“If Spirituality Is A Lifelong Journey, How Does One Know Whether Or Not They Have Made Progress?” (Quora)
Michael Laitman, On Quora: “If spirituality is a lifelong journey, how does one know whether or not they have made progress?“
Spirituality is a quality of love, bestowal and positive connection that becomes revealed in our connection as a single soul. By contrast, corporeality is a quality of reception and characterizes the perception we have in this world.
Therefore, spiritual progress requires a method of connecting to each other where we discover our eternal and perfect interconnection as a single soul above our corporeal state of transience and detachment in this world.
Spiritual progress thus becomes revealed after we try to resemble its purely altruistic connections in connection among each other, and we discover our opposition to spirituality: that we are egoistic, and constantly want to receive self-aimed fulfillment. We feel such oppositeness as a “crime” that we need to detach from and rise above. Moreover, our corporeal quality remains with us as a foundation upon which we elevate ourselves into spirituality. As such, time and again, we increasingly feel this clash of qualities the more that we try to spiritually progress.
Therefore, by engaging ourselves in a supportive environment of fellow spiritual seekers who wish to attain spirituality, and applying the method of connection—the wisdom of Kabbalah—which lets us attract the forces of love and bestowal from our spiritual root as one soul, then we eventually discover how indifferent we are to each other, and afterward we feel rejection to each other and see all kinds of negative qualities in others.
Such revelations are in fact positive signs of spiritual progress, where the spiritual forces of love and bestowal (called “lights”) that we attract reveal the distance between us—the extent to which we are opposite and different from our spiritual state as a single soul—and from that revelation of oppositeness, we can start establishing a spiritual form of connection with each other and spiritually progress.
Spiritual progress is thus felt as an increasing need and yearning to positively connect with others. And when do we know that we need positive spiritual connection with others? It is when we know the extent to which we reject each other, do not want each other, and have all kinds of complaints about each other. At this juncture, we can say that the breaking of the soul starts revealing, i.e., the point where we originally detached from our perception and sensation as a single soul, where we all functioned as parts of a greater whole, and thus felt the eternal life of that whole.
The coarse desire that detached us then becomes revealed, and we have work to not cancel or revoke that desire, but above it, start building connection, so that the spiritual connection that we build will not neutralize the rejection between us, but that they will exist together.
Spiritual progress is thus a process of increasing wisdom and inner growth where we mature in our understanding and ability to hold onto two opposite states together, that reception and bestowal, egoism and altruism, hatred and love, will live among us, and we relate to every negative quality that surfaces in us as a foundation upon which to apply increasing yearning for love, bestowal and positive connection upon it.
This is the meaning of “one recites a blessing for the bad that befalls him just as he does for the good” (Masechet Berachot 9:3), because all bad and good surface only for us to reveal more and more positive connection between us, and ultimately, to discover our connection as a single soul in contact with the force of love, bestowal and connection (called “the Creator”) that vitalizes us. The outcome of this spiritual progress is the sensation of eternity, perfection and truth, which in the wisdom of Kabbalah is called “the revelation of the Creator to His created beings in this world” (Kabbalist Yehuda Ashlag [Baal HaSulam], “The Essence of the Wisdom of Kabbalah”).
Based on the Daily Kabbalah Lesson with Kabbalist Dr. Michael Laitman on January 28, 2021. Written/edited by students of Kabbalist Dr. Michael Laitman.