Michael Laitman, On Quora: “How can we achieve spiritual maturity?“
A spiritually mature person is one who ceases to pursue self-aimed enjoyment, and in its place, seeks love, bestowal and positive connection to others.
Similarly, in our corporeal lives, as children, all we know is how to receive self-aimed enjoyment, and we run after one fun thing after another. Then, at a certain stage of corporeal maturity, when we become adults, we have to assume a more giving and responsible role in society, to work and to socially contribute in various ways. However, even an adult in our world, who works and contributes to society, functions according to a fundamental self-aimed desire to enjoy.
Reaching spiritual maturity means that we invert the aim upon our desires from “for our own benefit” to “for the benefit of others.”
By doing so, we cross a barrier between our corporeal world and the spiritual world. The essence of our enjoyment thus also changes: Instead of enjoying by moving from one self-aimed enjoyment to the next among desires for food, sex, family, money, honor, control and knowledge, we instead enjoy from being connected to our life’s purpose and source—the spiritual force of love, bestowal and connection that exists in absolute eternal perfection. In other words, spiritual maturity means living in love, bestowal and positive connection to others, not for the sake of the enjoyment it brings us, but for the sake of connecting with the source of our lives.
Spiritual maturity thus comes after establishing a connection and a degree of resemblance to the spiritual force of love, bestowal and connection. By doing so, we rise above our life’s corporeal degree, where we seek egoistic enjoyment.
If we take a snapshot of human evolution in order to see where we currently are in relation to such spiritual maturity, as a humanity, then we can see that we are in the process of transitioning to a new era where we no longer extract the same kind of enjoyment from corporeal pleasures like we once used to. We no longer see a rosy picture ahead of us anymore either. In the past, we were able to resort to different systems in order to replace our current ones. This is no longer the case today, as we can already envision the bankruptcy of the directions that we have tried. We simply do not anticipate the reception of any special new enjoyments in life anymore.
Such a state is part of our natural evolution: we have reached a limit in our corporeal development, and the time has come to transition to a new spiritual paradigm. In plain English, this means that we find lesser and lesser fulfillment from running after pleasures all the time, in order to realize that true fulfillment in our forthcoming era is to instead chase after the source of all pleasure—the spiritual force of love, bestowal and connection. Moreover, if we fail to apply ourselves to this transition out of our own will, then we will experience more and more negative sensations—dissatisfaction, emptiness, depression, loneliness, stress, anxiety and other forms of suffering—in order to prod us to realize the need to spiritually mature. We will simply be cut off from being able to enjoy anything, and we will then start asking fundamental questions about our lives, such as “Why is this happening?” “What is the meaning of all this?” “What is this life for?” “Why is there so much suffering in this world?” and “What can I do about it?”
In other words, we will start asking not about enjoyments themselves, but about their source. The more we ask those kinds of questions, then the more we will be led to seek new and different environments to the ones we engaged in until now—ones that will help us mature spiritually.
As long as we enjoy ourselves in this world, we do not ask about the enjoyment’s source. However, as soon as we stop enjoying life, and also see no future goal that draws us to enjoy by way of moving toward some worthy goal ahead of us, then we start feeling ourselves as immersed in a serious existential problem. We then start asking fundamental questions about the purpose and meaning of life, and not simply how to enjoy ourselves while we are here.
At such a juncture, we start understanding that if we want to enjoy life, then we need to come closer to life’s source, which means inverting the aim by which we enjoy from “for our own benefit” to “for the benefit of others.”
Based on the Daily Kabbalah Lesson on December 30, 2010. Written/edited by students of Kabbalist Dr. Michael Laitman.