleted this option to the very end. There is no room for further growth in this direction any longer; so, the desire to receive now recognizes its limitations.
Here is what today’s generation is going through: We lack interest in life, indifference to further growth and what we do in this world. We can’t control ourselves and the world around us as before. Our egoistic desire has exhausted itself; we have completed this phase of evolution.
In the future, our desire to receive will push us towards the next developmental stage. It is said that by creating affliction and predicaments, the Pharaoh forced the sons of Israel to exit from Egypt. Similarly to them, we too feel hopeless in this life. The egoism that is governing us, demonstrates that it is unable to fulfill us any longer. We go the extra mile to find reasons to live, search for additional pleasures and livelihood; however, all of them lead to even deeper descents; the more we try to live better, the worse our lives become.
Even those who have everything do not sense any joy or happiness. Besides, our material life constantly gets harder. We definitely continue to fall.
This is exactly what is supposed to be happening. At some point, the sons of Israel fled Egypt because they went through a similar situation. They would have liked to stay there, but they were hit by huge blows and sufferings that didn’t leave them any choice but to escape.
When a Kabbalist begins his self-correction, he acts as if he strives to enter a beautiful spiritual world full of light, into the bright future that will open all horizons to him. However, on his way there, he discovers quite an opposite picture —tough internal life and intense burdens that press him immensely. This pressure is caused by the fact that he isn’t moving forward in the usual egoistic way. Instead, through desperation and unfortunate circumstances, he must pass through all stages of spiritual birth, meaning to exit Egypt, rise above his egoism, get out of himself, and feel what it is like to be out of his body; that is, he lives through sensing other’s desires.
In this world, the process of birth is also accompanied by labor pains (Tzirim in Hebrew), in other words by (Tzarot) troubles, sufferings, and pressure. And in particular, those feelings are given to those who study the wisdom of Kabbalah to help them advance by pushing them forward in the same way a mother’s uterus presses on the fetus for it to be born.
However, the wisdom of Kabbalah is not just telling us about the birth of a new perception and the acquisition of the transition from absorbing to releasing, from reception to bestowal. It is not a theoretical study of the process; it is not about philosophy. Kabbalah helps us to realize this by a process of spiritual birth.
After all, like a fetus in the mother’s womb, we have to feel cramped, dark, tightness, suffocation, and the need assist this process on our own. It’s a very unpleasant sensation. That’s why we are granted the wisdom of Kabbalah to begin realizing and acknowledging the process in order to make it easy and fast.
Thanks to Kabbalah, we know what to expect; we realize that we have to exit out of our internal sensations into the external world in order to avoid viewing the reality only through the limitations of our five senses; we should see the world that is outside of us, outside the womb. We have to achieve this state somehow. How?
We need an “obstetrician” here; we have to be born not as a result of painful birth contractions that push us from behind, but rather due to the outside force that pulls us forward. In this case, the process of birth will be quite easy, with the “waters,” with the property of Mercy.
For that, we need external support that has to be provided by the group, which elicits the external force. It is said: “Man shall help his neighbor.” The group can pull us out of this dark world into the bright light; it will help us raise our perception of reality to the next level so that it’s not limited by five senses anymore; but on the contrary, we begin viewing everything around us in the Reflected Light without absorbing anything inside ourselves, but rather turning outside.
Hence, the terms “bestowal,” “love,” and “mercy,” all of them, in fact, are talking about the perception of reality in a different quality, in exchanging one’s desires with the desire of his friend. If one manages to transfer one’s primary concern from himself to his group of friends, it is as if one is drawn out of the womb, out of this world, and go beyond this material realm into the world of externality. In this case, our efforts trigger the upper force’s response, which helps us go through this and to be born.
This is the first step we have to go through; it is extremely difficult. Similarly in our world, in spite of all efforts to facilitate the process of birth, to make it easy and safe, it always appears to be a miracle similar to the “miracle of exiting Egypt.” At this stage of development lies something new and extraordinary, and even more so when it comes to spiritual birth.
From the Miami Convention 6/23/12, Lesson 1