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Article "All Worlds" - Lesson 1

Shamati, Article 82
August 9, 2004
Lecturer: Michael Laitman, PhD

All the worlds with their numerous levels exist only with regard to the souls that receive the light from them. There is a rule, “That which is not attained cannot be named”, because a name constitutes attainment. Hence, all the names, designations and numbers are defined only relative to those who receive (attain) them.

While existing in some reality, we define it as the Upper Light. It fills the entire volume of the universe and is absolutely motionless, meaning it is static and imperceptible. Only the creatures/souls can perceive it according to their properties.

The reality we perceive constitutes the quantity and the quality of the efforts we exert to balance some external influence. These efforts create in us a Partzuf (our spiritual body), which determines our inner attainment. We define this attainment as the external influence, whereas its essence remains utterly inscrutable. Therefore, all the names, designations and numbers are determined only with regard to those who receive (attain).

The Kabbalists distinguish three main categories:

1. The Creator’s essence (Atzmuto), which we avoid discussing because it is utterly unattainable. The point where we begin our research is called the “Thought of Creation”. At this stage we only exist potentially – in the Creator’s thought, before He started acting. The final result is embedded in the initial thought, because the desire to achieve the result necessitates the action.

We attain the Thought of Creation on ourselves. From the Creator’s Thought, from His influence, we ascend back to Him while consistently moving in the reverse direction.

2. The thought of creation called the “World of Infinity” (Ein Sof), is a connection between the Atzmuto and the souls in the form of His “will to bestow delight upon the creatures (souls)”. We attain nothing but this connection; hence we cannot discuss anything else.

We always attain only small fragments of the World of Infinity, the Creator’s manifestations in the souls. While being constantly present in the World of Infinity in contact with the Creator, with the Upper Light, we pick only a tiny fragment called our world.

 “Our world” means that we exist in it. It can be the world in which we are now, and a totally different, spiritual world, but it is always the part that we distinguish in the World of Infinity. Therefore, the notion of a world is non-existent by itself. A world is what manifests in man’s perception; we can speak of it only with respect to human beings. No worlds exist beyond man.

In other words, in his inner properties of similarity and dissimilarity to the Creator, the person divides his perception into the revealed and the concealed. The picture of his world is based on this contrast.

The worlds in themselves are unattainable; hence we cannot say anything about them. All that is distinguished and apprehended in the worlds exists only in regard to the souls. All of these worlds exist in us only in potential. What does it mean?

Our desire is created in such a way that it gradually acquires the screen. These consecutive acquisitions (screens) give the person a better vision; perception of the World of Infinity, determine and graduate the worlds’ levels.

Since man’s inner world consists of five levels of desires and, since desire also consists of five levels (0, 1, 2, 3, 4), by gradually obtaining the screen on all of these levels of desire, the person attains the Creator. In accordance with these levels, the worlds are called Assiya, Beria, Yetzira, Atzilut, Adam Kadmon (AK), of the entire World of Infinity.

Drawing Nr 1

Thus, everything is determined by man’s inner egoism and the degree of his correction. This measure determines the world where the person exists.

We are all created similarly, the only difference lying in our individual properties. So, the way we feel nature’s general attitude toward us, we too feel the Creator’s attitude at every level of the spiritual world. However, everyone who attains the spiritual levels perceives them in his own way, in accordance with his own properties, inclinations and personal set of nine Sefirot in his Kli.

The person attains the spiritual world provided he possesses the screen. In the absence of the screen, the Upper World is concealed from him. Thus, the difference between the worlds lies only in degrees of attainment, or, in other words, in the restricted use of the egoistical desire without the screen.

Man’s desire is constantly growing. If the screen grows as fast as this desire or even faster, it enables the person to attain the world. It is not the world around us; it is the Upper Light, which the Kabbalists perceive in their corrected Kelim. This gives the sensation of the world in which he lives.

Why is this sensation divided into the inner (of one’s “self”) and outer (of the surrounding world)? The reason lies in the fact that our interactions are still not corrected. During the action called the second restriction (Tzimtzum Bet), our Kelim were separated into two types: inner and outer. When we have corrected both ourselves and the connection between us, so that the difference between the inner and outer Kelim ceases to exist and all the Kelim will have one common screen under one stroke impact (Zivug de Aka’a Rav Pa’alim uMekabtziel), then the sensation of the divided world will disappear.

Therefore, our world is called imaginary, illusory (Medumeh). In reality, it is quite different from what we imagine. Kabbalists who have attained the spiritual worlds feel how limited we are. The spiritual worlds are a part of the World of Infinity, of the true universe.

The World of Infinity is a condition in which all the souls are merged into one and feel absolutely filled with the Upper Light. Is there anything beyond them? Souls never perceive anything outside of themselves. The difference between the attainment of the World of Infinity and other worlds (e.g., the world of Assiya) is that the soul in the world of Assiya attains the World of Infinity within the limits of that world. It is in the same state, in the same “place,” completely filled with the Upper Light, but feels only a tiny part called the world of Assiya. This is because it has the screen on the fifth part of its egoism, which corresponds with the world of Assiya.

When the matter concerns the Upper Light, two categories are simultaneously implied: the receiver and the received (the way the receiver perceives the received). However, none of them is included in the definition of Infinity. The attained is defined as the Atzmuto, and the one that attains it is called the soul. It is something that was “created from nothing,” the will to be filled with pleasure. Every state in the universe divides into two elements: the Kli and the Light; creation and Creator. The Creator fills creation.

All the worlds in themselves are defined as simple unity. They do not undergo any changes. Kabbalists characterize this state by the following sentence: “I do not alter my actions.” This means that no changes take place in the Creator Himself. He contains neither Sefirot nor any other parts. All that we define as the Creator’s various manifestations exists not in the Atzmuto, but in the souls that attain the Upper Light. The souls keep changing and, in accordance with their properties and sensations, they give names to the Creator and to the Upper Light.

The Creator wants us to attain and interpret the delight He emanates as His desire to please the created beings. Therefore, we enjoy not so much the pleasure that we receive, but rather a tangible sensation of the Creator; of His desire to bestow delight upon us. This very sensation brings us most exquisite and intense pleasure that is completely revealed in the state of the Final Correction.

Thus, we do not attain the Creator’s act of bestowal in accordance with what we feel and enjoy, but rather ascend with its help to His initial thought to delight us. We penetrate His desire to please us and that is what brings us the most enjoyment. Entering His thought to bestow delight upon us is the ultimate bliss called the Thought of Creation.

The Creator provided us with such senses that perceive the Upper Light and distinguish in it many different sensations. With their help He wished us to fully grasp His thoughts and attitude toward us.

Our general sense organ is called the will to receive pleasure. We feel many nuances and details, falls and rises in what we perceive. From the point where the realization of desire begins, we can somehow describe the perceived. If the person’s feelings and mind are equally developed, he can really control, repeat and correctly perform any action.

Knowledge, realization and mind, combined with desires, enable the person to research, measure, and describe them so that others with similar desires and mind will be able to reproduce the same sensations in themselves. All of this is already called the combination of the Upper Light and the will to receive, or simply the Light and the Kli – delight and desire.

However, no perception is possible outside of the Kli because the Light, without someone who attains it, is defined as the Atzmuto (Creator’s essence), of which we cannot speak due to its inscrutability.

When we speak about the Light, we always do so with regard to the Kelim in which it is perceived. The Light does not exist outside of the Kelim and cannot be defined by name. Strictly speaking, we cannot even say that the Light exists inside the Kelim. We measure the disturbances that influence us, then our own reactions to something that allegedly fills us, and call it Light.

While receiving portions of pleasure, we research the particular types of the Creator’s attitude to us. We learn how He desires to bestow His delight upon us. We study not the received pleasure, but His attitude toward us. This enables us to establish contact with Him.

Merging with the Creator is achieved through the common Kli. The person receives the Creator’s delight in order to bestow it upon Him. However, as a result of this reciprocal bestowal, man rises to the Creator’s Rosh, to the Thought of Creation, and there they merge.

Drawing Nr 2

How can one attain the Creator’s Thought? As in any other attainment, this can only be achieved if the person becomes similar to the Creator in his properties. It means that he acquires the Creator’s mind. The attainment of the Creator’s plan is our principal goal and the greatest pleasure because He and His plan are the same. However, we should bear in mind that it is not the Atzmuto (His essence), but only His thought with regard to us.

All that is beneath this thought is just a means – a mutual proving ground – where we can work on the ascent to that thought. Hence, entering into the Creator’s thoughts and plans is the ultimate point which creation is destined to reach and the most exquisite delight. That is exactly what the Creator wants us to achieve. This way we begin to understand and feel that all the Kelim with the Light that fills them are merely intermediate means that were given to us for the ascent to the level of His thought.

As long as the so-called Light and Kli remain at the level of thought, plan, we define their combination as the World of Infinity. Prior to the First Restriction (Tzimtzum Aleph) this world was regarded as a root, a potential plan to be realized. Therefore, the attainment of the World of Infinity means the attainment of the Creator’s plan.

Starting with Tzimtzum Aleph and down to the World of Assiya, a host of conceived worlds and parts are attained in action. The person perceives this multitude of the Creator’s parts and actions and attains them in his desire. In this way he “builds his Rosh (head)” which is absolutely identical with the Creator’s “head.”

When we say that the Creator helps us, heals us, sends us gifts, we usually imply two categories:

      1. The Creator’s essence. It is called Atzmuto, and we cannot speak about it because it is unattainable. This is the so-called “upper” part of the Creator, considered as the root;

      2. The Light that is emanated by the Creator. It enters into our Kli (desire to receive pleasure). This connection between the Creator and man is defined as the World of Infinity. Although the Creator is completely revealed with regard to us, we cannot perceive Him.

In the end, the Creator’s will to bestow delight (which is referred to as the emanated Light), creates in us the will to receive pleasure. This desire receives the Light. In reality, this desire (this egoism) constitutes the reverse side of the Light. This material does not exist in nature. The Light forms a property that is opposite to itself, and in the absence of the Light, the property will also cease to exist. Therefore, the Light determines and sustains everything.

This spreading Light, called Infinity, reaches its recipient after passing through many concealing filters. Whatever spiritual level we may attain, there will always be a beam of Light that descends to us. With its help, we can start correcting ourselves and ascending to the World of Infinity. Hence, all changes take place in the receiver of Light to the extent of his ability to perceive it.

It depends only on us – whether the Upper Light influences us or not; whether the Creator pays attention to us or not. The Creator exists in one invariable state called the World of Infinity. His action is constant – the Upper Light keeps revealing more and more new Reshimot in every one of us.

The attaining one and the attained appear simultaneously. There cannot be a situation when a state exists by itself and then man appears to attain it. Time does not exist. The attained takes its form only with regard to the one who attains it. We can say nothing about the form of the attained, unless it comes into contact with our sensations. Since we can neither feel nor attain the Atzmuto, nothing can be said about the phenomenon or its forms.

Infinity can exist either beyond our perception or in our sensations, when we bring no disturbances into it. That is exactly what the Creator wishes us to achieve. He wants us to feel His Infinity, and turn ourselves into an infinite and unrestricted Kli with the properties of bestowal.

Therefore, we can only speak from our sensations filled with the Light. In this way, we perceive a table as hard in our tactile sensation and our vision determines its size, etc. Yet, all of it exists only in our perception. A creature with different senses will feel the same table differently.

For example, the soul – existing outside of the body – will perceive the table as a Kli of a certain level filled with a portion of Light (i.e., displaying one of the Creator’s properties). Hence, without knowing anything about another creature’s senses, we cannot imagine what the table looks like in its sensations. The picture we create is formed only in our perception.

We find both the Creator’s essence and the form of the worlds with regard to Him equally inscrutable. We apprehend in the spiritual worlds only what manifests in our sensations, because such is the Creator’s desire. We have to attain the Upper Worlds only from our equivalence to them. That is why the Light is attained only in the changes, which it makes in the Kli, meaning in our sense organs.

When many people are looking at the same spiritual object, everyone attains it in accordance with his individual perception. If this spiritual object changes with regard to someone, it happens only because this particular person’s condition changed. The reason lies in the fact that the Light is simple and formless, and all the forms are determined by the person’s perception. While reflecting one particle of the outer Light after another and shaping them, it gradually begins to perceive it in its completeness.

At the same time, the Creator strictly rules over desire. Desire originates in the plan of creation to delight the created beings. Therefore, it has to reach the level of realization of the Creator’s plan, by going through all possible sensations. This highest level is called Shoresh (root). The command comes from that level and we need to attain it.

Although we perceive the Light as pleasure, in reality it is a very tough force. Its absence causes all the ills in this world. In four stages – one stage after another – the Light’s will creates desire in the Kli. All of them are formed under pressure and with utmost precision.

That is why the laws of creation are undeviatingly observed in the World of Infinity. Before the Kli realizes the situation, it receives the Light unrestrictedly. However, at the next moment it makes a Tzimtzum and completely stops receiving.

The Kli attains the plan (thought) of creation from its fulfillment. It ascends from the Behina Dalet (stage 4) back to Shoresh (stage 0), which is inside Behina Dalet. When creation realizes that the Creator wishes to fill it with delight and lead it to the attainment of the plan, it cannot continue receiving and enjoying the Light. It feels shame with regard the Creator’s plan, hence it has to rise to that level. It makes a Tzimtzum and decides what to do next.

The World of Infinity is infinitely tough. It is like a sphere inside which we exist. It constantly influences and develops us, while gradually revealing itself, and making us feel worse and worse due to the growing contrast between us.

Starting with Tzimtzum Aleph (first restriction), the creation rules over the Light, which is destined to appear within it. On the one hand, it restricts the Light; on the other hand, it begins receiving it later. Tzimtzum Aleph is the first action that is directed from up downwards. This enables the creation to act independently, because the Creator never performed this action.

Having first decided not to accept any Light, the creation later starts receiving with the intention for the Creator’s sake. Therefore, the act of Tzimtzum remains unabolished. All of these actions refer to the creation; it independently creates these necessary prerequisites within itself.

After the Kli pushes away the Creator’s delight, it establishes contact with Him and with His plan to delight the creation. Now a calculation is made with regard to the Creator’s plan. Because the Creator wants to please the creation, it is ready to enjoy – guided by the Creator’s plan and not by its own desire.

The Creator influences the creation and brings about disturbances in it. While balancing these disturbances, the creation assumes the form of the Creator. This is similar to matrix and patrix. We always suffer, if we resist the form of the Creator’s influence (which normally takes the form that is opposite to the Creator because we act from within our egoistical desire).

When we fail to react properly to the Creator’s Light – His best desire – we suffer and even die. This is the result of our incorrect reception of the absolutely altruistic influence. We perceive it in an opposite way, because the reception does not occur in the reflected Light. Consequently, we cannot react adequately and balance the Creator’s influence.

Ultimately, we will have to achieve the state of balance and observe the supreme law of the universe. Similarly, all the laws that we observe in our world are based on the principle of balancing the external influence.

Man was created in the state, which he now has to achieve in the course of his evolution. This state is defined as equivalence to the Creator or merging with Him. This is the last, ultimate form – cause and purpose of the entire creation. It corresponds to the formula, “The realization is concealed in the plan.” All of nature’s laws are directed to the realization of this exalted purpose.

Man merges with the Creator when his properties become similar to the Creator’s. Every person is obliged to achieve this goal in one of his incarnations in this world (this is the principal condition!). He has to correct his Kelim while being in his biological body, acquire a spiritual body, and exist in both at the same time.

This happens as the person attains the Creator’s plan with regard to creation. Every action contains the thought of the person who performed it. For example, a table reflects the intellect and craftsmanship of its maker. Therefore, by looking at the table, we can attain the thought that is embedded in it, because at the moment of work the action was merged with the thought.

When the person contemplates the Creator’s actions, he attains His mind – the mind of the Maker. In other words, being deprived of the opportunity to apprehend the Creator’s plan, we can study His action, i.e., ourselves. By researching ourselves, we attain His mind, His plan, in accordance with the formula, “I will know the Creator from His actions within myself.” Hence, the person studies only himself on his spiritual path.

The person, who attains on himself the actions by which the Creator created the world, merges with the Creator. In this way, the person reveals the Creator’s names His manifestations in creation and through these names merges with Him. The Creator’s names designate His actions with regard to us. There are only ten basic names that work within the Kli consisting of ten parts. The person gradually attains all of them and unites them into one: “Yud-Hey-Vav-Hey,” which constitutes the Creator’s plan.

Drawing Nr 3

By studying himself as an egoistical creature and seeking opportunities to reach the equivalence of form with the Creator, the person gets to know Him. Although creation has no contact with the Creator (we are way below His mind and plan), by imitating His actions of bestowal, we attain His thoughts and rise above the point of our creation. We reach His level and become equal to Him.

Like Malchut of the World of Infinity grew from a tiny dot (the only thing that was created by the Creator), we too will develop into a full spiritual object (Partzuf). We will merge with the Creator “face to face” as Malchut of the World of Atzilut merges with the Partzuf Zeir Anpin.

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