Reward And Punishment In Our Lives, Part 1

Dr. Michael LaitmanQuestion: Every person wants to receive rewards for their actions in life, not punishments. But sometimes, even though we try with all our might, no matter what we do, everything turns out unfavorably and it is not even clear as to why. Is there some kind of connection between our actions and the results we experience in our lives?

Answer: This is not a simple question because the entire system is hidden from us. We receive rewards and punishments for all of our actions, but who knows what exactly is considered a reward and what is punishment for us?

Only one thing can be said for sure: We exist in a strict system of nature, and that is why each of our desires—and its use, act, word, or deed, each nuance of our behavior, unconscious or intentional, each thought—all affect the system, and the system responds to us.

We all exist as if in a web, and the problem is that we do not feel this web. But without a doubt, there is a reward or punishment for everything. This entire system is called “reality” or “world.” But, this is the real world, not the one that appears in front of our eyes. We are seeing just a small segment, a minute part of the actual reality.

It is impossible to imagine the entire system if we want to understand the meaning of our actions through the small part of this general system that we are able to perceive and call “this world.” This is why we do not know what responses our actions trigger. I do something and do not understand what kind of influence I have on the system, and likewise, I do not feel the action in response in its full and true form.

This is the problem of concealment. The entire system is concealed from us. Rewards and punishments are an incomprehensible and unknown area that we cannot investigate, and the more we study the system of nature with the help of all our sciences, the more we are convinced that we are entering ever more inner and deeper spaces that become even less comprehensible to us.

Nature does not become clearer to us, but rather even more clouded. There is no end to this depth. This is why it is unlikely that at some point in time we will uncover the nature of man with the aid of science. At one time, this was attempted through psychology, but very quickly we became convinced that this is not the way because we immediately plunge into unknown areas that do not yield to the strict scientific methods of investigation.

The wisdom of Kabbalah says that we need to move away from investigating the outer world. This is because the outer world is an illusion that forms within us, within our five sensory organs, in response to our interaction with a minimal part of the system. Essentially, this is the tip of the iceberg, while 99% of this system remains unknown.

For this reason, it is worthwhile to concentrate our efforts on discovering the inner system of perception, in other words, to expand our sensory organs to such an extent that we will perceive and gradually reveal the entire system of nature. When we begin to uncover this system, we will feel what reward and punishment mean and what kind of effects our actions actually have, that is, which of them are good and which are bad.

We will begin to perceive the unfolding events more accurately. Considering that it is possible that today we perceive rewards and punishments as little children who think that sweets and a can of soda is a reward. But, we know that this is entirely not true and that it is a punishment for the body, a negative influence, not positive.

Therefore, everything depends on who is doing the judging. In other words, will we be able to rise to a higher level each time, like a mother with respect to the child who protects him from all problems and will not do anything that may be harmful? That’s why what seems like a reward to the child, to the mother, is a punishment.

In this way, we can always check ourselves with respect to the upper degree and, accordingly, examine and decide where, in reality, is the reward and where is the punishment. The science of Kabbalah enables us to do this, even though it requires us to exert a great deal of effort. But only in this manner can we discover that everything is actually the opposite, just like with children. That which seems to us today as rewards are discovered to be punishments, and seeming punishments are actually rewards.

We exist in a false system built entirely on our egoism, our desire to receive pleasure, and the entire reality, the entire system, behaves according to a completely different law, that of mutual bestowal. It is an integral system within which each element interacts in complete harmony with all other parts.

In this system, no one makes a calculation for their own benefit, but only for the well-being of the entire system, and that which is beneficial for the general system is called a reward for all its parts. That which is beneficial for one part that opposes the entire system is called punishment.

According to the degree of our development and correct connection with the general system, we change our understanding of rewards and punishments in such a way as to deem a reward that benefits the entire system, and that which is good for my egoism, in opposition to the system, I deem as punishment.
From KabTV’s “A New Life” 2/2/17

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