© 2008-2011. A course in Kabbalah by Sephir.
Authentic Kabbalah Part 4
Freedom of will
The concept of freedom determines our whole life, and it is not by chance that for centuries humanity was engaged in bloodshed and battles to obtain a certain measure of freedom. Even so, we have a rather vague idea about freedom and independence. If we take a look at our actions carefully, we will discover that we act compulsively and that we have no free will at all. I realize, that it’s not easy to face such a statement, since we don’t feel the lack of freedom. But let’s consider the following:
Nevertheless Externally, a human being is guided by two reins: pleasure or pain (also defined as happiness or suffering), and choosing pain isn’t much of an option. People consciously prefer to endure pain if they believe that pleasure awaits at its end, and thus, a sick person agrees to a painful operation, trusting that this will improve his or her health., this choice is merely a pragmatic calculation in which one compares future pleasure to present pain. Clearly, this calculation is a simple mathematical operation in which the amount of suffering is subtracted from the future pleasure, and the difference determines the choice. The force of attraction to delight and retraction from pain is the only force that controls each level of existence, including human.
Obviously, the process of making choices is much more complex than initially explained. Each action (choice) is determined by two factors :
1. certain desire – one cannot even move a finger, if there is no desire for doing this.
2. variety of internal and external factors, that determine the way the desire is expressed. These factors are following :
- origin – in other words, inborn individual information, genes, and properties (it defines around 90% of our personality), as well as parenting (defining what is good, and what is bad), and the place of born.
- influence of environment – it’s an external force defining our goals. By coming to this world, a person falls under the influence of society against his or her will and takes in society’s character and properties.
The first factor (origin) is fundamental for us because we are creations of our parents. As their offspring, we (in a sense) are their copies; i.e., almost all the attributes of the parents and grandparents manifest themselves in their children. The concepts and knowledge acquired by parents manifest in their children as habits and properties, even at an unconscious level. Moreover, parents make us think and behave as they do. Hence, throughout our whole life, we know what to think of this, what to think of that, who to talk to, what is to be avoided, etc. Obviously, we are capable of slight modification of parenting results, but even our conscious attempt to change them is included in the rest of factors, and thus, in lack of freedom of will.
By coming to this world, a person falls under the influence of environment. Every one of us knows how our tastes and views can sometimes be reversed under the influence of society. Nothing like that can occur at the inanimate, vegetative, or animate levels of nature – this can happen only with humans.
The whole process looks like this :
All our thoughts and actions depend on these factors and dictate our entire way of life. We therefore see that there is no freedom of desire, that everything depends solely on the interaction between these four factors, and that we can have no control. Neither we can choose the desires themselves, nor we can choose the way we act to fulfill them. Thus we come to the conclusion, that although we feel otherwise, there is no freedom of choice in this world at all.
Knowing all this, the same question arises again : “What is the meaning of life?”.
The meaning of life
As kabbalists reveal the spiritual roots of matter, they understand the whole process of development on every level of existence. All that is going on in the corporeal world is merely a manifestation of the forces that kabbalists attain. The forces are constant and infinite, however in our world, they appear through time, space and form. This is why, kabbalists, who attain the Upper forces, are aware of the initial stage of every process, as well as its final outcome. The final outcome in humans development is what we call “the meaning of life”.
What I’m going to say now cannot be proven, if one doesn’t sense the spiritual world. Kabbalists tell us, the Creator’s way of governing our world is purposeful and manifest only at the end of our development.In His attitude toward us,the Creator is guided by the principle of absolute good, without a trace of evil, and the purpose of His governance is evidenced in our gradual development. What kabbalists reveal, is that we were created in order to be entirely fulfilled with absolute pleasure, and this is the final goal towards which we gradually develop.
The Creator has placed a goal before us:to reach His level and to bond with Him by climbing up the worlds He has built within us. The Creator’s goal isto please the created beings so that they will reveal His greatness and receive all the delight that He had prepared for them. Clearly, only human beings can fulfill this role. Only humans have the necessary sensation of others, and only humans can turn the will to enjoy (egoistic reception) into a will to please others (altruistic reception) by following the suggestions of Kabbalah in the process of working on themselves.
The model we must achieve looks like this :
The action of reception never changes, it is the core of the creation. However, the altered intention of reception makes the desire altruistic, and thus, identical with the Creator. This model of reception is called Ain Sof (hebr. the world of endlessness, meaning, the world of endless pleasure), as the pleasure doesn’t destroy the desire. It turns destructive interaction with the Creator into the most perfect state of existence. The desire in this state is called “human” (hebr. adam, dome – means, “similar to”), hence, becoming “humans” (similar to the Creator) is what can be defined as our goal.
The meaning of life obviously requires more detailed explanation, that will come along with the next lesson. Meanwhile, let’s go back to the development of human level.
Point in the heart and Kli
As we already know, when development within a stage reaches a certain limit, it stops, thus causing appearance of a new stage. The question is, what desire is going to appear next, after the desire for knowledge, which is, as we know, the last stage of egoism development? This is where the genuine spiritual desire begins to manifest itself, and this is actually what Kabbalah starts with.
The spiritual desire, in its initial form, is called a point in the heart. I have already mentioned, that the word heart refers to the full spectrum of human’s egoistic desires. Thus, the point within it represents the embryo of the spiritual desire (the sixth sense). Initially, the embryo represents the higher egoistic level, which through the kabbalistic method, gradually turns into an altruistic desire. Every human being, regardless of egoism level, is born with a point in the heart. It manifests itself only in young age – mostly as a question being asked by every child – a question about the meaning of life. In fact, this is a question about the root of one’s existence, from which he or she descended to the corporeal world. This is the embryo of soul. That particular question becomes forgotten as soon as a child becomes involved into daily life, egoistic desires and society influences.
When egoism reaches its apogee, a man usually falls into a deep depression, and a point in the heart begins to clearly manifest itself again. Initially, its appearance causes a sensation of inner emptiness. Man belonging to this level begins to understand, that there is nothing in this world that can fulfill him, and regardless of money, power, fame, and knowledge, he remains empty. At the same time, he begins to feel another desire, but the desired subject is unclear, as the fulfillment cannot be found in this world. A man begins to feel a need for unknown pleasure. The method of Kabbalah is meant for those, who have reached the most egoistic state in humans development – the clear appearance of a point in the heart. In this case, Kabbalah allows one to expand this point, so that it turns into a spiritual desire, called Kli (hebr. vessel).
A point in the heart differs from Kli in its quality (intention of reception). The appearance of Kli is indicated by acquisition of a certain (initially, tiny) degree of similarity to the Creator. That particular transformation from egoism to altruism is the hardest thing to do, and usually it takes many years. Once it happens, a person crosses the border dividing our world from the spiritual ones (it’s called machsom) and enters to the first spiritual world, called Assiya. He (or she) begins to sense a certain part of external reality (beyond form, time and space), consisting of forces descending from the Creator’s level. Increasing a degree of similarity to those forces is defined as spiritual development, which leads one throughout the spiritual worlds directly to the Creator’s level. During the spiritual development, a kabbalist remains living in our world (with egoistic desires) and nothing changes in his daily life.
It’s important to emphasize, that for the first time, along with acquiring a Kli, a certain degree of freedom of will appears. Freedom, for a person who acquired a possibility to clearly sense the upper forces, means being in agreement with what happens all along the path, justifying each step and selecting the maximum speed to undergo the process of correction and bonding with the Creator. This is the only human-dependent factor and this is where the essence of creation lies. To wish by himself to most quickly get rid of the initial condition, the way the Creator created him, to undergo a correction of attributes, and in the final point to bond to the Creator.
Depending on how much man expresses this desire he may be called a man – belonging to the human level of creation. Otherwise he is a totally impersonal creature, being utterly guided by the Upper forces, just like animals, and lower levels of existance. By identifying a man below machsom with an animal level of existance kabbalists don’t mean to be rude, or anything. This is a natural conclusion coming from experience of the Upper worlds, that allow man to acquire freedom. Kabbalah is the only science that helps man to develop and be an independent, individual, truly free personality.
There is one common goal, that every human being will have to reach – to bond to the Creator, to climb to his level. Regardless of our wish, we are guided toward this goal along a path of suffering, which as a sole force (dissatisfaction) causes inner development toward this goal. The alternative path is what Kabbalah provides. When a man enters into the spiritual world, he begins to understand what forces influence him, what way, why, and where they want to lead him. Knowing this, a kabbalist can interact with those forces in a proper way, thus turning suffering into a pleasure.
To sum it up, the development directed toward achieving the goal of Creation is utterly guided by the Upper forces, that influence us in a constant way. The path of suffering embodies in the lack of sensation of the Upper forces, and thus, the lack of possibility to properly interact with them. It’s similar to electricity : we wouldn’t be able to properly use it, if we didn’t know the way it works. However, the path of pleasure embodies in attaining the Upper forces as well as their final outcome, so that a man can bond with them and “support” them in achieving their goal, which in fact is a common goal, that a kabbalist clearly perceives, understands and identifies with, as opposed to those existing below machsom.
Kabbalah reveals to us a highly complicated system of reincarnation, which in fact, has nothing to with concepts we might have heard about. We’ll be gradually delving into that topic while going ahead with the lessons, however at this point it’s worth to just briefly describe this issue.
Kabbalah tells us, that there is a constant amount of souls descending to our world, clearly – 600.000 (their orgin could be clarified in another course). Hence, the number of souls has nothing to do with amount of bodies being born in our world. The structure of all souls put together is called Adam, and this is a spiritual construction (called also the Creation) from which the souls descend to our world. The soul consists of merely two parameters :
1. aviut – intensity (strenght) of the desire to receive
2. kashiut – intention of the desire, defining a degree of similarity with the Creator
So in fact, the process on reincarnation pertains to spiritual development only. People existing below machsom don’t have a soul, and they appear in the world only with its embryo – a point in the heart, which silently waits for a proper time to be developed, so that it becomes a Kli (soul).
In other words, all we’re missing is altered perception, as we already are included in the common soul Adam, and hence, we are already bonded to the Creator, existing in a state beyond form, time and space. All we need to do is to develop a clear perception of this state, meaning, to sense the world as it is, externally, not internally, and this is the goal that the Creator has placed before us.
Make sure you are well acquainted with new terms used in this lesson. Corrupted or incomplete understanding will make the next lesson impossible to understand.
- Ner Dakik
- The Creation
- a point in the heart
Coming up next
These lessons constituted a sort of preface to spiritual issues, that Kabbalah is solely about. The next lesson will bring up the topics directly related to Kabbalah. We’ll be talking over the spiritual roots of our existence, starting with the Creation’s origin.
Next, Kabbalah Part 5
© 2008-2011. A course in Kabbalah by Sephir.
Unauthorized reproduction prohibited.