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Michael Laitman, PhD

Chapter 1.10 – Faith Above Reason

All that people want out of life is to satisfy their own needs, but when they are dissatisfied with their situation, they begin to want to reach the actual source of their state, meaning the Creator. Our desire for the Creator is the highest degree in our desire to study the self. In order to attain it, one must stand face to face with one's egoism, which operates like a sophisticated obstacle between the Creator and himself.

In order to allow people to study themselves and attain it, Baal HaSulam was prepared to speak to anyone, if only to have more students. He even published a paper that later on became the basis for the book Matan Torah (The Revelation of Godliness), but there was hardly anyone who would listen. The irony of it is that in the past there were many Kabbalist teachers, but hardly any students, whereas today there are many who wish to study, but there are almost no Kabbalists.

The situation we are in today is the first in history. There is a growing need and desire from below, while at the same time we are being pushed into deeper spiritual darkness. But in fact, this is a very good situation because it means that once we have the desire for real spirituality, we will receive an immediate favorable response from Above.

The intensity of the love between a person and the Creator is determined by the agony of one's longing. The agony is a consequence of the absence of the Light from the vessel, and the longing comes from the sensation of the fulfillment by the Light of the Creator when one is in adhesion with Him. Thus, if only one could collect the genuine desires, the appropriate answer would come.

The difficulty that faces people who try to break through the barrier and feel spirituality through intellectual study, is that they are undeterred by the fact that the mind is but a product of our egoistic natures. That is why they are unsuccessful in their efforts to attain spirituality with their intellects. Most beginning students of Kabbalah tend to stride that path, because it is customary to think that we can attain spirituality using our intellects.

But when one learns to go above reason, one begins to understand that the egoistic vessel is basically a desire to enjoy every kind of pleasure, and not necessarily one that comes from the Creator. The spiritual vessel, on the other hand, is initially directed at pleasing the Creator through us.

Human beings open a book, read it assiduously and try to understand it with their intellects. But it is impossible to feel what the book speaks of in the intellect. It is impossible, with mere understanding, to cross the barrier that separates the spiritual world from our own.

All that students can do is gather around the teacher, dedicate their desires to the collective melting pot, and receive a unified desire that is dozens of times greater in return. Each member of the group must be considered as a valuable force that can help us shorten the spiritual path by dozens of worldly lifetimes.

Baal HaSulam writes in item 155 of The Introduction to the Study of the Ten Sefirot, that only students who delve into the same book can extract from it that for which their aching heart yearns, and only if they understand why they want it. All of them must nullify themselves before each other. When they get together, they should always keep in mind why they are there.

Such attitudes must be formed in the very first stages of the construction of the group in order to create physical closeness. This will later lead to spiritual closeness, just as great Kabbalists have done in the past. If each and every member of the group longs to be together, and if that longing burns in each heart like a fire, then that need will soon be realized.

Our brains and even our consciousness are only secondary factors. They process and support the fulfillment of our desires. The mind is but an accessory. As soon as one understands that it is the feeling that should be cultivated, not the mind, one will immediately begin to see the path that leads to the spiritual world. The problem lies in our habits and our lack of trust.

We are not accustomed to relying on our feelings. We want to understand first, and only afterwards to feel and act. But if our brain are the obstacles, why then were they given to us?

They were given to us so that we would develop them and then go above them, above our reason, meaning that we must follow our feelings. The "above reason" route is based on trial and error. Everyone who starts to walk in it must stumble in it and rise again with his own strength, and begin to perceive the daily circumstances as assistance from Above to one’s spiritual progress.

There are many forces that were created by the Creator, such as the "evil eye", slander etc. Their one and only one purpose is to teach us to control ourselves. The Golden Rule states: “Walk humbly with thy God” (Micah 6:8). One must hide one’s goals even from his own egoism, let alone that of others.

However, this does not mean that we should dress or act any different than is customary where we live, or refrain from contact with people. But when around strangers, conduct only general conversations (small talk).

When Kabbalah students gather, they should not talk about their love for the Creator and for one another. This is only expressing their personal feelings and their private opinions. They should rather speak in more general terms about the greatness of the Creator, the greatness of the goal (spirituality) and the greatness of the friends in the group.

People who study Kabbalah get together with the help of Superior Forces, Forces of the Creator. They obtain a collective goal to their lives and that goal becomes clearer and clearer every day. The only question that remains then is how to accelerate the attainment of that goal.

There is a very clear hierarchy between the Creator and us: we are at the bottom, and the Creator is at the highest point. We must climb the rungs of that ladder from our current location to that of the Creator’s.

There are different ways to ascend. One of them is called an "Awakening From Below", where, through influence that comes from Above, we begin to want spiritual attainment and ascent. We begin to read books, joins a group, and so on. There is also another way: an "Awakening From Above". That happens when the Creator Himself chooses to lift a person up.

The difference between those paths is that the "Awakening from Above" is the slow and steady ascent of our entire world, regardless of our personal ambitions. However, those who appear to have a personal desire are brought to study Kabbalah. If those people do not use what they are given, the Upper Forces begin to demand it of them. Consequently, one must take one’s spiritual work that one is given from Above very seriously.

There is something in us called "the Stony Heart". This refers to our egoism. It can only be corrected when a Collective Light, called Messiah comes to our world. Only that light can correct it, but we must first crave the correction of that part of the egoism in our world. When there is such a desire, the phenomenon called "the coming of the Messiah" will occur instantly, and that state will deliver us forever from the torments of this world.

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