Question: When does a person begin to see the upper “roots” of the “branches” that are in this world?
Answer: First we have to say that by attaining the “roots,” a person doesn’t detach from the “branches.” His view simply begins to expand in waves, from the point of this world in increasingly growing circles. To the extent of the expansion, a person connects more strongly to what is happening in the roots, and understands the phenomena of this world better. In his ascent from the bottom up, he first understands what is happening to him here, and then in a more abstract way he understands the upper.
On the other hand, the attainment is different from the understanding: first a person attains the upper phenomenon, and then in it he understands its parallel in this world.
Baal HaSulam speaks about it in “The Essence of the Wisdom of Kabbalah“: The lower is studied from the Higher. Thus, one must first attain the Upper Roots, the way they are in spirituality, above any imagination, but with pure attainment. And once he has thoroughly attained the Upper Roots with his own mind, he may examine the tangible branches in this world and know how each branch relates to its root in the Upper World, in all its orders, in quantity and quality. And a person also sees how all the branches are connected.
On the whole, the attainment and the understanding influence one another. At the same time, the connection between the “branches” and the “roots” are very important, and it isn’t by chance that great Kabbalists devoted their time to study this world. It helped them in studying the upper world. They were scholars, “encyclopedists.” Rav Kook read books in the library thoroughly and Baal HaSulam learned wave theory, etc.
It isn’t by chance that we are in a material, corporeal world and it is from here that we ascend the spiritual levels. Although the information about this world, which scientists found and expressed, didn’t serve in attaining spirituality, they still helped a person connect all the parts of the general picture into one.
But today we are “standing firmly on the ground,” and we, on the contrary, only have to “push our head above the clouds”…
From the 1st part the Daily Kabbalah Lesson 11/27/12, “Introduction to the Study of the Ten Sefirot”