Entries in the 'Spirituality' Category

“What Are 5 Facts About Spiritual Love?” (Quora)

Dr. Michael LaitmanMichael Laitman, On Quora: What are 5 facts about spiritual love?

1) The attainment of spiritual love and spiritual connection can only take place above sensations of hatred and rejection. If we love others without having built love above hatred and rejection, then it is not spiritual love.

2) It is written about the attainment of spiritual love in the Torah, that “Love will cover all crimes” (Proverbs 10:12).

3) Spiritual attainment requires holding onto the rule of “Love will cover all crimes,” and that we cannot hold love without feeling the “crimes,” i.e., hatred and rejection of others. The attitude to love and hatred thus needs to be equal in importance. We attain spirituality between them both, and thus those who wish to attain spirituality need to equally position love and hatred, or connection and rejection, before themselves.

4) The human ego, which is a desire to enjoy at the expense of others, is the cause of feeling hatred and rejection toward others; it is an “anti-spiritual” quality. Developing spiritual love thus requires feeling hatred and rejection illuminating in our ego’s rejection of spirituality, then reaching a decision to restrict the ego, and then above the ego, developing an attitude of love and connection to others. Moreover, such an attitude needs to be constant, where we feel love and hatred simultaneously, and choose love above the hatred. It is unlike our corporeal world, where we love and hate at different times. Holding these qualities together gains us access to the sensation of eternity.

5) The development and discovery of spiritual love above its opposite hatred and rejection is the “artistry” of spirituality. In the language of Kabbalah, it is expressed as follows: that the spiritual Partzuf (a spiritual entity or identity) takes its Aviut (coarse egoistic desire), which is a sensation of hatred and a complete lack of connection to others, and through a Tzimtzum (restriction) of the egoistic desire, the Partzuf rises above the Aviut to connect—elevating values of connection much higher in importance than the natural egoistic inclination—and to the extent of the oppositeness between qualities of love/connection and hatred/rejection, the new, higher, more spiritual and giving Partzuf is discovered: both through the Aviut (coarse egoistic desire) below, and the Zakut (purity) above.

Based on the Daily Kabbalah Lesson on January 27, 2021. Written/edited by students of Kabbalist Dr. Michael Laitman.

“If Spirituality Is A Lifelong Journey, How Does One Know Whether Or Not They Have Made Progress?” (Quora)

Dr. Michael LaitmanMichael 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.

“Is Spiritual Love Different From The Love We Know? If Yes, Can We Do Something To Nurture It?” (Quora)

Dr. Michael LaitmanMichael Laitman, On Quora: Is spiritual love different from the love we know? If yes, can we do something to nurture it?

The love we know, or corporeal love, involves loving whoever or whatever gives us pleasure. Spiritual love, by contrast, is built on feeling an inner distance, rejection, and opposition to others, and building love upon that distance.

In other words, the love we know is that which appears in our inborn ego, where we feel a natural attraction and closeness to one another. Each person who feels such love does so based on the calculation that they will ultimately benefit from that love. Such is the calculation of our egoistic nature, which is a desire to enjoy from other people and things. Therefore, according to the love we know—corporeal love—we feel love, attraction, and closeness to each other sometimes, and at other times, hatred, rejection and distance.

Spiritual love, however, requires feeling distance, rejection, and opposition to each other together with an attitude of love, connection and attraction that we build above those sensations. In our current reality, we cannot simultaneously feel love and hatred toward others, but we feel those sensations at different times. Spiritual love, therefore, requires great artistry in the spiritual process of rising above the ego to positively connect with others, and we need to become worthy of attaining that lofty level of love.

However, we are reaching a level in our development where we become increasingly prepared to experience spiritual love. On one hand, we see that the love we know is leading us into more and more problems. The bigger our ego becomes, the more we demand in order to fulfill ourselves, and the harder we find it to become fulfilled. On the other hand, we are getting prepared to become more mature.

Sweet food can help us see an example of this maturation process. Children usually like sweet food that is only sweet, but when we grow up, we often like to have sweet food together with or after something spicy, bitter or sour. The more we mature, the more we feel incapable of enjoying from one thing alone, but require the thing and its opposite.

We also see how if we had experienced only positive states in life, without the need to strive and overcome, and without feeling boundaries and criticism, then we would feel as if our life lacks something. We are built in a way where we desire to have graspable points for other calculations, and thus we develop a need to add bitterness, sourness and spice in order to taste and enjoy the sweetness. This tendency stems from the basis of our existence, where we—created beings—were originally created opposite from nature: Nature is a quality of love that solely wishes to bestow pleasure and fulfillment, and we are made of an opposite quality that solely wishes to receive pleasure and fulfillment.

Therefore, in order that we “taste the sweetness” of spiritual love, we need to attain the quality of love and bestowal that does not exist in our inborn receptive nature, and thus need to build that quality in us upon our natural rejection and distance from those qualities. This is possible with the guidance of a method—the wisdom of Kabbalah—which teaches the ways of rising above the transience and incomplete nature of the ego in order to discover the quality of spiritual love, which is eternal and whole.

Kabbalists have written about spiritual love—“Love will cover all crimes” (Proverbs 10:12)—where the “crimes” are the distance, rejection and opposition we feel in our ego. The more we implement such a form of love in our spiritual development, the more we will attain everything that nature laid out for us in order to attain our ultimate purpose of existence: the sensation of love in its perfection, wholeness and eternity.

Based on the Daily Kabbalah Lesson with Kabbalist Dr. Michael Laitman on January 29, 2021. Written/edited by students of Kabbalist Dr. Michael Laitman.

Photo by Tamanna Rumee on Unsplash.

“What Does It Feel Like To Be Spiritually Enlightened?” (Quora)

Dr. Michael LaitmanMichael Laitman, On Quora: What does it feel like to be spiritually enlightened?

The feeling of spiritual enlightenment is a feeling of unification with nature.

It is that we exist in a field of a single common connection, with a force of love and bestowal connecting between us.

Moreover, total unification as integral parts of nature is our life’s ultimate destination; it is what we discover when we reach the purpose of our lives.

Through positive connection among us all and with nature, the force of love and bestowal dwelling in nature awakens and illuminates. It gives us a new heightened sensation of harmony and eternity—a feeling of enjoyment through giving contentment to each other and to nature.

Based on the “Fundamentals of Kabbalah” lesson by Kabbalist Dr. Michael Laitman on December 9, 2018. Written/edited by students of Kabbalist Dr. Michael Laitman.

“Can You Describe Your Spiritual Awakening Experience?” (Quora)

Dr. Michael LaitmanMichael Laitman, On Quora: Can you describe your spiritual awakening experience?

We start our spiritual ascent from having an entirely egoistic desire, which wants solely to receive for personal benefit, and then a tiny spark of a spiritual desire emerges within us.

The spiritual desire is one of love, giving, and positive connection with everyone. However, we initially do not feel this desire as such, but instead feel it as inner emptiness among our egoistic desires. It raises deep questions about our true identity, and our meaning and purpose in life.

Existential questions such as “What is the meaning of life?” “Who am I?” and “Why am I here?” urge us to seek their answers. If these questions bug us enough, we embark on a journey through new and different environments to those we grew up in, reading all kinds of texts, and reaching out to various teachers and groups.

If we sincerely ask about the meaning of our lives, then eventually we arrive at the wisdom of Kabbalah, which was made specifically for answering that question. The wisdom of Kabbalah is also called “the wisdom of connection,” as it methodically guides a process for how to positively connect in order to discover our ultimate unification among each other and with nature as a single soul, with the force of love and bestowal dwelling in nature holding us all together.

We learn about fundamental principles of the reality that we live in: We once existed as a single soul, called “the soul of Adam HaRishon,” which shattered. The shattering of Adam HaRishon gave rise to our state as we know it in this world, where we perceive each other as separate beings, and feel detached from nature as well.

However, while we exist in this perception of separation, we have a small spark, called a “point in the heart” in the wisdom of Kabbalah, which belongs to our connected state as a complete soul before it shattered. This point in the heart awakens existential questions in us, and urges us to search for how we can ultimately discover our perfectly connected, harmonious and eternal soul.

At the start of our Kabbalah studies, we learn the difference between humans and animals, that humans have an additional egoistic inclination for self-love unfound in the animal world. Whoever feels this egoistic self-love, a sense of uniqueness, can also reach the sensation that it is an evil inclination, and that in order to discover spirituality, they need to rise above this evil inclination in order to discover a “good inclination.”

The good inclination is one of connecting and integrating with others. By investing ourselves in such a connection, we invite spiritual forces that dwell above the point where the soul of Adam HaRishon shattered, and through the influence of these spiritual forces, we eventually reach the discovery of our true connection as a single soul. That revelation opens up to us a complete picture of reality, and a sensation of connection that is absolute, harmonious, perfect and eternal.

Based on the Daily Kabbalah Lesson with Kabbalist Dr. Michael Laitman on January 26, 2021. Written/edited by students of Kabbalist Dr. Michael Laitman.

“Is It Possible For A Person To Be Considered Spiritual Without Being Religious?” (Quora)

Dr. Michael LaitmanMichael Laitman, On Quora: Is it possible for a person to be considered spiritual without being religious?

Yes, it is. Spirituality is focused exclusively on bestowal, while religion exists within the corporeal sphere, which is about reception, and which has corresponding intentions. However, judging from people’s actions, it can be quite unclear.

Spirituality requires never dividing creation into differing, opposing and contradictory forces, but instead attributing everything to one force of love and bestowal that is positioned behind everything.

Spiritual ascent is achieved by attributing to a single force what appears to us as good and evil. In other words, the upper force, which relates to us through an attitude of bestowal and love, holds a “conversation” with us through the forces of good and evil, in order to guide our development to the eventual discovery of one force positioned behind everything. In the process, we adhere to that spiritual force above what we perceive in our corporeal reality, and rise the rungs of the spiritual ladder.

However, people on the spiritual path can carry out all sorts of religious customs as a result of their upbringing, education, culture and their nation’s traditions. I think that it is positive to treat religion in such a way.

Yet, religion should be no replacement for spiritual progress, because the sublime attainment of the spiritual force of bestowal and love should be above and beyond everything else. Religion in and of itself does not interfere with this attainment. What can hold us back from spiritual attainment is falsely thinking that religion can replace spirituality. In other words, conducting various physical actions, and praying according to written words according to a certain schedule, will not lead us to spiritual attainment. We discover spirituality by aiming to apply the qualities of the spiritual force—love and bestowal—among our own qualities and relations, as described in the tenet, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”

In other words, intentions, thoughts and desires are of utmost importance, and our actions are secondary. Many religious people conduct actions habitually, having been raised from childhood to perform them without thinking, and there is no spiritual ascent in doing so.

Spirituality, i.e., the intention to love and bestow, is thus not achieved by religious actions, but by positively connecting with others in a common intention. Religious actions, however, do not become canceled. They are like a branch that symbolizes the spiritual root, and people can remain in that culture. Such customs neither interfere with nor help spiritual advancement. They simply remind us that spiritual actions exist, which is also the reason for their preservation throughout the generations.

Based on the Daily Kabbalah Lesson on 2011/11/20. Written/edited by students of Kabbalist Dr. Michael Laitman.

Photo by Thomas Kinto on Unsplash.

“Why Is Spiritual Truth So Elusive?” (Quora)

Dr. Michael LaitmanMichael Laitman, On Quora: Why is spiritual truth so elusive?

What is spirituality? Spirituality is the quality of love, bestowal and connection. This is why spirituality is so elusive. It is concealed from us, since it is complete altruism while our quality is the opposite, total egoism.

Then, the question becomes, is spirituality hidden from us or do we hide spirituality by having no interest in recognizing its existence? According to our receptive nature, we solely desire corporeal fulfillment. The idea of enjoying purely by giving, without receiving anything at all in return, is alien to us.

That is the whole problem. Nobody and nothing hides spirituality from us. We exist within a spiritual reality, and if we could expand our vessels of perception and sensation, we would see that only a single force of love, bestowal and connection exists. However, when we look at the world around us, it looks like a completely opposite picture to one of pure love, bestowal and connection.

This opposition is in order for us to develop a sincere desire to enter into balance with the spiritual reality surrounding us, that our relations and attitudes to each other will become as loving, altruistic and positively connected as the quality of nature in and of itself. During the process of adapting ourselves to the spiritual reality of love, bestowal and connection, we do not cancel the inborn human ego and our corporeal desires. The only transformation we need make to reveal the spiritual truth is in our intention: that we restrict our egoistic intention to enjoy at the expense of others and nature, and increase our intention to love, bestow and connect purely “for the sake of bestowal,” i.e., without wanting anything in return. In other words, in order to discover the spiritual reality that is filled with the quality of love, bestowal and connection, we need only transform our intention from egoistic to altruistic, and then we will enter a whole new perception and sensation of reality: one that is boundless, tranquil and completely balanced.

Based on the Daily Kabbalah Lesson 2010/11/17, “The Essence of Religion and Its Purpose.” Written/edited by students of Kabbalist Dr. Michael Laitman.

“What Are Major Spiritual Awakening Symptoms?” (Quora)

Dr. Michael LaitmanMichael Laitman, On Quora: What are major spiritual awakening symptoms?

We have been evolving over thousands of years, and at a certain point, we start awakening to questions about the meaning and purpose of our lives. They are the first awakening that we receive toward spirituality, and they become our principle concern the moment that we start rising above our animate existence.

Unlike animals, our desires evolve from one generation to the next. We feel the desires of the next level of evolution, and our sensation of emptiness constantly grows, forcing us to seek new and different kinds of fulfillment to what we previously had. We thus gradually develop a more and more pronounced question about the meaning of life, which increasingly preoccupies us.

Newer and newer ideas surface in us, and we develop increasingly complex systems as a result of our growing unfulfilled desires. Science also develops in relation to the questions we have in each generation, and we can see the vast difference between today’s science and science a few centuries ago.

Moreover, the question about the meaning and purpose of our lives manifests itself first and foremost in certain individuals. Over the course of history, we have been driven to make breakthroughs in several areas, whether it be art, music, literature, poetry, science and technology. Our desires constantly grew according to a scale starting from mere survival necessities—food, sex and family—through to social desires—money, honor, control and knowledge. From one generation to the next, our desires become increasingly refined.

According to the great Kabbalist, the Ari (Rav Isaac Luria), the question about the meaning and purpose of life started emerging in humanity as a whole toward the end of the Middle Ages and the beginning of the Renaissance. The technological, scientific and cultural revolutions in Europe thus became the trigger for the emergence of a totally new attitude to life and religion. Many people started no longer fearing being non-religious and getting punished for dissent, which signaled that desires in humanity grew to a new level where belief started falling short in the new demand for proof that had started evolving.

At the start of the “Introduction to The Study of the Ten Sefirot,” Kabbalist Yehuda Ashlag (Baal HaSulam) wrote:

Indeed, if we set our hearts to answer but one very famous question, I am certain that all these questions and doubts as to whether we should study the wisdom of Kabbalah will vanish from the horizon, and you will look unto their place to find them gone. This indignant question is a question that the whole world asks, namely, ‘What is the meaning of my life?’

We could say that everything unfolding in the world today is due to us not finding an answer to the question about the meaning of life. We can see what humanity engages in and what it leads the world to, and it is all because people fail to understand what they exist for.

We mostly wish to file away the question about the meaning and purpose of life, and instead engage in much more immediate and concrete pleasures, keeping ourselves busy in order to avoid asking the question. It is because the question, if we engage in it without finding an answer, brings us existential suffering in addition to the suffering we experience in relation to our daily survival.

However, the reason that Baal HaSulam discusses the meaning of life in his “Introduction to the Study of the Ten Sefirot” is because he wants to show how we need not have any lofty goals or special thoughts in order to embark on the spiritual path. Very simply, if we feel bad and we do not know why we are alive, and such questions keep surfacing in us making us feel uneasy, and that we need to get these questions answered in order to justify our existence, then we can start taking steps on the spiritual path.

The wisdom of Kabbalah was made specifically for answering the question about the meaning and purpose of life, and it is open to all, regardless of age, gender, background or any other seeming differences.

Based on a Virtual Lesson on January 31, 2016. Written/edited by students of Kabbalist Dr. Michael Laitman.

Difference Between White And Black Envy

622.01Question: What is the difference between white and black envy?

Answer: White envy is when I envy others, but do not affect them, but only learn from them.

Such envy can be relatively egoistic if, looking at how others are excited about science, art, and so on, I envy them and this advances me. That is, I do not want to harm them, on the contrary, perhaps, I am even so sensible that I want them to succeed even more, and I will also catch up with them.

Black envy is when I want to succeed in something, but I see that I cannot, and therefore, in order not to be lagging behind, I do everything so that others stumble and do not succeed. Then I do not move them forward and I do not advance with them. Even if I do advance, I still do not want them to have anything.
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From KabTV’s “Spiritual States” 4/3/19

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“How Can I Become More Spiritual?” (Quora)

Dr. Michael LaitmanMichael Laitman, On Quora: How can I become more spiritual?

Kabbalist Yehuda Ashlag (Baal HaSulam) writes in his article “The Freedom” that our single means by which we can change our state is by choosing a suitable environment.

“There is freedom for the will to initially choose such an environment, such books, and such guides that impart to him good concepts. If one does not do that, but is willing to enter any environment that appears to him and read any book that falls into his hands, he is bound to fall into a bad environment or waste his time on worthless books, which are abundant and easier to come by. In consequence, he will be forced into foul concepts that make him sin and condemn. He will certainly be punished, not because of his evil thoughts or deeds, in which he has no choice, but because he did not choose to be in a good environment, for in that there is definitely a choice.

Therefore, he who strives to continually choose a better environment is worthy of praise and reward. But here, too, it is not because of his good thoughts and deeds, which come to him without his choice, but because of his effort to acquire a good environment, which brings him these good thoughts and deeds.”

If we continually choose a more powerful environmental influence that guides us to spirituality, then we become worthy of spiritual progress.

Choosing and strengthening a suitable environment for spiritual progress is primary to becoming more spiritual, and not performing what we usually consider as “good deeds.” This is because we are ultimately not in control of our behaviors. Rather, our environment determines how we think and behave, and so if we place ourselves into an environment that guides us spiritually, and increasingly strengthen our connection to that environment, then it moves us in such a direction and we become more spiritual.

Photo: World Kabbalah Convention at Ganei HaTa’arucha, Tel Aviv, Kabbalah.info.