Entries in the 'senses' Category

The First Encounter With The Light

Laitman_100_01A Question I Received: Could you describe your first spiritual experience, the first encounter with the Upper Light? What is this feeling like?

My Answer: The first spiritual experience is common for all because in general, people go through the same states. When a person first encounters the Light, he or she feels that the whole world is filled with love, like one warm force without any limitations. It is a warm and kind sensation, and the whole world is perceived that way. A person sees the usual world around him, yet feels that the air has become thicker, warmer, and gentler. There is a sensation of being treated softly and gently.

Such is the first spiritual sensation that comes to a person. As a rule, one forgets about it. Regardless, it occurs in order to give a person some proof and support, to build new vessels of perception (Kelim) within the person, making advancement possible.

After this first spiritual experience, which is given to a person from Above, one must exert great effort in order to achieve the same sensation independently. Later, sensations that are a billion times stronger follow. However, one will already dominate over them, understand them, and work with these sensations.

All of these impressions, starting with the very first one, are felt by a person within the developing point in the heart. It is inside the spiritual vessel of perception (Kli) rather than within the bounds of physiological or psychological phenomena.

From the 8th lesson at the World Zohar Convention 5/9/10

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The Gematria Within Me

Laitman_405A question I received: I’ve studied the Torah, speak five languages, listen to your lessons, and have become more or less familiar with the Kabbalistic terminology. Typically when a person studies a language and learns the words, reading something in that language is enough to understand it. Yet when the lesson is on The Study of the Ten Sefirot, I read the text and don’t understand a thing even though I know all the terms. It might as well be Chinese to me. What’s going on?

My Answer: You need to continue learning this language. The word “language” originates from the notion of a “weighing scale” with the measurement pointer located directly in the middle. As you continue to attain spiritual concepts, your language will continue to take shape, in between good and evil.

When we build the middle line within ourselves, we begin to understand and feel the different gradations of qualities. Until we attain a sensation of the spiritual, we never retain anything from the study, no matter how long we keep at it. It’s as useless as repeatedly explaining the taste of a dish to a person who has never tasted it.

Each and every one of our perceptions is a taste. From the Light that entered the desire (Toch Kli) with the intention to bestow, the Kabbalists have “tasted” (Taamim) every concept existing in The Study of the Ten Sefirot, in accordance with the law of equivalence of form.

The First Restriction is at work, preventing us from receiving the Light since we have no similarity to it. Without the screen, the intention to bestow, we cannot sense the Light. Therefore, as long as we are missing the screen, it is impossible to understand the text, for everything is attained via sensation. Hence it is written: “Taste and see that the Creator is good” (Psalm 34:8). We have to “taste” Him, and this attainment takes place within.

This is why it is a genuine problem. No matter how long we study here, this language invariably escapes us. Yet on the other hand, it prepares us to start sensing it. Subsequently, these sensations begin to appear within us and we begin to understand the text. Eventually we will no longer need to study, and will suddenly know the names for everything even without reading about it in the books. We’ll know the name of a spiritual phenomenon simply by feeling it. How, who will teach it to us? No one.

As the Light clothes our desires, it transfers its impression to them in four phases, Taamim (tastes), Nekudot (vowels, dots accompanying the letters), Tagin (crowns above the letters), and Otiot (letters), building a Gematria within us (the numerical value of words).

This Gematria then turns into a word. We “read” and suddenly realize that one desire is called “tree,” another desire is called “sun,” and so on. Moreover, we come to know this for a fact, regardless of where we live in the world or whether or not we speak the language. Thus, we begin to understand it.

From the 2nd part of the Daily Kabbalah Lesson 4/16/10, Preface to the Wisdom of Kabbalah

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“Those Who Seek Me, Find Me”

Laitman_705A question I received: What should I do if I can’t concentrate during a Zohar lesson for even 5 minutes? I don’t know where to look for all of this within myself.

My Answer: By all means keep searching within yourself for all the properties described in The Zohar. If a sick person were told that this text bears the information on how to become healthy, escape trouble, bankruptcy, and other problems, he would greedily “swallow” the text, trying to absorb every single word of it. If he were scared and sought salvation in the text, he would try to comprehend it even if the book was written in a foreign language.

But the lack of spirituality does not frighten us. Only the environment can bring about this desire within us.

So even if you don’t know where to look for it within yourself, keep looking anyway. Imagine that you are entering a new, dark, unknown place and you can’t see anything. You have a flashlight, and each time you hear something, you point the flashlight around, hoping to find something.

As adults, we study by filling our intellect. But sensations do not develop through the intellect. As infants, however, we evolved through listening and observing, without understanding what we heard or saw. This was precisely why we developed our feelings and mind. We were being told stories, things were being shown to us, but we did not understand them. The connections between things were being explained to us, yet we did not grasp them. However, precisely because of our efforts to understand, we turned from an animal into a human being.

Hence at this time, when I strive to develop within myself new senses and mind, I read The Zohar without understanding what “it” is all about. However, my efforts uncover new abilities within me and eventually I start sensing and understanding something that was hidden from me before.

The Upper World is among us. We only need is to continue developing from being a human of this world toward becoming a "human" of the Upper World. Make every effort to see. That’s how your senses develop. After you start sensing, your mind will start working as well.

From the 1st part of the Daily Kabbalah Lesson 4/11/10, The Zohar

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On The Waves Of Spiritual Attainment

Can We Control Our Thoughts A question I received: What does knowledge give us if while reading The Zohar we can’t remember anything a moment later?

My Answer: Knowledge does not give us anything. Today I know something, but tomorrow I forget all about it. Why do I forget? If my desires (Kelim) change, then tomorrow, within my new desires, I won’t remember what I knew before because I am no longer inside my previous desires.

I can convey knowledge from one level to another only through sensation. Our states include a wave-like process: knowledge – sensation – knowledge – sensation. Suppose I have just corrected my desires on some level. According to this level of correcting my desires, I acquire some knowledge and sensation of reality, a realization of where I am, on what level and in what world.

Then a new desire comes. The previous level disappears and I am immersed in darkness. What remains with me? Everyone knows that when the sensation of darkness comes to you, then all the previous sensations disappear and you can no longer work with them. However, if you begin working with this new level, this new darkness, then your efforts evoke a new Light that comes and corrects you. You then go on to a new state where you have a deeper understanding of the previous knowledge based on the new, higher knowledge.

Therefore, you should never take knowledge into account. It will always be there and it will always enter the corrected desire. The most important thing is to correct the desire. Then whatever needs to be revealed in it will be revealed, but there’s no point worrying about that.

This is why the people who study correctly leave the lesson without remembering anything. They just go away with a general impression. This impression is recorded in their senses rather than their understanding. It remains in the sensory, not the mental, memory.

I don’t look down on reason at all. In fact, I am drawn to knowledge and serious study. However, when a person studies through the point in the heart,he does not remember or understand what he studies until his sensations develop sufficiently and he starts to understand with his feelings. He then understands “what he is feeling.”

It turns out that what you study for years disappears and the “results of the study” are not apparent. The results should not show in your knowledge, but in the correction of your qualities by the Light of Correction (Ohr Makif), meaning in your qualities.

This is very different from studying at a university, where a person studies for four to six years and then becomes an expert in some field, and then writes a dissertation for another several years. Where is the clear knowledge of a person who studied Kabbalah for ten years? What has he gained? It seems like he has nothing to show for it. That’s because every day he is born anew, in new qualities, until he attains revelation.

When he attains revelation, then it is recorded on his level. Then, in states of ascent he really has mastery of the material and possesses knowledge. But in states of descent, he is in the dark and only his experience holds him up. (See Baal HaSulam’s article, “What Is Support in the Torah, in the Work.”)

One has to understand that until we reach the Final Correction, the states vary a great deal and we should only consider the height or level of correction. Knowledge will always accompany a person according to his degree.

From the 1st part of the Daily Kabbalah Lesson 4/14/10, The Zohar

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I Am My Own Worst Enemy

Laitman_408 A question I received: Who is a person’s worst enemy in the spiritual work?

My Answer: The worst enemy is the person himself, his qualities, which are opposite to the Creator! They are revealed to us gradually, to the extent that we can oppose them. Otherwise, we would be paralyzed and unable to do even a single inner or external action. Therefore, the concealment is revealed to us incrementally, showing us that we really do not exist as some individual!

A small piece of truth is revealed to me only to the extent that I am able to hold onto the Creator. In regard to all other thoughts, desires, and qualities, I am not shown just how much I am controlled from above. It is instilled in me that I seemingly determine everything on my own. In other words, only gradually is it disclosed to me that I actually do not exist – I am just a puppet, whose strings are being pulled!

However, to the extent that I am able to annul myself before my environment and the Creator, and use my freedom of choice, I am granted independence. An opportunity is revealed to me to build more and more minor parts of my independent personality – until I ascend in all my magnitude. This means that I will exist in adhesion with the Creator – in the opposite desire, but in the same intention.

It turns out that we never come out from the authority of the Upper Force, but progressively the concealment diminishes according to our willingness to adhere to the Creator. It is as though a curtain draws apart in front of me. At first I am in pitch darkness, where I think that I exist and have independence. To the extent that I will be able to tolerate the fact that I am helpless, to endure this inner blow, this shame, and to adhere to the Creator, the curtain will be drawn apart more and more for me, and the concealment will fade.

Everything depends on my sensations. The state itself does not change – only my perception changes.

Reveal The Zohar Within Yourself

ConnectingThroughtheWorlds_thumb.jpgThe Zohar, Chapter “VaYaera (And The Lord Appeared),” Item 37: He taught him every profound and sublime secret in the Song of Songs and adjured him to not use any verse in it, so the Creator will not destroy the world because of him, since He has no desire for people to use it because of the great sanctity in it. Afterwards, Rabbi Akiva went out sobbing and his eyes were shedding water. He said, “Woe my teacher, woe my teacher, the world will be orphaned without you.” The rest of the sages entered and asked him, and he replied with words of Torah.

We can continue reading The Zohar for hours on end, but the question is: Do we have the right intention? The text itself might seem very difficult and closed to us, or it might seem simple. Regardless, we are always talking about inner qualities where Moses, Rabbi Akiva, Abraham, Esau, and good and evil forces are all inside a person. This is the manner in which The Zohar describes the phases of our spiritual path.

I don’t understand what is written here, and I don’t even want to know it. I want to feel it, to attain this state so as to experience it for myself, to live it. I don’t want to understand it through my mind, but through my inner qualities. I want my inner qualities to change so I will identify with the states that The Zohar describes.

It is talking about things that are inside of me, but are concealed from me. I am being told about what is taking place within me, and I want to feel it. All of these qualities and states, all of these “scenes,” all 125 degrees exist in every person right now because there is no time in spirituality. I want to reveal the degree about which I am reading in The Zohar, and I am entitled to this because that degree is mine. I want to change so as to experience this state.

This is called “to attain what one studies,” as Baal HaSulam says in Item 155 of “Introduction to Talmud Eser Sefirot.” He writes, “…through the yearning and the great desire to know what they are learning, they awaken upon themselves the Lights that surround their souls.” Here “to know” means to unite, as it is written, “And Adam knew Eve.”

I want to unite with this state, to live it. I don’t need anything else but this. Everything else inside me is bad, and I don’t care if I don’t understand or feel anything. I only want to “open” this text through my sensations, rather than through my mind. I want to experience it.

Revealing The Giver Of Life

Dr. Michael Laitman The Zohar, ChapterBeHukotai (In My Statutes),” Item 45: “I will never again curse the ground on account of man.” “I will never again,” meaning I will not give addition to the litigants to destroy the world, but only add as much as the world can bear. It is written about that, “then I will [chastise you] more,” meaning add what the world can bear.

This describes how we advance. The whole process consists of Malchut rising to Bina and then descending back from Bina. Then it rises to Bina again, and descends back again. All these movements, these oscillations, are meant to give us sensations.

After all, we cannot feel our reality in Malchut or in Bina; we can only feel it in the connection between them. We feel reality in the coefficient of their connection; that is, in the changes of Malchut’s inclusion into Bina and Bina’s inclusion into Malchut.

More simply, we feel ourselves only under the condition that we move between Malchut and Bina. When the relationships between them change in us, then the variable correlation between Malchut and Bina also changes in us, and it is these changes that we perceive as life.

Conversely, if this correlation ceases to change or becomes still, we would feel this as death. In this state, all the sensations and gradations of qualities vanish. Therefore, on one hand, we feel life in the process of change of Malchut’s inclusion into Bina, and Bina’s inclusion into Malchut, and the unifications between them. On the other hand, this gives us heavy and unpleasant sensations, and the lack of patience. However, this is precisely where we feel life. Therefore, in order to live, we are forced to survive. We are unable to part with life and so we prefer movement.

In spirituality this movement reaches a state within which we reveal the Creator. It is the state, from which life comes to us and provides movement, strength, and the changes in the connections between Malchut and Bina and in the ascents of Malchut into Bina.

When we reveal Who does this, Who creates these changes, and for what purpose all these changes occur in us, we rise above these movements, above the changes in us, and we merge with the Giver of life. Thereby we begin to feel at rest. After all, we then feel that this movement is necessary for creation, and without it creation is unable to feel the Creator.

Acquiring The Real Perception Of The World

Dr. Michael Laitman The Zohar, Chapter “Pekudei (Accounts),” Item 15: When the Creator said unto Moses, “Make the Tabernacle,” Moses was bewildered; he did not know what to do until the Creator vividly showed him, as it is written, “And see and make them after their pattern, which is being shown to you in the mountain.” “In their pattern” means that the Creator showed Moses everything in its higher, spiritual shape, and each of the spiritual shapes above was making its shape similar to the fictitious shape that was made below, on earth. This is how Moses knew.

This is what our work consists of because the spiritual world doesn’t have a form and we don’t know what Upper Light is by itself. This notion doesn’t exist at all separately from the creation. We can attain and define it only in relation to ourselves and through our sensations. However, our sensations are imaginary because we always feel reactions to an outside influence. We will never find out what actually is happening outside of us because we can’t extract ourselves from our perceiving senses.

It turns out that one can perceive properly only to the extent of the similarity of his properties to the spiritual properties. When the properties of man and the Creator coincide, man reveals the Creator to the extent of that similarity. Initially, we only perceive the imaginary form of this world. Our work consists of rising above it and asking for the Upper spiritual form to clothe in it. Once we have these two forms where one is confined within the other, we will acquire the proper perception of the world.

Opening Up To The Light’s Influence

author I have been hearing reactions that people find it very difficult to read The Zohar. They don’t have the patience for it; they lack connection with the text and the taste for it. I agree with all these complaints because if that’s how a person feels, there’s nothing you can say in objection. However, we have to take an example from our regular lives and how naturally we enter this world.

How do babies learn to live in this world? They simply listen and watch everything, without understanding what is happening to them. Thus, they involuntarily establish connections with the world, and naturally, with the help of the Light, they receive all the notions, language, and understanding of this world.

If we knew how this whole process happens to a person in this world and all the mechanics of it, then we would understand that we go through the same thing in spirituality. It is the only possible development; it happens naturally and enables us to enter an additional world – the spiritual world. Granted, the process is easier for babies in this world because they have already been born into it and all they need to do is assimilate knowledge and sensations of their surroundings, according to the nature of a newborn. We, on the other hand, have to learn the systems and acquire the sensations of a world that is opposite to our qualities.

We don’t even know what this opposition means because we are completely separated from the spiritual world. Therefore, our entrance into it must happen even more naturally; that is to say, it must happen exclusively with the help of the forces of nature, because on our part it is impossible to understand or feel it in any way ahead of time.

On the contrary, we have to rise above all of the understanding and sensations that we already have by virtue of the force of bestowal. This is called, “faith above reason.” We have to make these efforts and desire to belong to the spiritual world above our feelings and our mind. We have to desire for it to influence and develop us, to give us a new heart and a new mind instead of our current, material ones. That way we will reveal ourselves above our current nature. We will then desire to remain open and to absorb everything that the Upper Light is able to do to us.

Expanding Our Perception Through The Zohar

All our senses operate according to the principle of revealing the opposite – translating everything that is perceived inside them to something that is opposite. What is seen as external is actually inside us because we turn it around in our brain, seeing the reverse picture only afterward. We don’t have any other way to perceive the world since we were all created such that we can only reveal something based on a lack or flaw in us. And we call that lack, “Light.” For this reason, spirituality is seen as dark and repulsive; we don’t agree with it and don’t want it. It doesn’t seem reasonable to us to love our neighbor and give to others.

The Zohar tells us about the Creator’s qualities, but how can we grasp this when we only know how to receive? How can we feel bestowal? This is a world that is hidden from us, a reality that we are unable to feel. The Zohar explains how to start perceiving, little by little, what is not presently felt by the heart or the mind. I am unable to put it into words since words express a feeling or understanding, but if there is no sensation behind them, then I simply do not feel the words.

If I read The Zohar together with others, hoping that it will help me, then a revelation will occur. The spiritual world is located here, right in front of us, but we are unable to perceive it with our heart or mind. It is a tremendous accomplishment to gradually begin to feel that it exists somewhere nearby, although we are unable to detect it. We need to continue feeling this lack when we study so that The Zohar will begin to tell us more.