There are laws of nature which we learn about in the form in which we exist. We are egoists, our “material” is the desire for pleasure, and we search for opportunities to enjoy life with all our senses. This is our entire goal; all our life and effort is to feel maximum enjoyment with minimum effort at every moment.
That is how we exist. All of the still, vegetative, and animate nature, as well as humans, are instinctively attracted to pleasure. This was the tendency of our development throughout all generations; all of our science is based upon this. We examine nature with a similar intention, the search for maximal pleasure. Our view of the world and the laws which we investigate, the nature discovered through comprehension of ourselves and the environment, all this passes to our emotion and understanding through that “filter” according to an established formula, demanding the exploitation of reality for our own benefit.
Therefore, our outlook is always the most narrow and selective, devoid of any complexity. We don’t truly know what is to be found around us. We comprehend and understand things only to the degree that they fit into our basic mechanism, how much it approaches our principle to enjoy life.
This internal characteristic limits us very much. We don’t see a true picture; there are still many things that are hidden from our comprehension in this world. We are not objective.
There exists around us a multitude of phenomena of which we are unaware, and yet they are directly relevant to our life and our fate. So, the wisdom of Kabbalah comes to help us, making it possible for us to “open our eyes” and look objectively at the wide world spread beyond our five senses, which are limited by the “filter” of our selfishness.
To do this we must rise above our “filters.” Only then will we feel the world as it is. This is why we need the wisdom of Kabbalah, which is most important, and at the end of the matter, the most practical thing we can do. Besides investigating our nature, we must carry out particular actions to get used to looking at the world without inner disturbances, to rise above our ego to a comprehension of true reality.
For example, suppose that I am talking with someone and I feel that I don’t understand him because of previous opinions about him that I acquired from my education, the details that I see in him are very disturbing to me and limit my ability to understand him. Only if I rise above my habits, above my nature, above the education that I received, above my narrow view, can I truly understand him.
It happens to all of us that someone may claim that we don’t understand him, don’t want to understand; only after a number of years do we understand that due to our limitations that we truly didn’t understand him. Logically, our relationship was narrow and indifferent. If we were able to rise above our “personal views,” we would see the person as he is. Though this is very difficult, it is possible.
This touches upon our general comprehension of Nature. There is a very difficult problem here. In relationships with other people we can use psychological exercises, external influences, listen to explanations, and ultimately see our mistakes, deviations in our comprehension. But how do we build the right attitude towards the entirety of nature? How is it possible to see it without our habits? This is much more difficult.
Who will explain to me how to look at the world with different eyes as if it is not me who I am seeing but someone who has no form of his own? To do this, I must become completely independent of myself….Therefore, we use the advice of Kabbalists who already went above their nature, above the ego, which limits and distorts one’s perspective. If we do precisely what they say, ultimately we will succeed.
Sometimes we draw closer to a true picture, sometimes we fall back, and vice versa. We discover our extreme limitations, discover our very “narrow” and even bleak egoistic relationship regarding various phenomena. We call these states “ascents” and “descents.” They help us understand how much we are trapped within our ego and how difficult it is to rise above it.
The Kabbalists say that in order to go out of captivity, it’s up to us to build connection with other people, and working together we try to see them more objectively. According to the formula, “each person will help his friend,” we can inspire ourselves to ascend, to want to ascend above our nature that limits us. And if we try to do this, we awaken a unique power in nature called the “Light that Reforms.” This force helps us to develop ourselves to be freed from a limited, narrow, and egotistical perspective of the world, stripping ourselves of our limitations.
And then we see a good, perfect, and eternal world without any restrictions attributed to our bodies. So we begin to feel different special senses: not sight, hearing, taste, smell, and touching, rather, Keter, Hochma, Bina, Zeir Anpin and Malchut. Through them we comprehend reality without limitations, and then we feel our lives as independent of the body.
We feel ourselves as perfected, eternal creatures existing within an eternal, perfect world, and relate to the body as we would to an animal, like a dog lying next to his master, each having his own life. There is a connection between them, but the person doesn’t depend on the dog at all. The living body could live and it could die while the person in us continues to exist in a higher world without limitations in an eternal reality. It’s there that he feels and discovers himself.
We feel this upper world as a unique system; we call it a “psychological” system. It becomes the “body” but it is no longer a physical body, rather what we would call the “soul.” And our entire goal is to discover our true selves that no longer exist within the material body, unlimited by its concerns and usefulness, rather rising above it to eternity and perfection.
And then we essentially discover that all of our life was meant only for this. Our body gradually grows old and dies, meaning that it stops existing as an animate form and returns to the still, yet we continue to live since within we have received true existence. This is the goal that we want to attain through learning the wisdom of Kabbalah.
The main thing here is not the learning itself, rather the actions that we must carry out among us so that with their help we can in fact develop a new sense without limitations.
Therefore, we gather in groups. This began with the first Kabbalists thousands of years ago. They also organized themselves into groups and already understood in accordance with a higher nature what kind of arrangement there must be within them, what kind of relationships there must be between friends.
You see, in a group there specifically must be friends who are connected, are concerned for each other, feel and support each other. The group needs to be whole, this is to say, to be a single whole where they complete each other and create something unified.
While building this unity, we acquire a system ready to comprehend, to feel, the upper world. This is because we have exited ourselves and exist outside of our ego. We build the group for this according to the advice of the Kabbalists. They are our teachers, and we act like them.
This is speaking of a practical science in which everything is done according to accumulated experience. Over thousands of years, people who broke through to the upper world tried various means on themselves to advance and they described this for us. So, today we are using tried and true prescriptions.
Beyond this, today, we ourselves are developing additional means to help us to advance. The conditions of life are different in every generation because our ego is growing all the time.
And today it not only grows, but it also “closes in on itself,” which has become an additional problem. We are no longer just egoists. Because of the increased strength of our ego, we want to get away from each other. We see this in statistics about divorces, and in general in the general trend: Everyone requires his own apartment, his own car, his own “place.” We prefer to connect through cell phones, through the Internet, in social networks, not face to face, not one to one. It seems to us that mutual connection has grown, yet the reality is the opposite: The world is becoming more and more divided, fragmented, dispersed.
Simultaneously, though we aspire to get away from each other, in spite of all this, we feel connected. Therefore, we build artificial systems for making connection possible, while preserving the independence of the ego. Everyone sits in his own cell, in his corner with his smart phone, with his computer, with his email. And we call this a “connection”; the main thing being not truly to touch each other.
These new phenomena in our world require new methods from us, making it possible for us to rise above the ego, to go out and feel the real world, with real feeling that hasn’t passed through the “filters” of our ego. And therefore besides the usual forms, we also use workshops. I see already that in the future we will have other similar means, in a few more months or years depending upon the advancement of the world and our advancement within it. But one way or another, all these means are designed solely for us to rise above ourselves, above our nature, and not remain trapped within the prison of our body.
From the Talk About The Importance of Gathering 5/10/13