© 2008-2011. A course in Kabbalah by Sephir.
See Kabbalah Part 1 before continuing onto Part 2 below.
- What is Kabbalah?
- What Kabbalah is not.
Authentic Kabbalah Part 2
What is an additional sense?
First off, let’s clarify how ordinary senses works, and what is reality. A kabbalist is a person who ascends to a higher level, beyond form and matter, and from there observes our world and the world that has been revealed to him, perceiving both worlds as one whole. This is why, many kabbalistic sources, including those that are thousands of years old, like Sefer ha Zohar (written 2000 years ago), or the ancient Midrash Raba, (3700 years ago), speak of the problems concerning the perception of reality.
According to Kabbalah, there is no objective reality whatsoever. To begin with, each living creature perceives it differently. If our sensory organs were different, we would see the world differently as well. If we could see in ultraviolet or x-rays, if we could hear, smell or feel in a different frequency ranges, then our world – the sum of our sensations -would be completely different and would draw for us a completely different picture. That fact clearly indicates that the world is basically our subjectively perceived reality, which exists within us. These days even science is developing a clear understanding that our world is illusory, as it depends solely on our sensory organs – their frequency range and mode of operation. Hence, ordinary science doesn’t examines the reality itself, but subjective sensations that our senses along with our brain draw for us.
Let’s take a look at the following example : if I knock on the table—you hear a sound. A certain action creates a certain wave. This wave reaches your ear, strikes the eardrum, moves through all the systems, (electrical, chemical), reflects in your brain, which compare it with familiar data, determines the origin of a sound, and informs you of it. What does all this have to do with whatever took place on the outside? Please note, that the external wave itself never gets through your ear – what you actually hear is subjective reaction on the wave coming from your eardrum, not the external sound itself. The rest of our senses work the same way, thus providing us an illusion of external reality we live in, including time, space, and movement.
One important question remains to be cleared up. Is there any external world at all? Kabbalah tells us that external reality doesn’t exist, and neither are there any external phenomena – everything exists within man. And outside of us there’s nothing, except a constant force within which we exist, and based on our compatibility with this constant force (the Creator), various kinds of internal phenomena occur within us, and create within us all sorts of sensations.
The lack of external reality is clearly perceived by kabbalists. They observe the forces that draw an illusion of reality within us. How do they attain those forces? Kabbalists add one additional sense to their usual five sensory organs. It’s called “soul” (נשמה – neshama). It functions according to a fundamentally different principle. The soul itself is a certain degree of similarity to the Creator, meaning, to the altruistic quality. The higher degree of similarity a kabbalist reaches, the more objective reality he attains. As opposed to 5 senses, the soul isn’t connected to the body, as it’s not egoistic. The sensation coming from the soul is a pure picture of the outside world, without form, time, space, and other illusory parameters created by 5 senses.
Moreover, when Kabbalists attain the outside forces, their attainment is absolutely accurate and scientific—with graphs, formulas, and precise measurements. An altruistic perception does not disturb one’s worldview. It gives a sensation, awareness and knowledge of the world just as it is, irrespective of the observer. This sort of sensation doesn’t replace an illusion of the physical world – quite the contrary, it expands one’s perception with an additional layer of reality.
There is a simple question that might appear at this point : Why should one attain another reality that exists outside of him? How does it benefit him?
In fact, we are being pushed toward the entrance to this new reality, and we must enter it, because existence in this uppermost external reality, is eternal and complete. This is what nature is pushing us toward, and this is the final goal towards which humanity was directed from the very beginning. This issue will be explained in detail when discussing the stages of egoism development.
What kabbalists understand by “World”?
I believe, now it’s clear, that there is virtually nothing outside except certain forces, that influence us in the constant way. We have no idea that we live under absolute influence of the Upper forces. All variety of states we go through is caused by our inner change, not the change of the outside world.
This dependence can be depicted as equation :
Inner qualities + CONSTANT = The world man lives in
Hence, by “World” (עולם – olam) kabbalists understand a full spectrum of inner qualities, as the inner qualities solely define what reality we live in (by inner qualities I understand a certain degree of the soul development).
For example, the term Our World (עולם זה – Olam ha Ze) indicates, that a person living in it doesn’t have a soul (the level of similarity to the Upper force is equal to zero). Thus, the term itself doesn’t refer to the outside reality, but to the inner state.
Our World is something Kabbalah doesn’t deal with – this is a subject examining by ordinary sciences. Kabbalah examines the spiritual worlds only. Spiritual (קדוש – kadosh) also means “separated” – that is separated from Our World (egoistic quality).
While attaining the spiritual worlds, kabbalists remain living in Our World. It means, that altruistic quality doesn’t replace inborn egoism – so on the physical level nothing changes. The spiritual attainment is an additional layer of life, and it has nothing to do with one’s daily life.
The Purpose of Kabbalah
First off, let’s briefly sum up the main concepts :
1. Kabbalah is an accurate science allowing one to investigate and define man’s position in the universe. It allows one to empirically reveal the spiritual roots of the universe, thus answering almost all possible questions one might have, including : what is the meaning of life, why we are born, why we live, where we come from, and where we are going. Kabbalah is not a theoretical study, but a purely practical one. Man learns about himself, what he is like, and what he needs to do to change himself in order to attain the higher state – thus he reveals his own spiritual root, climbing to the top of spiritual ladder, being guided step by step, and stage by stage.
2. Kabbalah is a method of reaching the spiritual world, that can be shortly defined as the most perfect state of existance, characterized by constant and infinite pleasure. By studying Kabbalah, we develop another sense, allowing one to gradually attain the spiritual world, while still living in physical reality.
The word “Kabbalah” comes from the word “le kabbel” (to receive), that is to receive pleasure. Kabbalah describes the motives of every action as “the desire to receive”, that is the core of the universe, consisting of four levels : human, animal, vegetative, and inanimate. Thus, Kabbalah itself is a science of reception, the method of reaching the inborn goal of human being – infinite pleasure beyond its form.
Who is a kabbalist?
A kabbalist is a person who, on the outside, is like any other person. There is nothing unusual in the outward appearance. They are ordinary people who, through studying Kabbalah, acquired an additional sense – a sensation of the hidden part of the world.
A kabbalist can perceive the entire universe with this newly acquired sense, perceiving both our world and the spiritual world as a whole reality, just as we perceive our everyday reality. Kabbalists feel the Upper world and directly attain it. Kabbalists see that everything descends from the Upper world and appears in ours. They see all the causes and effects because they simultaneously exist in both the Upper World and in our world.
Hence, kabbalists aren’t religious, and they don’t believe anything except for their own empirical attainment. Obviously, kabbalists have nothing to do with Judaism, nor any other belief system, though many might think otherwise.
An ordinary person perceives only a fraction of the surrounding universe and calls this fraction our world, whereas a kabbalist perceives the entire scope of the universe.
This has been Part 2 of Authentic Kabbalah. Next, Kabbalah Part 3
Much more about Kabbalah coming soon.
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© 2008-2011. A course in Kabbalah by Sephir.