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Michael Laitman, PhD

Chapter 2.7 – Correcting Our Desires

Utilizing my desire in a different way is called “correction”. This is a state where we are completely liberated from it, as though looking at it from the side, not governed by it.

For example, we can look at the will to receive as a will to bestow. If I know that you will enjoy my acceptance of your present, I will take it. By accepting your gift, I am inverted from a taker to a giver of delight.

In order to return the pleasure to you, I must express great joy when I receive your gift. Thus, my desire doesn’t change, only its implementation.

Desires are always divided to light (fine) and hard (coarse), according to how they are used, the pleasure derived from them and the possibility of transferring them from desires for reception into desires for bestowal. It is important to separate the desire from its clothing, to consider only the desire. Only then can I use all its parts – fine and coarse. But I must first restrict every new desire that surfaces and say, “Yes, this is indeed pleasure, but I can refrain from realizing it, I can resist it.”

By doing this, I stretch a borderline between me and the pleasure and the giver of the pleasure. It is like a game - when a certain desire appears, I have to reject it, and afterwards receive only to the extent that I can do so for the host.

That is why our work is denominated Zivug de Hakaa (mating by rejecting), because we use the screen to detain and reject the pleasure, and only then accept it to the extent that we can use it in order to give the benefactor. I must use every vessel at my disposal correctly, but I must first separate myself from the pleasure that reaches me.

When I think of the purpose of Creation, of the contact with the Creator, I aim my every act toward Him. That is what I should do with every desire, and that will intensify the pleasure I will derive from them many times over. That way, I actually increase my vessels of bestowal.

We need only learn how to use our desires correctly, and constantly analyze our situation. The essays and letters of Baal HaSulam and Rabbi Baruch Ashlag (Rabash) are very helpful for that.

We progress by understanding the situation. We are not the owners of our desires and pleasures. Only a constant study of the situations allows us to use our desires correctly. Our thought must be aimed at the questions: “Why was I sent this desire?” “How should I react to it, and why?”

We must observe things from the side, so to speak. These exercises teach us why the Creator does what he does. We sometimes have desires we cannot overpower, and sometimes we have some that we can. Sometimes we feel indifference, envy, hate and so on. We must only keep things under guard.

Sometimes it is not what we do that is important, but the experience we gain by doing it. But we cannot evaluate the situation correctly, it is not important if we regard something as a sin or a misdoing. This is because such an incident can, regardless of which it is, be of great help to us. Every feeling is given to us by the Creator so we can acquire the necessary experience and knowledge.

In the end, we will understand that every time we tries to do something and we do not connect with the Creator, we will be placing ourselves in a terrible state of acknowledging our evil to the point that we will want to relinquish our personal pleasure once and for all.

But the Creator wants us to enjoy ourselves; that is the design of Creation, and the joy must be genuine! Yet our intention must be to give that pleasure to the Creator and not remain on a beastly (animate), egoistic level. What should change is the principle of reception, the approach to pleasure.

The entire Creation consists of a will to receive; there is a feminine root in how we relate to the Creator (in the sense that we are receivers). The desire to bestow is our masculine root (in the sense that we want to give). Consequently, Creation itself is divided to a feminine side and a masculine side. If creation adapts itself to the Light and becomes like it, then it is considered the masculine part. If it remains outside the Light as a receiver, then it is considered its feminine part.

Everything that happens in this world is a consequence of the dividing of the soul of Adam ha Rishon to 600,000 spiritual souls. These parts are at varying levels of correction and should fulfill masculine and feminine parts interchangeably, meaning they should sometimes follow the right line (bestowal, masculine part) and other times they should follow the left line (reception, feminine part).

All the names in the Torah are names of spiritual attainments on the spiritual ladder. But in order to attain a certain name, you must play both the masculine and the feminine parts, meaning the right and left lines. For example, in the degrees of Pharaoh, Moses, Israel, and a Gentile, there is both a feminine and a masculine part. But each name can only be attained once and in a certain degree.

Man and woman are a union of Zeir Anpin and Malchut of the world of Atzilut. Its essence and degree create different names and a higher spiritual degree. The male and female states are set in each of the 125 degrees. If that is the case, then how should men and women behave in this world? Each should behave according to the possibilities that he/she has been given within a specific sex.

Although we are egoistic and seek nothing but our personal profit, we must be grateful to the Creator for having allowed us to see ourselves as we really are, as unpleasant as it may be. We should try to learn to react to things moderately as we observe ourselves from the side.

That is, in fact, our entire work - to become owners of our situations and to control our emotions. We may sometimes lose our tempers, but we must examine why things happen and what should be done from now on. That teaches us to separate the mind from the heart, and emotions from reason. Introduction to the Book of Zohar (item 11): “And the worlds concatenated onto the reality of this corporeal world, meaning to a place where there is a body, a soul, a time of corruption and a time of correction.”

The body is called "the will to receive for myself." It expands from the root of the thought of Creation, through the entire system of the impure worlds, and becomes increasingly coarser. This period of time, when it is under the control of the will to receive for myself, is called “the time of corruption.”

Later on, through the practice and the study of Kabbalah, which aim to give to the Creator, the body (will to receive) begins to purify itself from the will to receive that is initially imprinted in it, and gradually acquires a will to bestow. That gives it a possibility to receive the Light of the Creator, the soul that extends from the root of the design of Creation. The soul passes through the system of the pure worlds and clothes a body. This period is called “the time of correction.”

In that state, one faces the ladder of the spiritual degrees, which expands according to the thought of Creation from the world of Ein Sof. This helps continue in the acquisition of the aim to give to the Creator, until one’s every act to bestow (even the reception) will only be in order to give to the Creator, and take nothing for the self.

Reception in order to bestow is considered complete bestowal. Thus, by attaining that, one attains equivalence of one’s properties with the Creator’s, namely adhesion with Him. When that happens, one receives the complete eternal abundance that the Creator had intended to bestow when He designed Creation.

It is impossible to turn the will to receive into a will to bestow. Why? Because receiving is our essence and remains with us. It must therefore be clothed with an aim to bestow, meaning the direction of received bounty should be changed. In that situation, one’s body (desires) will commence its process of correction, or cleansing.

If, for example, ten grams of the body are cleansed, then ten grams of the body can now be filled with Light. When the Light descends, it also restricts itself to ten grams to fit the corrected part of the body and clothe it. The two world systems – pure and impure – act synchronously and help one another in the correction process. Each newly obtained spiritual degree helps ascend to the next, until we finally reach the last degree, the attainment of eternity, perfection and wholeness, the ability to view life and death from a new perspective.

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