It is impossible to remain calm in any situation. Also, we do not have to always be calm.
Nature develops us by constantly growing our ego. If we look at eons of human development, we can see development from basic survival desires for food, sex, family and shelter—desires we had as cave dwellers—through the egoistic desires that appear when we develop as civilizations: money, honor, control and knowledge.
The more the ego grows, the less calm we become.
Aggravation, agitation and stress are all states that nature urges us to feel in order to reach the recognition of our human ego as the cause of the turbulence, and by doing so, develop a sincere new desire to rise above the ego.
At this juncture, we need a supportive environment where we feel encouragement and confidence in order to rise above the ego.
One aspect of such an environment is regular learning and activity aimed at elevating us above the human ego, which shields us against any aggravations that come to unbalance us.
In other words, by regularly calibrating ourselves in order to recognize the ego as the source of our imbalance with our surroundings, and to rise above the ego, we would need to strengthen our supportive environment, which would in turn help us through any states we experience faster than if we were left to our own devices.
According to the wisdom of Kabbalah, the Torah describes the complete method for the Creator’s attainment.
The word “Torah” comes from two Hebrew words, “Ohr,” which means “light” and “Hora’ah,” which means “teaching” or “instruction.”
The Torah is written in the language of branches. It is a language that gives names to spiritual forces according to their corresponding manifestations in the corporeal world. Therefore, although many think that the Torah describes events that took place in our world, from a Kabbalistic perspective, the Torah in fact depicts processes, structures, and interactions in what is called “the spiritual world” or “the upper world” where there are only immaterial forces.
Why did Kabbalists make such written depictions of spiritual forces?
It is so that students wishing to attain spirituality could attract the influence from the spiritual world upon themselves by reading. In Kabbalah, such an action is called attracting the Ohr Makif (surrounding light).
By attracting the surrounding light, we undergo corrections of our egoistic nature, gradually transforming it into the spiritual altruistic nature. We thus become filled by the spiritual light and perceive the spiritual world to the extent of our ego’s correction.
Perceiving the spiritual world means sensing eternity and perfection that comes from attaining similarity of qualities with the Creator. In other words, as the Creator is a quality of love and bestowal, so by drawing the surrounding light upon ourselves, we become more like that quality, changing (or “correcting”) our opposite egoistic nature to become more giving like the Creator.
If we had no such method, we would stay on the animal level of existence, where we get born, try to survive and prosper as much as we can while alive, and then ultimately die—over and over again.
We would achieve no sense of eternity, perfection, and knowledge of the Creator.
The language of branches, which describes the spiritual forces (“roots”) with the help of their corporeal manifestations (“branches”), has four variations. In other words, there are four kinds of languages of branches:
Tanach – a language of historical narration, Halacha – a language of laws, Haggadah – a language of legends,
Kabbalah – a scientific language that is closest to the spiritual roots.
Kabbalist Yehuda Ashlag (Baal HaSulam) further explains the language of branches at great length in his article, “The Essence of the Wisdom of Kabbalah.” The following is an excerpt:
THE LANGUAGE OF THE KABBALISTS IS A LANGUAGE OF BRANCHES
“This means that the branches indicate to their roots, being their molds that necessarily exist in the Upper World. This is because there is nothing in the reality of the lower world that does not stem from its Superior World. As with the seal and the imprint, the root in the Upper World compels its branch in the lower one to reveal its entire form and feature, as our sages said, that the fortune in the world Above, related to the grass in the world below, strikes it, forcing it to complete its growth. Because of that, each and every branch in this world well defines its mold, situated in the Higher World.
“Thus, Kabbalists have found a set and annotated vocabulary, sufficient to create an excellent spoken language. It enables them to converse with one another of the dealings in the Spiritual Roots in the Upper Worlds by merely mentioning the lower, tangible branch in this world that is well defined to our corporeal senses.
“The listeners understand the Upper Root to which this corporeal branch points because it is related to it, being its imprint. Thus, all the beings of the tangible creation and all their instances have become to them like well-defined words and names, indicating the High Spiritual Roots. Although there cannot be a verbal expression in their spiritual place, as it is above any imagination, they have earned the right to be expressed by utterance through their branches, arranged before our senses here in the tangible world.
“That is the nature of the spoken language among Kabbalists, by which they convey their spiritual attainments from person to person and from generation to generation, both by word of mouth and in writing. They fully understand one another, with all the required accuracy needed for negotiating in research of the wisdom, with precise definitions one cannot fail in. This is so because each branch has its own natural, unique definition, and this absolute definition indicates to its root in the Higher World.”
As much as we depict the extent of our love for ourselves, we need to love others to that same extent.
The more we develop, the more we perceive “love your neighbor as yourself” differently.
As the human ego, the attribute of self-love, constantly grows in each and every person, then the more we develop, the more we love ourselves.
Our self-love should then serve as an example for how we should love others.
The path to reaching “love your neighbor as yourself” is thus a path that has a necessary first stage, which is defined as “don’t do to others what you hate.” By exercising not doing to others what we hate, we gradually learn how to rise above the ego that separates us from each other, developing the quality of bestowal above our innate quality of reception, developing our readiness to reach the sublime state of “love your neighbor as yourself.”
In other words, “love your neighbor as yourself” is not merely a pleasant slogan, but a state of absolute positive connection above the ego, where we perceive and sense a completely different reality to the one we feel in our inborn ego.
Reaching such a state requires a surrounding society of people willing to support each other in order to achieve that goal. Otherwise, if there is a lack of agreement among anyone in such a society, where even one remains in the natural egoistic drive for self-love, it then harms everyone’s ability to achieve a common state of love.
In an era when social division and hatred is soaring, and when authorities and human reasoning fail to contain the surging negative emotions, the world definitely needs a shift to a whole, inclusive and absolute form of love.
It is common to think of love as an illogical sensation that emerges seemingly out of thin air, and that there is no real reason to love each other.
However, the power of love is all that can bring us together upon our divisions, and guide us to a more positive world.
We are developing into times where we will feel on our flesh that love is a necessity, that without love, life will become increasingly painful, and with love, we will rise to a whole new harmonious dimension that we’ve never experienced before.
In the wisdom of Kabbalah, the Tree of Life describes a specific spiritual phenomenon.
The wisdom of Kabbalah is defined as a sequence of roots that hang down by way of cause and consequence, weaving to a single exalted goal: the person’s discovery of the upper light (the Creator).
The Tree of Life is that entire cause-and-effect chain. It is a formation that emanates from the upper light that fills reality, through a series of concealments that dim the light, down to the final filter of our world, where it continues acting through our entire universe.
As humans, the light guides our development: We first exist in this world to preserve ourselves like rocks, then grow like plants, move like animals, and finally, connect socially as human beings.
Toward the end of our development, we begin feeling the original upper light acting in our lives. It causes us to feel a certain kind of emptiness in the ways we have fulfilled ourselves up until today, surfacing existential questions within us.
According to the wisdom of Kabbalah, such a state marks the beginning of our ascent from this world up the Tree of Life, to our source.
The light continues guiding the development of this new desire that emerges. It also gives us opportunities to strengthen its influence upon us, so that we can accelerate our way up the Tree of Life.
The wisdom of Kabbalah details this process of spiritual awakening and how to navigate our ascent to our life’s source.
The length of time for each person’s spiritual awakening depends on the state of the collective system we are all parts of, which develops to an increasingly unified state, and how we are needed in that system.
A person is a small part of the collective system (called “the soul of Adam HaRishon” in the wisdom of Kabbalah). This system determines each person’s appearance in this world and development toward our final unified state.
Our initial spiritual awakening takes place involuntarily. We are given a desire for spirituality, called a “point in the heart,” which is expressed as questions about life’s meaning and purpose. Such questions lead us through different environments until we find one that provides us with a path to their fulfillment.
When on this path, we then need only do whatever is in our hands to do, and then the time it takes to receive further spiritual awakening no longer depends on us.
The spiritual path divides into stages of knowledge, understanding, and finally, attainment.
Attainment of spirituality in our senses takes the longest amount of time.
Spiritual attainment means not only understanding the system’s intelligence, but also completely internalizing all of its connections, working with it as a partner.
Reaching such a state means harmonizing with the collective system we are parts of, benefiting the system by contributing to its harmony, and discovering the root of our soul.
Spirituality is above our corporeal reality. It is a completely opposite perception and sensation to our inborn bodily one.
We are born into an egoistic human nature, prioritizing self-benefit over benefiting others.
However, spirituality operates in an opposite, altruistic way to our egoistic nature—as an attitude of absolute love for the other.
What does it mean that we are born into an egoistic human nature? It means that everything we do is ultimately aimed at personal benefit.
The egoistic motor constantly running behind our every thought, desire and action is wrenched into our worldview more than we are aware of, blocking our ability to see us all connected, like members of a single family, since it filters out the absolute love that exists in our connections at the roots of our soul.
Therefore, every corporeal act we perform is based on this egoistic “perceptual blockage” that we all share, which constantly gravitates our attention onto ourselves.
However, a spiritual action is outside of and detached from its performer.
Instead of identifying with our “I’s,” we identify with the causal force behind its corporeal manifestations. That is made possible by attaining an identical intention toward others as the Creator: an intention of absolute love and bestowal.
Therefore, spirituality is the reality of connection with the Creator, the sensation of fulfillment by the quality of love and bestowal.
Spirituality is outside time, space, motion, and the animate body. It is felt solely in a new sense—a sincere intention to benefit the other—which is regularly exercised and developed on the spiritual path.
When we connect with others as a means to reach balance with the laws of nature—laws of connection, interdependence and altruism—then this yearning guides our discovery of our perfect place in the collective system, of which we are its parts.
In the wisdom of Kabbalah, this is referred to as reaching the root of our soul, the ultimate harmonious state that we can all achieve.
We humans are different to animals in that our dreams, visions, goals and targets motivate us to strive more than merely living in order to survive.
Getting motivated every day to realize one’s goals requires organizing for oneself an environment that consistently upholds the importance of such goals.
However, it is important to clarify the goals one exerts for, since many goals end up failing to provide lasting fulfillment and happiness.
The ultimate goal in life is achieving total balance with nature through positive human connection.
When we reach such a mode of connecting to each other, with altruistic thoughts, desires and actions in the midst of our connections, we will experience a new kind of happiness—one that does not dissipate, but which is eternal, since we would reach what Kabbalah calls “equivalence of form” with nature’s altruistic form.
Therefore, similarly to how we motivate ourselves to achieve other goals in life, achieving connection in order to balance with nature requires a supportive environment of like-minded people who share a similar desire to reach this eternal fulfillment. Also, they should regularly show encouragement and examples to each other of efforts to rise above the human egoistic nature, which separates us, and enter the altruistic nature, which connects us.
We will then start experiencing our incapability and unpreparedness for such a state, as we start detecting how our entire being is anti-altruistic, aimed solely at our personal benefit.
Therefore, our motivation to continue and make a breakthrough from our egoistic, self-centered nature to balance with the altruistic mode of nature, depends on the support, encouragement, confidence and activity that we develop in a supportive environment that aims at such a goal.
If we viewed human society a single live organism, then what would we see?
We would see that, in its current state of development, its immune system is barely working, and its cells and organs, which should be sustaining the body’s health, are deteriorating.
Personal, social, economic and ecological problems are all on the rise, including depression, stress, loneliness, emptiness, anxiety, xenophobia, drug abuse, suicide, income equality, poverty, climate change, the coronavirus pandemic, and although many people are trying to patch and treat these problems, the efforts fail to solve the problem at its overarching cause.
What is the cause of all problems in human society?
It is the human ego, i.e., the innate calculative mechanism in human nature that prioritizes self-benefit over benefiting others, which makes society’s individual “cells” each pull to themselves more than giving to others, bringing on the downfall of the entire organism of human society.
As cancer takes place when cells take more than they need at the expense of the body, so our society is currently made up of egoists each guided by an enveloping egoistic paradigm that supports the idea of success as becoming individually wealthy, famous and powerful.
That we are egoists is a nature-given situation, but the social influence and public opinion that supports egoistic goals and values is what’s wrong with society.
Nature functions oppositely to the human ego: altruistically and according to laws of interconnection and interdependence. It thus rejects our growing ego, and the more we develop today, the more we feel pressured between our growing ego that wants to detach from others, and nature’s tendency to connect us all into a single whole.
Therefore, the more we develop today, the more we enter into an increasing entanglement of complications, and it is all in order to bring us to the realization that our egoistic nature stands behind all of our problems, that it is an inherently evil quality, that we helplessly follow its demands to try and fill it with self-aimed pleasure at the expense of others time and again, and that any move to improve society requires first diagnosing the ego as the cause of all our problems.
Then, when we reach a widespread realization of this common cause to all our problems, we can start fixing it.
When we reach such an awakening, we will realize that there is no person, group of people, or political or religious orientation to blame for our problems. There is only our very egoistic nature, dwelling in each and every one of us.
How can we then correct human nature, if it is the cause of all our problems?
It is possible if we create an environment that supports the ego’s correction, so that instead of receiving for self-benefit alone at the expense of others, we would want to positively contribute and connect to others in order to benefit them, without any “What will I get out of it?” intent.
It is against human nature to give and contribute to others, but if we changed public opinion, our social and media influences, and also our education, in order that we learn the nature of humanity’s increasing interdependence today, how the human ego opposes our growing interdependence and also why this is the cause of all our problems, and that the way to resolve our myriad problems today is by correcting our connections to each other—creating an environment that supports giving and contributing to society, prioritizing values of mutual consideration and responsibility over competitive and individualistic ideas of success—then we would be on course to a monumental positive social transformation.