Baal HaSulam, “Introduction to The Book of Zohar,” Item 24: The essence of the body is but a desire to receive for itself, and all its manifestations and possessions are fulfillments of that corrupted will to receive, which had initially been created only to be eradicated from the world, in order to achieve the complete third state at the end of correction. For this reason, it is mortal, transitory, and contemptible, along with all its possessions, like a fleeting shadow that leaves nothing in its wake.
Nothing ever happens to the desire. It only increasingly divulges itself while going through a 125 steps, whereas egoistic intentions arise together with desires. However, those are two different things: a desire to receive and an intention for the sake of receiving.
We should never cancel the desire. We are not planning to turn into hermits; rather, we strive to change our intention from egoistic to altruistic. It is the intention for the sake of receiving that has to be “eradicated from the world.”
We perceive the picture of the world through our intentions, through ourselves and our surroundings. This picture will disappear if we re-direct our intentions from the will to receive to the will to bestow. Everything we see today, the entire world with all its particularities and phenomena, with life and death, everything unfolds inside our will to receive that has an egoistic intention. If we change intentions, we start seeing an “inverted” world that is called the upper world, the first spiritual level. Then, we start observing something quite different.
While sensing the material, we have a chance to convert it with the help of the upper force, a group, and by using other means. We are the ones who start the “revolution,” because the first time anything is revealed we see it as corrupt, as if it reflects in a “distorted mirror” of our egoistic intention.
So far, our selfish intentions “saddle” tiny desires of this world; this is what makes this realm look the way it is to us. Then, let’s say at the thirtieth step, there appears a desire that is a billion times bigger, yet it still originates from the will to receive. It would be dreadful as if we were among “dinosaurs,” in a monstrous jungle of immensely, powerful egoistic desires.
People would look as hellish “fiends” to us; they would seem like criminals, crooks, liars, villains, a wickedness that we currently cannot even imagine. In essence, we would see the evil forces that belong to this particular step. We would consider the lessons to be outrageous stupidity, utter nonsense. Even the group would appear in such a terrible shape that we wouldn’t tolerate our friends’ company, nor would we be able to breathe the same air with them.
However, if we find the strength to overcome this situation and change, then we would figure out that everything is just wonderful. In fact, nothing will change, but somehow all of a sudden we will see the world around us permeated with Light, where everybody receives benevolence from the Creator, nobody ever suffers, no one dies of hunger, or kills others. Our friends look as if they are the greatest people on the face of the Earth, and there is nobody higher than them. Baal HaSulam writes about this state in his article “Concealment and Disclosure of the Face of the Creator.”
We all go through these states, the pendulum swings stronger each time, and everything depends on changing our intention, turning it into the opposite, from egoism to altruism. The desires remain intact, only the intentions change.
One way or the other, the Creator never brings us to bestowal; otherwise, He would have stolen the chance for us to know Him. He leads us only through disasters in our will to receive so that we acknowledge the need to bestow.
At first, we try to escape troubles that force us to blame and curse Him. Then, with the help of a group, lessons, and dissemination, by lowering our heads in front of our friends and the teacher, we turn to the Creator, and plead with Him to help us.
Question: Isn’t it a pretty long path of suffering?
Answer: The trick is how we accept the suffering. Without the sufferings, it is impossible to wake up. Any state starts with sorrows: “And there was evening and there was morning, one day.”
Our path is long not because of the troubles we go through but because we don’t react to them in a correct way.
This explains why we need preparation and a correct attitude. There is no doubt that our states will change soon, and we will feel emptiness; moreover, we can start hating our friends as Rabbi Shimon’s disciples did. And yet we continue advancing because everything that happens to us is for a purpose, to lead us forward.
From the 4th part of the Daily Kabbalah Lesson 1/13/14, Writings of Baal HaSulam