Baal HaSulam, “The Essence of the Wisdom of Kabbalah”: This wisdom is generally divided into two parallel, identical orders, like two drops in a pond. The only difference between them is that the first order extends from Above downwards, to this world, and the second order traverses from below upwards, precisely by the same routes and make-ups imprinted at the root when they appeared from Above downwards.
The first order is called “the order of descent of the worlds, Partzufim,and Sefirot,” in all their occurrences, whether lasting or transient. The second order is called “attainments or degrees of prophecy and Holy Spirit.” A person rewarded with it must follow the same trails and inlets, and gradually attain each detail and each degree, precisely by the same rules that were imprinted in them upon their emanation from Above downwards.
After the descent of the upper force from above downward, the steps Adam Kadmon, Atzilut, Beria, Yetzira, and Assiya remain and we use them to ascend from below upward through Assiya, Yetzia, Beria, Atzilut, and Adam Kadmon.
A revelation of Godliness does not appear at once, but gradually, over a period of time, depending on the cleansing of the attaining, until one discovers all the degrees from Above downwards. And because they come in an order of attainment, one after the other and one above the other, as do rungs of a ladder, they are called “degrees” (steps).
The ascent from below upward is an attainment of the steps that have descended previously from above downward, in order to determine the levels of our attainment. This path is prepared for us from the beginning.
Therefore, the science of Kabbalah and all the conditions are now being revealed so we can absorb it wherever we are and advance further.
Question: Is it possible to fall from these steps?
Answer: You can fall and rise partially. But in principle, they all lead to ascent because even descents are meant for that. It is impossible to move along the steps of the spiritual worlds without descents. A special kind of start-stop movement happens here.
Each time we descend in order to comprehend our path. However, it is not a descent. For example, in every science there are such periods when you don’t understand anything, don’t know anything, can’t think, are absolutely exhausted and it is the same here. Then, you rise again.
Such step-by-step development is necessary for constant renewal, clearing yourself of previous baggage, and becoming completely empty to the extent of your last fulfillment. And precisely because fulfillment turns into a new emptiness, one can reach the next step.
Question: Is the main thing to not be afraid of descents?
Answer: Do not be afraid of anything. Any fulfillment will turn into emptiness and any emptiness will turn into even greater fulfillment. This is the law of nature.
From KabTV’s “Fundamentals of Kabbalah” 8/18/19