Entries in the 'ascent' Category

Where’s The Pleasure?

Dr. Michael LaitmanQuestion: Why do the descents make a much bigger impression in our sensations than the ascents?

Answer: It’s because we are egoists. We were created out of the will to enjoy, which experiences pleasure or suffering. There is no middle between them, and therefore even when I am in a neutral state where both pleasure and suffering are absent, I feel bad. I lack pleasure. I always demand a positive; zero is not enough for me.

That is why a person is dissatisfied. He has a home, a job, and plenty of food, but something is still missing. Either the grass is greener on his neighbor’s side, or life is devoid of meaning.

Our egoistic desire is not satisfied with what it has. As a result we suffer from the lack of an addition, and this addition must definitely grow as our egoism grows.

Besides, our source is the Creator, who created us. He is the only, single, and irreplaceable one, and every one of us feels the same way. So where can we find fulfillment for someone who is so unique?

That’s why it turns out that we never find satisfaction, not through pleasure, nor through the right self-realization. That is the nature of egoism. The smallest descent is enough for all of our heroism to vanish into thin air. We would agree to anything just to avoid feeling empty inside!

The desire for pleasure depends entirely on the Light. As long as it receives Light, it is full of energy, even though it doesn’t understand where that energy comes from. But as soon as the Light grows slightly distant, you feel helpless and would agree to anything in order to correct the situation in some way.

Look at the world: there’s terrorism, murder, theft, and lies. It would seem that if you gave every person what he wanted, no one would do anything bad. So who’s to blame? It’s the Creator, who does not reveal Himself and thereby evokes bad things. All that remains is to make the right conclusions from the above.
From the 1st part of the Daily Kabbalah Lesson 11/16/10, Introduction to the Book of Zohar

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While The Light Is Working On Us

Dr. Michael LaitmanQuestion: With the help of The Book of Zohar, we wish to feel our interdependence in attaining spirituality as much as possible. How can we increase our internal demand during the remaining days before the convention? What else can be done?

Answer: We cannot remain in a constant, intense demand during an entire 24 hours. It is understandable. This is instilled in nature since all corrections occur due to the entering and exiting of the Light, as it is written, “For out of Zion shall go forth the law.”

Therefore, on one hand, the question is correct, “How can we feel, each minute, that we are ascending?” However, it also written that “The Creator’s angels ascend and descend.” During ascents as well as descents, we should realize that this is how advancement occurs. Hence, the process is correct.

If a person sees that for most of the day he does not cling to the goal, unity with the group, that he is not wholeheartedly striving to finally unify with the friends, to step “out of himself,” out of his ego, and to attain love of the created beings and the Creator, then this is how it has to be. After all, leaps forward, ascents, and contacts with the Upper One must, later, start working in the lower one and modifying multiple systems within him. Hence, this is how the work occurs.

Only if we ourselves begin to participate in the actions of the Upper One within us, does it mean that we are no longer in a state of an embryo (Ibur) or even nurturing (Yenika), but that we have reached a mature state (Gadlut) where we identify ourselves with the Upper One and act as partners, together. Then, I can say that both in descents and ascents or in any other states, the actions of the Upper One are not concealed from me anymore, and I work with them in the appropriate manner together with Him, dividing the work between us.

However, in the meantime, the Light is working on me, and I don’t know why I stopped feeling it and no longer know what is happening with me. Suddenly, for a few hours, I fall into an unconscious state and then wake up again. All these states should be viewed as correct.

When we become truly able to participate in this work, we will come to it. But torment, the desire to remain in this state forever, always pushes us toward advancement.
From the 2nd part of the Daily Kabbalah Lesson 10/18/10, The Zohar

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Now Do It Yourself!

Dr. Michael LaitmanDuring a descent, a state of darkness, helplessness, and separation from the Creator, the most important thing is to try to combine all the means correctly. In a descent a person has to build everything just like it happened to him during an ascent, when the Creator gave him a clear example. Then the two of them will be equal.

The Creator gives a person understanding, sensation, closeness, adhesion, the right mood, confidence, faith, the ability to bestow, the impulse, and the willingness to bestow. When a person feels all of this during an ascent, he must check his feelings very well so that he doesn’t just enjoy, but also performs a constant analysis of the situation.

Now this state came from the Creator as an example, and later, in a descent, a person will have to understand that the Creator has left him, similar to how an adult leaves a child so the child would do something on his own. It is time for the little one to recreate what he saw.

That is how we learn to keep the covenant we took upon ourselves during an ascent. Now, in a descent, we understand that it is for our own good. This state will enable us to create conditions of being independent of our sensations and thus we will reveal all the means to come to the Light. We just need to make our own efforts.

We never succeed without the Creator’s help, yet we act independently because we ourselves use all the means He has given to us. That is how creation makes itself equal to the Creator.
From the 1st part of the Daily Kabbalah Lesson 10/26/10, “All of Israel Have A Part in the Next World”

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Spiritual Ascent

Dr. Michael LaitmanWe study Kabbalistic texts about the Upper World, the concealed part of reality. The Kabbalists describe this reality, this world, in a poetic form, and we don’t understand what they say. They seem to take the words from this world to tell us about the Upper World. Why is this so?

It is because the Upper World is the world of forces that descend into our world and perform actions in it. All events that take place in our world we already see as deriving from the forces that trigger them. We don’t perceive the forces, don’t know or feel where they come from. We see only the effects of their action: our world and ourselves.

We are given an opportunity to read and hear about the Upper Forces, how they descend and bring this world into motion. Kabbalists describe this to us so that on our way back to the source, we can rise from the actions that these forces perform here in our world to their roots. If we read the books written by the Kabbalists with this intention, then these texts affect us, and, gradually to the extent of our efforts, we start approaching them more closely, like a child with the help of the game that gradually helps him to develop and grow.

But there is one more condition: The forces that we wish to ascend to are not ordinary, as in our world. The Upper Forces are opposite to us; they are the forces of bestowal. And we are the receiving matter, the desire to feel pleasure, that is affected by them.

In order to attain the nature of bestowal from the receiving one, we have to organize ourselves in a group prior to opening The Book of Zohar, and, while reading in the group, try to keep thinking about our unity since this is the nature of the very same Upper Forces that are affecting us. Then, they will be affecting us not only through their governing action as they do in relation to all humanity and the world, but also with their property of bestowal.

Everything occurs in accordance with our desire. If we wish to not only be affected by the Upper Forces but to also become as they are and attain the property of bestowal, then gradually we’ll change and become part of these forces as bestowing as they are.

This means that we gradually ascend from this world to the level of the Upper Forces. Clearly, we don’t ascend and descend physically, but we start being organized within, realizing and agreeing with that very force of bestowal which affects us more and more; we identify with it.

This force fills me ever more, and I act accordingly. This is regarded as “spiritual ascent” that takes place under the condition that I am in the group and wish, as all the others do, to feel how this force of bestowal fills us.

Let’s think about this while we read The Zohar, and we will succeed!
From the 2nd part of the Daily Kabbalah Lesson 10/19/10, The Zohar

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The First Degree Of My Soul

Dr. Michael LaitmanQuestion: Is there a difference in the efforts that I’m required to apply when I fulfill the conditions of the mutual guarantee for the first time and when it happens for the second time?

Answer: The difference is in a sensation of a lack, in that I now intend to achieve the second degree on the basis of the first. The first degree stays in me as a Reshimo (internal record, imprint), a state that I have experienced but could not preserve because of an additional desire to receive. I must now overcome this additional desire in order to attain the next degree. The previous degree helps me to reach the next one.

These are not degrees of a descent, but those of an ascent. In other words, even if I fall, I understand why I have fallen and know what I have to do. Based on my own experience I already know how I managed to reach the state of a mutual guarantee on the first degree, and now I am going to do the same on the following degree.

This is called “a person’s soul teaches him,” meaning that I have gained experience and I know what to do. It is clear to me now that my descents are not states where I simply lose myself. I realize that I am in a descent now and that I lack strength (contact with the Creator).

It is already a realization that I am in darkness, that I have lost touch with the Creator. In other words, the point of awareness of or contact with spirituality is preserved, and that is very important. Now I begin my work from that point instead of a state completely detached from spirituality.

Expressed differently, you do not lose your previous level due to a “sin”; rather, you fall from the first degree because you have been given a desire of a second, higher degree. The magnitude of the uncorrected desire of the second degree, the sin that is being revealed to you now, overshadows the corrected degree, although the first degree stays inside the second in the corrected form.

It is actually an ascent, and not a fall; you have achieved the first degree and have now revealed the second degree, its opposite side. In the AHP of the Upper One, you feel yourself as “fallen,” a “sinner.” However, it is the way you define yourself from the perspective of the corrected first degree.

It exemplifies the saying “a person’s soul teaches him” because I already have a soul. Indeed, the first degree is my soul. Afterward, I will develop a soul of a magnitude that corresponds to the second degree, then the third, and so on.

Each time higher degrees will be emerging inside me; they will conceal the previous degrees to a greater extent, but I will always have the strength, the connection to the Light in order to ascend. I always discern each subsequent degree of an ascent based on the degree which I have already achieved. It means that I will have an opportunity to correctly diagnose what is happening to me and how to draw the Light that Reforms.

My state doesn’t resemble anything more than that of an unconsciousness patient because I am constantly equipped with the force of the mutual guarantee. I already signed its conditions, I am observing them, and I’m in a state in which I do not lose it, although from a personal perspective it may still happen. And then I suddenly realize that I am “drilling a hole in the boat.”

I have not yet drilled it all the way, I have just started, but in a moment it will be complete, and at that precise instant it begins to dawn on me. This is the revelation of egoism of the next degree. However, the previous degree, the bond between friends, remains inside me and is called “one is elevated in sanctity, and never lowered in sanctity.”

Therefore, Baal HaSulam writes that the real stumbling block is attaining the first degree. Until it happens a person feels completely confused.
From the 4th part of the Daily Kabbalah Lesson 10/11/10, “The Love of the Creator and Love for the Created Beings”

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The Major Difficulty Of Spiritual Work

Dr. Michael LaitmanThe celebration of Sukkot (Feast of Tabernacles), like all other holidays, represents spiritual states that every person in the world will have to undergo while ascending in his qualities from our world to the World of Infinity. Ascent is defined as the strengthening of the connection between us and, through it, our greater similarity with the Creator. It could be described as our drawing closer to the Creator rather than “ascending.”

It is not a mechanical ascension, but a qualitative one through the senses and against our egoistic nature. This nature can be overruled solely by the force of the Light.

This is where the difficulty lies. The problem is not in defying egoism and not in struggling with natural idleness; we do this in corporeal life. The challenge of the spiritual path lies in the fact that it isn’t accomplished by our own effort. My nature cannot be changed by my own effort but only by some hidden force that I must ask to perform this action. That’s where the problem lies.

In fact, if I worked against my egoism alone, I would feel as a hero. Many people feel this way, and our very egoism forces us to defy it if the goal is worthwhile. We are willing to go against our egoism and its yearning for rest since we anticipate reward for our envy, lust, and ambition. However, on the spiritual path, it is necessary to annul the self and ask “something” that is opposite to me or “someone” whom I don’t know to come and reverse my nature.

When it is necessary to unite in order to defeat someone, we do so and return as heroes. However, to unite in order to convince the Creator to correct us or unify us is a huge problem. The issue lies in the fact that the Creator is concealed, and we can’t assess what we are working for and against.

The Major Difficulty of the Spiritual Work

Hence, many people start spiritual work and give up. They cannot overcome this concealment and reconcile with that part of our work which is not up to us. A person has trouble accepting that in order to correct himself, he must ask the invisible force for it. That is why the whole problem is not in our laziness, but the Creator’s concealment.
From the 3rd part of the Daily Kabbalah Lesson 9/24/10, Selected Excerpts For Sukkot

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Evil With A Purpose

Dr. Michael LaitmanQuestion: You said that we can evaluate evil either according to our sensations or the desire to reach the goal. Can evil with a purpose be regarded as an ascent?

Answer: If I evaluate the evil from the point of view of the goal, I say, “It’s okay that my desire to enjoy (the body) suffers” since the suffering that I feel in the “body” (my desire to enjoy) helps me rise above it, restrict it, establish a screen over it, and advance.

Concealment must exist between the Creator and me in any case as I cannot reveal my desire to enjoy to Him. Either the Creator conceals Himself from my desire, or I conceal my ego from His Light (pleasure). To the extent that I conceal my ego, the Creator reveals Himself to me above my desire to enjoy, and then I feel Him. This is how we advance.

From the 1st part of the Daily Kabbalah Lesson 9/16/10, “What is the Matter of Sufferings in the Work”

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A Descent Is A Trampoline For Ascent

Dr. Michael LaitmanOur entire work lies in finding the right attitude to the states we receive. While doing this work, we gradually begin to break ourselves up into two components:

1. My desire, in which I perceive various phenomena, such as good and evil,

2. The mind, in which I discern Who sends me my sensations and with what purpose.

To the degree I am able to analyze my states independently of the sensation "good or bad," I am able to understand these states and justify them in spite of my sensation. I can desire them for the sake of revealing the quality of bestowal, the Creator, even though the revelation of every new state means that I will first feel suffering due to the revelation of a new, empty desire.

My attitude to this empty desire can change my sensation of its emptiness. The sensation of the goal, a connection with the Creator, can put me in high spirits that will greatly exceed my sensation of suffering.

That is why we have the opportunity to ascend above the unpleasant sensations in our intentions, in our sensation of the connection with the Creator. We can justify all of creation so greatly that precisely this gap will help us ascend above the unpleasant sensations and even elicit their revelation in order to ascend even higher above them.

We cannot change any state in our development, but we can ask for the understanding of how goal-oriented and good they are, above our will to enjoy.

That is how we can accelerate our development and go through the states of descent in such a way that we won’t feel they are descents, but a reason to ascend. Everything depends on our attitude to what happens to us.

From the 1st part of the Daily Kabbalah Lesson 9/16/2010,  “What is the Matter of Sufferings in the Work”

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I Am My Beloved’s And My Beloved Is Mine

Dr. Michael LaitmanQuestion: What is the difference between the Light that we try to attract from The Zohar and the Light which nullifies us and turns us into the animate level?

Answer: There is only one Light, but the way it is expressed depends on us. It’s like electricity, which either cools or heats something depending on what you connect to it.

How the Light becomes expressed depends on a person’s preparation, but the Light itself does not change; neither its intensity changes, nor its nature. It is written that the Creator remains at rest, He is “Good, who does good,” the World of Infinity.

The system of the souls’ connection, which was created by the Creator in the World of Infinity becomes revealed to me gradually, step by step. The nature of its revelation depends on my preparation, my attitude toward this process, whether I desire it or not.

When I see the process as desirable since it brings me closer to the Creator and this is the most important thing to me, then I feel that “I am my beloved’s and He is mine.” This means that I am always in a state of ascent; I am righteous because I justify all of the Creator’s actions. I am in the World of Infinity, at peace.

However, if I desire to be closer to Him only when it benefits me, then my love depends on what I receive. This means that I go from ascents to descents depending on the way I feel, and for this reason I am a sinner. I depend on the conditions, not on love. Everything changes, sometimes for better and sometimes for worse. Thus, what changes is not the Light, but myself: my attitude towards my Beloved.

We can see this through a famous example: a young lady (the soul, Shechina, Malchut) strives to be with her destitute beloved (Zeir Anpin, the Creator) for the sake of love above any calculations, while her family (egoistic relatives, Klipot) are against this union, and they offer her another suitor, one who is wealthy and cares only about fulfillment where everything is calculated.

From the 2nd part of the Daily Kabbalah Lesson 9/15/10, The Zohar

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Make Hay While The Sun Shines

Dr. Michael LaitmanDuring a descent, no calculations are being performed with us. We are given a burdening of the heart and mind through health issues, family problems, and so forth. We are not expected to react correctly.

It is necessary to draw conclusions after a fall and prepare ourselves during the next ascent, strengthening our mutual responsibility and connections with others so that it helps all of us when a descent comes. I look at my friend who lacks strength and realize that I am responsible for him. In fact, I signed an agreement to help him rise physically, emotionally, and spiritually.

When one is in a descent and feeling helpless, he must realize that had he invested energy into the group, had he prepared for himself a reserve, a fund, an accumulation of forces, he could have used them now not only to minimize the fall, but to continue to rise! One would have sensed the fall, but only in order to use it correctly and rise again.

That’s why it is written that all sins are not committed during a descent, but rather in a state of ascent, depending on how a person uses it. We must do everything possible to accumulate these forces and invest them into the group rather than into ourselves.

Try to prepare yourself as much as you can while in an ascent, and then you will experience a descent with joy!

From the 1st part of the Daily Kabbalah Lesson 9/6/10, "And Jacob Went Out"

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