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Shamati Nr 7 What Is, the Habit Becomes a Second Nature in the Work


Welcome to our next virtual lesson. It is based on the article "What is, the Habit Becomes a Second Nature in the Work", from Shamati (What I Have Heard).

Yehuda Ashlag, Shamati, "What is, the Habit Becomes a Second Nature in the Work":

"Through accustoming oneself to some thing, that thing becomes second nature for that person."

This is what Baal HaSulam writes. Meaning, we, evidently, can change any trait of our character or anything else that already exists within us; also, we can, evidently, acquire and incorporate into ourselves that which does not exist within us. We can do this through the means of certain daily, simple, repetitive actions that will ensure that this property or action turns into a habit. Habitual action means that we will automatically aspire towards or desire something, feeling bad without it. When this happens, it is said that this becomes one's additional nature - one's second nature. "Nature" comes from the word "essence".

"Hence, there is nothing that one cannot feel its reality."

In other words, we basically can feel anything. We have an internal disposition to feel absolutely everything in creation: both in our world and in the Upper one.

"In other words, although one has no sensation in the thing..."

If one lacked the ability to perceive something (including sharpness of perception), did not have needed mental faculties to analyze, divide, or tie everything together in order to give definitions, thus, making one's sensations even sharper, better, and distinct... That is, even if one does not have a certain feeling (or, even if one does, but it is not at the required depth) still "...he comes to feel it by accustoming to that thing" as a result of one's actions, because of certain phenomena or act.

In other words, here we are practically handed the means that can help us change ourselves; expand, enrich, and incorporate so much that we will be able to feel everything.

"We must know that there is a difference between the Creator and the creatures regarding sensations."

When Baal HaSulam writes: "We must know." it means that we have to cognize the following: there is a difference between my sensations and how the Creator feels the same phenomena, or action. How would Baal HaSulam write about this without knowing this himself? How would he know about this, if he hadn't attained it, sensed it? So it follows that we are capable of sensing both of these two ways (the way we feel something ourselves and how it is felt by the Creator) and compare these two types of perceptions. So, evidently, we have to discover this difference. Thus, Baal HaSulam writes:

"We must know that there is a difference between the Creator and the creatures regarding sensations. For the creatures there is feeler and felt..." That is, I feel something through a certain property of mine that is being filled from sensing something. "...attaining and attained. This means that we have a feeler who is connected to some reality (the essence of that which he senses). However, a reality without a feeler (and without that which exists) is only the Creator Himself. This is because in Him "there is no thought and perception whatsoever," whereas for a person, his whole existence is only through the sensation of reality.

In other words, there is something that exists outside of me. I cannot determine what makes me perceive things when I do. In contrast, the Creator does not encounter this because He Himself is the light: there is nothing else but Him that He could perceive.

"In other words, what the feeler tastes is what he considers truth. If one tastes a bitter taste in reality, meaning he feels himself in a situation that he feels bad and suffers because of that state, that person is considered wicked in the work. This is because he condemns the Creator, since He is called Benevolent, because He only bestows abundance to the world. Yet, with respect to that person's sensation, he feels that he has received the opposite from the Creator, meaning the situation he is in is bad."

This example clearly shows us that there is a difference between that which comes to us (something that exists outside of us) and the way that we feel it. The Creator is absolutely benevolent and sends us only absolutely good sensations, signals. We exist in the world of Infinity even now, a sensation that is truly permeated with eternity, filled with perfection and where we ourselves represent absolutely perfect creatures. But because of concealment (deliberate concealment from us), we feel the complete opposite: we exist in a small fragment of the world of Infinity, which is so tiny that everything in it is wrong. It is for this reason that everything we receive from the Creator, we characterize as bad.

"Either he tastes and feels a good taste in the world and then he justifies the Creator and says that God gives only goodness to the world." In other words, if I can perceive that which still exists outside of me, approaches me; if I can sense how the signal sent to me by the Creator really fills me, then I am called righteous for I truly perceive His benevolence towards me. And, with the opposite:

"...or if he feels and tastes a bitter taste in the world." Meaning, I'm opposite to Him in my properties and thus I am not able to justify Him. That is, due to my opposite form, I sense the good that He bestows upon me as evil "...then he is wicked."

A wicked is he who claims that the Creator transgresses against him, that He treats him badly. One is always named according to the way one characterizes acts of the Creator.

"It turns out that everything is measured by one's sensation." That is, the way I feel, define, and evaluate it. "However, for the Creator all of this (all these sensations as such) is irrelevant. Hence, all the worlds and all the changes are only toward the receivers, as one attains them."

Hence, what we have to do is to create an internal disposition to make our perceptions real. Meaning, in addition to sensing ourselves, we must remember that our sensations depend on our properties. And if these properties change according to the rule "habit becomes a second nature", that is, if we acquire additional properties, gradually mold, transform our properties into more genuine ones, our sensations will change as well. Our inner essence, all of our perceptions will be what they are supposed to be: they will not rebel against external influence, not overshadow the Creator and His benevolence towards us.

This is why everything depends on how much we change our nature. How we manage to gradually introduce, incorporate into ourselves new properties that will become our essence, according to the formula "habit becomes a second nature". This is something that we have to enact among ourselves, each of us individually and within a group. We must constantly supply the group with the greatness of the Creator and His goal, as well as constantly receive from the group these impressions: how great the goal is, how great the Creator is, how much higher this is in relation to our petty, minute, shaky, etc. world.

To the measure that a person receives such influences from the group, they gradually accumulate in him. They gradually permeate him and become his second nature. Together with his own efforts to exert action, to focus on the Creator, he eventually realizes that his actions won't yield any positive result. In other words, constantly receiving strength to progress from the group and progressing due to this strength, a person gets continuously disappointed. The group gives him strength; he eagerly strives towards the Creator and as a result sees that he cannot attain anything. Then again he receives strength from the group, strives towards the Creator, and again falls exhausted, seeing that he cannot attain anything. In this way, he accumulates both the greatness of the Creator and the goal, and the sensation of his own weakness, pettiness, and inability to reach this goal.

These two extreme, critical sensations accumulate in a person and form a so-called true prayer - the genuine cry from the heart about passionately desiring, yet being unable to attain. Thus this genuine cry from the bottom of one's heart reveals the Upper world to him or her. Afterwards, one progresses as a sighted person, fully sensing, fully attaining that which is happening with him. The period of double and single concealment of the Creator ends, giving rise to the period of the Creator's revelation. At first, at the levels of reward and punishment, when one sees what reward is, and what punishment is, one acts wisely, ascending the spiritual worlds, sensing and revealing creation more and more.

Later, one enters the state called "unconditional love": one mergers with the Creator until there is no difference between him and the Creator and thus completes his entire correction. What follows is something that we cannot describe, and thus cannot even talk about for presently our sensations, our words have absolutely no disposition for it.

Question: Still, in our case habits ruin everything. How can we make our habits assist us in the spiritual work?

This is true. Little by little, we get accustomed both to evil, and good. We get accustomed to evil so much that we do not perceive it as evil any longer. On the contrary, sometimes it is hard for us to get accustomed to good, because we have to turn it into a habit. That is, we evaluate both good and evil only according to our properties that already exist in us. This is why if you took an ordinary person and gave him or her certain rank, made him responsible for something big, he won't agree to it. This charges him with certain responsibilities, puts him into an environment that is unusual to him. Even comfort is unusual for him - he has no need for it. We know from our own experience that each of us exist at a certain level, above or below of which we feel uncomfortable.

So what should we do in order to feel comfortable in other states? Only if we acquire these further states as a habit, turn them into our habitual states, that is, incorporated these states into our properties. Then, thanks to the correspondence of form, we will evaluate other states as good and comfortable as well. The same goes for the spiritual. If now we were shown a certain spiritual state, elevated to a certain spiritual degree, even if minimal, we would perceive it as simply unbearable. It would be unbearable to not think about oneself on any account, to think only about the others, be constantly connected to the Creator, and not disconnect from Him by any means.

We know that occasionally we want to disconnect, to rest a little. We want to stay a bit inside of ourselves without any of this spiritual business, to give ourselves a little vacation. That is to say that the spiritual states would seem horrible to us, because we still haven't built within ourselves corresponding inner states and sensations. This is why we have to prepare in advance for this, to turn our urge for the spiritual into a habit. This habit should be so permanent that we look forward to receiving the spiritual with real anticipation. We should experience true joy in sensing it, as a person who returns to a nice, comfortable state to which he is accustomed.

We can achieve this only through methodical, constant work on re-creating the spiritual state within ourselves as closely as possible now, while we are still under the Machsom. Once we do this, we will be ready to cross the Machsom and enter these states for real. Otherwise, the spiritual cannot reveal itself in us, for then we would feel it as suffering, not pleasure and perfection.

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