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Regaining Consciousness

Us and the World

From birth, we have the tools to perceive the physical reality. Within these tools are “information bits” about the states and shapes that we are destined to realize—the Reshimot. Through education and environmental influence our tools evolve until we have “normal” perception of the physical reality.

However, this is not the case concerning the perception of the spiritual reality. We have no “standard” by which to test if we are building our inner vessels correctly to disclose the attribute of bestowal and the discovery of the spiritual reality.

We do not know what to do with our desires, how we should shape them, and with which intentions we should prepare them. To assist us in this task, Kabbalists provide us with the necessary definitions. They teach us how we can calibrate our tools of perception to perceive the spiritual reality.

We perceive the physical reality in a predetermined manner; we were born and raised without being asked our opinions in the matter. The physical perception patterns that were formed in us while maturing make us sense the Light of Ein Sof. This Light actually stands opposite us all the time—the physical reality within which we and the world around us exist.

Yet, nothing is preordained as far as the spiritual reality is concerned. We must find our own ways of perceiving spirituality, and only the tools that we will build will provide each of us understanding about the Creator, the Upper Force that builds and influences everything.

We should keep in mind that reality is built within us. Our inner qualities reflect a “shadow” upon the abstract Light, thus creating our world pictures, the spiritual as well as the physical. Thus, the way we will perceive the Creator depends solely on our own qualities.


The wisdom of Kabbalah has maintained its stance concerning the perception of reality for thousands of years. Conversely, science cultivated its approach through several key stages.

The classic perception, whose protagonist was Isaac Newton, states that the world exists in and of itself, regardless of whether or not we are there to perceive it. As the science of biology evolved, it enabled us to see the world through the eyes of other creatures. We discovered that different animals perceive the world in very different ways.

For example, a bee sees tens of thousands of pictures, which combine to create the picture of the world around it. A dog perceives the world primarily as “spots of scent.” Then, Einstein discovered that changing the observer’s velocity produced a fundamentally different picture of reality.

These discoveries opened up a second approach that asserted that the picture of the world depended on its perceiver. Perceivers with different qualities and senses perceived a different picture of the world. Thus, as in the first approach, the world still existed independent of its perceivers. The difference between the first and second approach is that the world appears different in the eyes of different perceivers.

A third approach that evolved suggested that the observer affects the world, and thus affects the picture that the observer perceives. According to the third school, the perception of reality is like an average picture between the attributes of the observer and the attributes of the observed object.

In other words, the observer perceives something in a certain way because this is how the observer is built, compared to the actual quality of the world. This approach asserts that there is a correlation between the individual and the world in the sense that the perceiver influences the picture of the world that he or she perceives.

The difference between the second and third approaches is as follows: The second approach states that we do not affect the world and that the picture of the world changes in our eyes because we change. The third approach, however, states that we do affect the world, that our perception of the world is a combination of the individual’s qualities and those of the world. Today there are even some who claim that there are infinite possibilities, and the observer “chooses” which of them to perceive according to his or her attributes.

This last approach is rather close to the Kabbalistic approach. The fundamental difference between them is in the definition of “the existence of the world.” Stating that the world has endless possible forms relies on the assumption that if I operate in a certain way the world will “react.”

The Kabbalistic approach states that the world is totally abstract; it assumes no form whatsoever. There is nothing outside us but a never-changing, abstract Light. Even when we change with respect to the Light and perceive some of It, no change is induced in the Light itself. All that we perceive is our measure of internal congruence with the Light, nothing more.

From all we have said thus far we can see that our real life is very different from the way we perceive it. The picture of reality for each us depends entirely on our inner attributes. This picture is built of projections of our own attributes over the abstract Light.

Actually, the fact that our lives are an offshoot of what goes on within us bears profound implications: All the processes that we experience, even including life and death, are direct results of our vessels’ perceptions. Moreover, it is in our hands to change them. Changing our vessels will allow us to switch from world to world and from reality to reality. We can then reach the highest levels of existence, where we are totally incorporated into the abstract Light.

Experiencing Ein Sof

The only difference between the vessels that perceive the corporeal reality and those that perceive the spiritual reality is in the intention. The corporeal vessels are egoistic and the spiritual vessels are altruistic. Intention is related to one’s attitude towards the use one makes of one’s desires.

The only state that really exists is the state of Ein Sof (Infinity). In that state, the Light is present within the Kli. However, that state is concealed, and the concealment prevents us from experiencing the state of Ein Sof. The altruistic intention gradually removes this concealment and exposes the Light that permanently fills the Kli.

If we keep this depiction in mind, we will remember that we never reveal any Lights outside the vessels. When Kabbalists say that Lights enter or exit the vessels, they wish to emphasize how one draws nearer to the attainment of the constant state. In Kabbalistic terms, Ein Sof is a state of “complete rest,” meaning it is unchanging. Our work is to gradually prepare our tools of perception to perceive that state. Thus, the only change is in our abilities to perceive.

When Light “clothes” a person and one feels how it gradually enters, the constant state becomes gradually clearer as one awakens to feeling it. The Light never actually enters and never actually exits. It only becomes clearer and more evident, meaning more revealed and less concealed.

As Light becomes more evident in the Kli, it shows us that we are actually in the world Ein Sof, in the constant state, and that we must discover that this is our only state of existence. Thus, the Abstract Form doesn’t exist at all. The Light that creates the Kli filled it immediately. There is no lapse between the making of the Kli and its filling. When Kabbalists say that Light emits from the Creator, they mean that there is already a Kli that is filled with It.

We must not forget that, unlike our time-related language, there is no time in spirituality. This is why we say that a Kli was first made and then filled. But in spirituality, these phases are simultaneous; the beginning and the end are at the same point.

Hence, the Abstract Form is really nonexistent, since the Form, or Light, is already clothed in its vessel. Our imagination can separate the Light from the Kli. We can assume that the Light within the Kli probably exists outside the Kli as well, although we have no perception of what is outside the Kli.

Let us try to demonstrate this concept: Assume there is a Kli in which I perceive the whole reality. Assume also that there is another Kli in which I perceive some of the reality, and one more Kli in which I cannot perceive anything. Correcting my vessels pertains to the expansion of my vessels from smaller to greater, and even greater. If I say that the Light fills my vessel, it does not mean that It did not fill it before, but that now I have discovered this reality in actual fact.

We can compare this process to an unconscious patient who is slowly regaining consciousness. His kin and friends surround him, waiting for him to wake up. As he slowly opens his eyes, he begins to recognize his whereabouts. From the patient’s perspective, reality “came to him” and filled his vessel of sensation, because we measure everything from the perspective of the receiver.

The term, Ein Sof, does not pertain to anything outside the creatures. It pertains to the Thought of Creation. The final Form of the creatures is already present in the Thought of Creation. All creatures, none excluded, are already in that state with all their fillings. Our present state is therefore called “the imaginary state.” We are that unconscious patient; we think that we exist in a certain way, and we are gradually awakening to see the actual reality. At the end of the process, every creature will be fully aware of its true state.

In his Introduction to the Book of Zohar, Baal HaSulam depicts three states that the souls experience in the process of their awakening to their true state. The first state is the beginning of Creation and contains everything that will later evolve. The second state is the birth of the souls. The third state is when souls obtain what was already present in the first state. In other words, the first state refers to the souls’ potential existence; in the second, they are unconscious, and in the third they return to their original state.

We are accustomed to a modus operandi by which we first decide to do something, then execute our decision, and have the intended result at the end of the execution of our decision. However, the Creator is complete. Thus, for Him there is no difference between the decision and the execution. The concept of time does not apply to the Creator. This is why we say that in the Thought of Creation to do good to His creations, the beginning, the middle, and the end are integrated inseparably. It is only our perception that divides this Thought into three layers.

The concept of time applies to the creatures because we are uncorrected. Three states exist for us: (1) corruption, (2) preparation for correction and correction, (3) equivalence of Form, and filling. This sequence of actions creates our sense of time.

As Reshimot surface in us, they make us want and think various things. When the Reshimo changes, so does my thought. The difference between my thought a minute ago and my thought in the present creates the sensation that time is passing. When our thoughts and desires change slowly, we feel that time is “crawling.” Conversely, when new thoughts and new desires pop up very quickly in our minds, we feel that time is “flying.”

Upon acquiring the first spiritual degree, we feel that we are in a spiritual process, meaning a spiritual time. In that state, we no longer sense corporeal time and completely identify with the spiritual process, where time is measured by the changes and actions pertaining to our contact with the Creator.

The frequency of the to-and-fro “signals” from us (now Kabbalists) to Him creates the sensation of time. It is no longer a question of the number of years we spend in our physical bodies. When all the Reshimot have surfaced, are corrected, and are filled with all the Lights, alternating between states ceases. Because there are no more deficiencies to fill and we are in a state of wholeness, the sensations of time, space, and motion cease, as well.

To Build a House

Understanding the making of Creation can be simplified by an example: A person who wishes to build a house will first picture its final form. After that, one must carefully plan the work stages and then execute them.

This is not the case with the Creator. The minute the Creator thought about creating creatures, it was done, and they appeared in their corrected form. Thus, from the Creator’s perspective, we are in our corrected form. It makes no difference that we discover our true state gradually.

Hence, when we want to receive strength, we turn to the state of Ein Sof, which we call “Creator.” To receive strength and discernments, we turn to the corrected reality in which we already exist, and to which we must aspire. Ein Sof is the Thought, and the world Atzilut is the detailed blueprint—these are the two phases preceding the execution of the Thought. It is similar to the way one thinks about constructing a house and even puts one’s thoughts in writing without having the materials.

Below the world Atzilut is the Parsa, the separation between the Atzilut and the world below it. The creatures begin from the Parsa downward.. Yet, the Creator does not have to wait for the creatures’ actions. For Him, the Thought and the Blueprint are the whole reality. Below the Parsa exist the worlds Beria, Yetzira, Assiya, and below them is This World (Figure 14).

Figure 14

Light comes from the world Atzilut downward according to one’s desire to “build the house.” This desire, which one raises towards the Upper Light, is one’s intention to please the Creator and resemble Him. In other words, it is the intention to obtain similarity with the Creator.

The process of bestowal upon the Creator consists of a beginning and an end. Not only do the beginning and the end pre-exist, but each of the intermediary stages exists as well. One knows the stages that one must go through in advance because, according to the blueprint, the pre-definition of each state stems from the Kli having to undergo a gradual correction.

There are diverse desires in the Kli, all of which are interconnected. They can be compared to organs in a single body, where each is required to build the intention to bestow. Correcting one desire influences all the others, which must unfold in their proper place in the correction order. There is nothing in one’s life that is not predetermined by the structure of the will to receive, as the path of correction is predefined and divided into preordained orders.

We are always in the ultimate state, even now. As Reshimot surface and put us in varying states, all we do is realize each one. We cannot choose the states we will experience, but we can be assisted by the environment to realize the stages more effectively. Thus we will progress from one state to the next.

Moreover, even the way in which we realize the states we are placed in is predetermined. Nothing is new from the Creator’s perspective; it is only hidden from us so we may independently choose to spiritually evolve. Later, when it no longer affects our efforts, we will discover that our successes and failures in achieving these states were also predetermined. When this occurs, we will be absolutely integrated in the Creator’s perfect guidance.

If we were to correct beyond our interest in the results we feel in our vessels, we would no longer be influenced by what happens in the beginning, middle or end. Like the Creator, beginning, middle, and end would equalize in us and become one stage. This is why those who correct themselves transcend time and the effect of temporary stages. The correction we must undergo essentially consists of detaching from self-interest.

We can define a creature as “something” that feels itself detached from the Creator, and is ostensibly in its own right. From the point of view of the creature, the house isn’t finished yet. The creature feels that it can contribute something to the building of it.

When the creature begins to want to discover the blueprint in order to complete the building of the house, the creature is considered to have brought itself back to Ein Sof. Its efforts to seek counsel and strength to understand the Creator’s design and realize it bring the creature to ever-deepening familiarity with the plan, and to subsequent inclusion in the completed house.

Yet, this process unfolds precisely when the creature is seemingly adding every nut, bolt, board, and brick to the building. This addition constitutes one’s desire to be incorporated in the house, not the actual construction of it. The raw materials, the metal, the wood, and the bricks are all desires. One need only want to place each desire in its proper place, according to the Creator’s Plan. By building the house made of desires, one acquires the Creator’s Thought. This is the creature’s reward.

The Thought of Creation can only be reached from within this world. While being in this world, a Kabbalist gradually studies the actions of the Creator directly from Him and begins to want to do the same. Kabbalists called this process “from your actions we know you.” The outcome of this process is the attainment of the Creator’s Mind, His Thought.

The Thought of the Creator precedes the making of the creature. Hence, upon obtaining it, one not only brings oneself back to one’s birthplace, but one rises even higher, transcending the level “creature” and reaching the actual level of the Creator. At such a point we can say that they are of one mind, in adhesion, or equivalence of Form.

To be exact, the blueprint appears at the very first contact with spirituality. This is because each spiritual degree is a complete structure of ten Sefirot. The substance of the building, its structure, even its builder, all become known with the appearance of the very first picture.

After admission to the spiritual world, one becomes better and better acquainted with its structure because spirituality is built solely with one’s consent to every step in the process. The consent pertains to one’s intention to bestow, the altruistic intention. One’s independence and free choice, one’s “place of work,” are in agreement with the altruistic intention. This is the addition that the Creator never added, nor can He add this.

The world Ein Sof is the house that the Creator so lovingly gives to the creature, but one must return the same love for Him, and by so doing seemingly build the same house for the Creator. Thus the creature returns the actions of the Creator, equalizes with Him, and hence elevates to the Thought of Creation.

The Worlds Are Within

The Upper Worlds and their degrees exist only with respect to us, not in and of themselves. The worlds exist in potential, waiting for us to correct and discover their spiritual shape. In that state, we will immediately be presented with all the degrees between us and Ein Sof, beginning with the next adjacent degree.

A charge in a magnetic field “senses” the field’s influence on it, and hence “knows” that the field exists. Had the charge not been inside the field, it would not have “felt” the effect of the magnetic field; in fact, it would not even know that the field exists.

Similarly, when leaving Earth’s atmosphere, we discover that outer space is dark. It may sound strange, considering that sunrays spread out across space, but if there is nothing that stands in the rays’ way and “captures” them, we cannot detect the existence of the light.

Another good example of this principle can be observed when we watch sunlight come in through an open window into a room with some dust in the air. We can only detect the rays by their reflection off the dust in the air. In other words, if the creature does not feel a certain thing, it cannot say that it exists on the outside. In such a state, we say that all that exists is the Thought of Creation to do good to that which has been created.

The creature, which is at Ein Sof, discovers the Ein Sof according to its relative correction or corruption. The degree of intensity in which it feels the Light in each of the spiritual levels, from Ein Sof to the creature, depends only on the individual creature. For this reason, we say that all the worlds are within each creature, and only after we perceive certain parts of the Thought of Creation do we become aware of the existence of this Thought. We cannot talk about the Creator, attainment, or fulfillment when it is not from within the attaining individual, meaning if there is no Kli, there is no Light. In other words, without a creature, there is no Creator.

Accelerating the Development

The Light of Ein Sof fills the whole reality, the entire will to receive that It created. It operates within it to bring it to equalize its form with Itself. The pressure of the Light on the will to receive is constant, unchanging in quantity or quality. In consequence, perpetual changes unfold in the will to receive, which we call “general providence,” “from Above,” meaning from the Creator to the creature. Because this attitude is permanent and unchanging, it is called “the Ein Sof, which is in complete rest.”

The term, “Ein Sof,” emphasizes that the Creator is unchanging and that His purpose is also unchanging—to bring the creature to Gmar Tikkun (the End of Correction). Progression toward Gmar Tikkun is carried out through the Light’s pressure on the Kli, which will eventually bring the Kli to feel that it is in contradiction with the Light’s state.

Because of the pressure this creates, Kabbalists relate to this path as “the path of pain.” While treading this path, everything happens in its due time, the constant pressure of the Light on the Kli inducing the making of diverse forms in the Kli until they are exhausted and the Kli reaches its Gmar Tikkun.

At the end of the natural evolution of the will to receive in humans, after many life cycles, one begins to feel that there is something higher, a Giver. At that phase, one begins to accumulate insights that do not belong to the will to receive, but to the will to bestow that pervaded the will to receive at the shattering of the vessels.

In such a state, one is between two forces--the will to bestow and the will to receive. Such a state allows one to accelerate one’s development and progress faster than the natural pressure of the Light on the Kli would allow.

However, accelerating evolution toward the attribute of bestowal cannot be done from within one’s ego. The only way to acquire the attribute of bestowal is to receive it from the Creator. The work of the individual is to find a way by which to receive the Form of bestowal “from Above,” without having to fully experience the evils in the Kli, experiences that would force the creature to flee from reception to bestowal by pain and torment.

Choosing this path is called “evolution from below upward.” In it, we walk toward the pressing Light and systematically bring upon ourselves all of the states, one by one. By taking this path, we want to progress toward the Creator, toward acquiring the Form of bestowal, and in so doing skip over the other states.

The great benefit of this alternative path, called “the path of Light,” is that one experiences the same states, each and every desire, and its oppositeness from the Creator, but not because of the pressure from behind, but because of the craving for the Light. This path allows one to experience the necessary discernments quickly and in a more controlled manner. The path of Light is similar to discovering that we are ill, and taking the proper medicine before the illness actually breaks out. Thus, our own yearning can spare us great pain and troubles.

If we are drawn to the Light of our own accord; i.e., to the Forms of bestowal above the will to receive, we will skip terrible afflictions. This is why the wisdom of Kabbalah was given to humankind. Without it, humanity would progress naturally, step by step, each phase lasting until its negativity became fully exposed, and we would be forced into the next state. Teaching the wisdom of Kabbalah and how to use it to draw the Light will help us evolve in a very different way, pleasantly and quickly.

Building the Creator Within

As we have explained before, all the changes unfold within us, although they seem to be happening outside of us. We should understand that without experiencing that the changes are occurring outside us, we would not be able to make contact with the Creator or even think that the Creator exists and has any bearing on us. It is precisely this illusion that enables us to perceive the Light as something that exists outside of us.

When we relate what happens in us to the existence of an exterior Creator, we can build an attitude toward it and come to understand who the Creator is and how He wants to give to us. Had we not ascribed our inner experiences to the Creator, we would have been unable to perceive anything of Him. Moreover, we would have been unable to build the intention to bestow upon the Creator.

As we evolve, we gradually build a truer image of the Creator. At the end of the building process we reach the Simple Light, the Giver, the Ultimate Good, Who is in a state of eternal and unchanging love.

The illusionary sensation that there is a connection between the Creator and the creature changes according to the changes in the creature. This enables one to picture the Creator according to one’s own attributes. In fact, in so doing one builds the Creator within; there is no other way to sense the Creator.

Projecting one’s attributes upon the abstract Light illuminates the level above one’s present level, which is the level that one pictures as the Creator. Thus, we refer the degree slightly higher than ours, which we will attain next, as the Creator. Once we have equalized with the attribute of bestowal on that degree, we “take” the place of the Creator. Now that person is in the place where the Creator was before (in our eyes).

Thus, as we evolve, we always picture the next degree through our corrupted attributes. We build the image of the Creator, which we aspire to become, in relation to our own attributes. This is the only way to perceive any Form of the Creator, the only way we can approach the abstract Light.

This imaginary sensation helps us build the present degree as well as the next degree. It facilitates our understanding of where to turn when we want to muster strength. Although it unfolds within, the image of the Creator that we build demonstrates the gap between our present state and the next state. Thus, we realize the difference between ourselves and the Creator. This is the only way to learn what is Above because the Creator has no Form that we can otherwise perceive. Hence, we build the Creator within us.

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