Michael Laitman, On Quora: “What is the difference between physical love and spiritual love?“
Physical or corporeal love comes from receiving pleasure from someone or something.
Spiritual love, on the contrary, means that we feel repulsion and rejection from others, and above these negative sensations, we build a loving attitude.
It is written about spiritual love that “Love will cover all crimes” (Proverbs 10:12). Spiritual love does not replace hatred, but emerges above it.
To the extent that we suffer from such hatred, i.e., that we want to love others but find ourselves in opposite sensations that contradict the love we want, then our construction of positive connection above such negative sensations awakens spiritual love.
Spiritual love is thus measured according to the distance from whom we want to love. Attaining spiritual love thus also requires a great amount of learning and preparation, with the understanding that it is an attitude that we need to attain toward the whole of creation.
Creation, according to the wisdom of Kabbalah, is the desire to enjoy. A single desire to enjoy is positioned behind everything we perceive in reality.
The desire to enjoy in and of itself poses no problem, as it is simply matter. Problems emerge when the desire to enjoy wants to individually benefit at the expense of others. Among cells in an organism, such a tendency is considered cancerous. Among us humans, the desire to individually benefit at the expense of others is the basis for every problem we experience in life.
The more we develop, the more the desire to enjoy grows, and the more we find ourselves in a swamp of problems and crises. Such a process is leading us to a state that the wisdom of Kabbalah terms “the recognition of evil,” where we gain awareness of our egoistic nature that wants to self-benefit at others’ expense as the root of all problems. At that juncture, we will reveal that we hate the egoistic nature within us, and we will then genuinely yearn to have a loving attitude upon it.
The desire to enjoy is our nature. We cannot get rid of or destroy it, nor do we need to. We need only treat our nature as the ground level in a building that we need to construct, where the second level and upward is built out of a positive and loving attitude upon the desire to enjoy from other people and nature.
How can we reach such spiritual love?
It is done by asking for it from a higher degree. The desire to enjoy is the nature of creation, and opposite it is the nature that created it: the desire to bestow, love and give. In the wisdom of Kabbalah, the desire to bestow and love has several names, including “the Creator,” “the upper force,” “the light,” and also “nature.” It describes the quality of giving and love that exists in reality, concealed from our inborn desires. When we reach a sincere desire to love others spiritually, i.e., without wanting self-benefit laced within that love, then we reach a true request to the Creator—a prayer—to perform that self-transformation.
Why would we even want to reach such a state?
It is because by doing so, we bring ourselves closer to the source of our lives, elevating ourselves from the animal degree of existence to become human in the fullest sense of the term. “Human,” in Hebrew (“Adam”), refers to the phrase “similar to the most high” (“Adameh le Elyon”). Therefore, reaching spiritual love means attaining resemblance to the Creator, which is described by Kabbalah as the purpose of life—the highest, most harmonious and balanced state of perception and sensation that we can achieve, while alive in our world.
Based on the Daily Kabbalah Lesson of January 23, 2021. Written/edited by students of Kabbalist Dr. Michael Laitman.