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Article "One Law" - lesson 3

July 28, 2004
Lecturer: Michael Laitman, PhD

Thought, Speech, Action

Any effort of correction includes thought, speech, and action. If action is directed to the Creator, then in itself it proves the presence of intention. Both action and intention are aimed at the same object, the Creator, but in this case intention also can be either “for one’s self” or “for the sake of the Creator.”

My eyes are fixed on the Creator, but what is my goal: to derive benefit or to bestow upon Him and this way merge with Him. These motives are not very clear and important to us so far, but gradually they will transpire and become understandable.

Beginners have this question: should we bestow upon the Creator because He is so good and great? The subconscious question, “What will I gain from it?” is bound to pop up in our head. In the absence of an answer, we fail to understand the question, “What is bestowal?” and then it sounds to us like something totally unreal.

The action with the intention “not for the sake of the Creator” is called impure, “ Klipa”; whereas the pure intention is “for His sake.” Everything depends solely on intention; action per se does not matter. We may devour with greatest pleasure all the delicacies offered by the host and simultaneously bestow upon him such exquisite delight he would never be able to feel without us. At the same time we realize that we make a great effort to bestow pleasure only upon him and that this is our goal. It makes no difference how much a person consumes physically (i.e., what his action is). Importance is attached only to the intention behind this action.

The action with the intention “not for the sake of the Creator” does not reach Him. He reveals Himself to a person only on one condition: that a person possesses the continuous true intention of bestowal, i.e., to the extent of mutual affinity between them. There is no doubt that the Creator always and fully understands a person, but His comprehension is one-sided. A person begins to perceive the Creator only to the extent of their similarity.

The Creator is the Upper Light that existed prior to the creation of the four stages of direct Light. While existing inside all desires of Malchut, it subjects Malchut to all transformations and brings it to the ultimate correction. In other words, the Creator forestalls all of our actions, thoughts and decisions.

I begin to understand the Creator and see why He acts within me this way to the extent of my similarity to Him in thoughts and actions. I begin to find Him within me and realize what, how and why He does. This is called the Creator’s revelation.

Only by becoming similar to the Creator can a person feel and understand Him. All of our sense organs are based on this principle. An eye perceives only what it can generate. An ear picks up only those vibrations which can be reproduced inside it behind an ear-drum. Auditory sensations appear only if inner nerves’ electrical activities correspond to outside vibrations. Everything is based on similarity, and if we somehow liken ourselves to the Creator, then we begin to feel Him.

The problem is that the Creator is concealed and we do not know how to attune ourselves to perceiving Him. To this end there is a method that states: “Attune yourself in a certain way and you will feel the Creator.” This principle is absolutely natural. It applies to the rest of our nature-given desires, sensations and sensors.

Let’s assume that my ear was not “activated” for functioning. In that case it would exist as “dead.” Why? Because the inner desire to hear would not set the entire mechanism in motion and would not receive any signals from it.

From this it follows that there must be an instruction, a book that will tell me: “This way you can attain the desire to hear.” In medical practice there are cases when a patient should namely wish to hear, attune himself as if he is just about to hear some sounds. This desire begins to come through and the person begins to hear.

In our world there is a simple law: there is no property or action to the perception of which a person would not be able to get used. To that end he should only inwardly attune himself correctly to the perception of that outside property. Hence, it is said that habit becomes second nature.

If a person gets accustomed to something, this means that he fine tunes himself to this external influence and suddenly begins to feel in it an enormous number of variations, transformations, etc. Everything depends only on the attuning the inner sense. In Baal HaSulam’s book “ Shamati” (“I Heard”) there is an article entitled “Habit Becomes Second Nature.”

The most effective way to become similar to the Creator is by taking upon oneself the duty to serve others, having as the final goal to be reunited with the Creator.

Therefore, the ultimate sensation that we are able to perceive is the sensation of the Creator. In order to achieve it, to attune ourselves to it from within, we need a sort of a tuning fork. I will be able to feel the Creator only if I attune myself correctly. Yet how can I do that?

To attune ourselves to the sensation of the Creator (who envelops us) we need an environment, a group (Heb., Kvutza). By working within it I can attune myself inwardly, and this adjustment will be absolutely adequate and correct to enable me to start feeling the Creator.

Hence, it is said: from love for the neighbour one comes to love for the Creator. The breaking of the common Kli into separate parts deliberately took place to let us develop special conditions within us to feel the Creator. What had we lacked before the breaking occurred? We could not feel Him because our own inner organ for the soul to tune was still absent. Only the soul’s point existed.

What do we achieve if we do the tuning by ourselves? By doing it independently or with the help of the group, or by using some other instrument in order to feel the external influence called the Creator, we attain understanding of His thoughts and actions.

We rise to the level where we not only feel but also attain Him and become equal to Him because within us we create a system of sensations similar to Him and based on the equivalence of properties.

This system never existed within us and it cannot be created from above from the direction of the Creator. We are obliged to create this system on our own because it exists under the level of our desire and is created by it.

“Therefore, the most effective way to become similar to the Creator is by taking upon oneself the duty to dedicate all one’s free time to serving others.” The time that is left from sleeping and bread-winning (i.e., the time which is taken away from me by nature and corrected in a natural way) is considered free.

Why did the Creator compel us to sleep, work, take care of the family, and of many other things? These are the corrections that we make at the inanimate level – even if we do nothing, think about nothing, and have no intention to aspire to the goal, Creator, and correction. Being based on the structure of the common Kli, such actions in our world correct us anyway; let alone that by participating in joint actions we develop it up to the level where our desire turns into the need to feel the Creator.

Question: What does it mean that action proves intention? Does intention already constitute action? If action is opposite to intention, does the intention change?

If we speak about our world, actions may not coincide with intentions outwardly. We see a father who is beating his son. If an onlooker sees it, he cannot understand what is going on; it is so unfair to punish such a small boy.

However, we know that when the father punishes his son, he may suffer more than the boy and is really reluctant to do that. We understand this process in which the action and the intention are totally different.

There are no actions in the spiritual world. Intention means action there. That is to say, I make a calculation in the Rosh of the Partzuf, and then realize it in my desires. I realize my calculations not by means of physical actions, but within my desire. However, both the intention prior to working with desire (only in the calculation) and the intention when I already can attach desire to it (spiritual action) divide my action into the Rosh and the Toch of the Partzuf.

However, this is in no way connected to my arms and feet in this world. A person may lie on the sofa and carry out a great number of actions. Rabbi Shimon was sitting in his cave and at the same time making such corrections in the worlds that were outwardly imperceptible. So the word “action” implies an action within desire.

Is intention sufficient or should it be within desire? It must be with desire! We see that the Rosh of the Partzuf can have the best possible intentions, but the Toch of the Partzuf is obliged to appear, to be born. Only then does this mean that the intention was correct.

Question: How can a person determine whether he has lost his mind or really started feeling something?

The fact is that quite often people who study Kabbalah feel certain quasi-spiritual phenomena. With time they disappear while giving place to others. There is a period when a person believes that he is completely corrected; it seems to him that he is right in the world of Infinity or already entered the spiritual world and nothing else exists. It all depends on how the Light affects him. There are different periods. However, all of this refers to the person who really studies Kabbalah, i.e., the Kabbalistic system of correction.

There is only one Kabbalistic system of correction. All the Kabbalistic books sort of form one line, and we select the most powerful among them. These are “The Book of Zohar,” the works of the Ari and Baal HaSulam. They in no way contradict one another. The people who enter the spiritual world see, understand, and know what happens there.

I used to read the books that were written in the 9th and 11th centuries. I started with “ Pardes Rimonim,” studied Ramak ( Rabbi Moshe Cordovero) and later the books of the Ari and the first Hassidim. Among them were “Tal Orot,” “Maor VeShemesh,” and hundreds of others. My home library contains around 2000 volumes just on Kabbalah. Together with my Teacher I studied Ramchal, Agra (Gaon from Vilna), two great Kabbalists.

However, it is not for us that they wrote their books. They wrote them for Kabbalists, for those who exist in the spiritual worlds. They described their observations clearly and precisely – for themselves. Hence, we find them so difficult to understand.

This is similar to books in our world that may be written in a simple or very complicated way. Therefore, from thousands of Kabbalists we choose only the following three: Rashbi, Ari, and Baal HaSulam.

There is no other way to enter the spiritual world. Naturally, in order to do that, you need to follow the source’s instructions: the most important thing is to be tuned to the study correctly because otherwise you will not be able to attract upon yourself the Ohr Makif. If you fail to attract the Ohr Makif, you will experience strange sensations.

If you attune yourself as a part of the group, and, along with others, wish to feel the Upper Light that would correct your egoism, then this Light will affect you. This is because now it has to influence you only in this way – through correction. Consequently, you should have the desire to be corrected; and the right desire too. You seek correction not because you are weak and aspire to be strong; you need correction with regard to the property of bestowal.

When can you really want to acquire this property? You can do that if you work in the group and clearly see that you neither can nor want to do it. As a result, you begin asking for it. In other words, group work combined with collective studies by the right materials gradually cultivate in a person the desire for correction. Only then does the Upper corrective Light affect him.

As that happens, the person sees nothing but his own imperfection and understands that he has to correct himself. He thinks that he is the only such awful person in the world. If he reaches this state, the Upper Light influences him to the extent that it corrects him completely and he starts feeling the Upper world. What does “starts feeling the Upper world” mean? The person begins to feel the property of bestowal and becomes a giver.

The Upper world has nothing to do with flights of fantasy that a person imagines in his egoism (various “nice” visions: by closing an eye he sees the future; everything he wants is right at hand!).

The Upper world is the property of bestowal and one has to know it well. Those who are not interested in that can leave. It is only bestowal and nothing else! Anyone who wants other things should know: this is not the Upper world, but something that egoism concocted. Therefore, it is not Kabbalah.

In accordance with that we can see whether a person is in the Upper world. Is he still interested in power and recognition? These are the main things that usually distinguish a person. Are bestowal and dissemination of knowledge about the Creator the most important things for him (this is quite conspicuous)? We can see it by his attitude towards others, by what the person wants.

The genuine Kabbalist is in no way against other methods. He understands that all of them were contrived by people and will have to exhaust themselves and demonstrate their powerlessness. Hence, no religions and faiths, no intricate inventions of man can cause any harm to the true Kabbalist. He sees people as small children who need to engage in all this; they are obliged to go through it. It is a game and they have to discover that this game is pointless and leads to a dead-end.

If at some point they come across the real Kabbalah, this will help them to realize that they engage in folly. However, in principle, nothing interferes with the Kabbalist’s goal to expedite humanity’s development. He will never push others to move forward. A spiritual person cannot force others because there is no coercion in spirituality. He will not try to attract people to himself or to persuade somebody. These spiritual signs are quite simple and can be observed in our world too.

If a person suppresses his spiritual inclinations, which may be developed, his fate is unenviable. To oppose the spiritual laws means to come to what took place in Russia. The spiritual law “Love thy neighbour as thyself” was distorted, perverted and detached from the Creator there. What does “detached from the Creator” mean? They separated the law from the idea of bestowal upon the Creator and, as a result, came to a total fiasco. The same will happen to the person who decides to use one of the spiritual principles for himself.

Unfortunately it is very difficult to attain the spiritual world. It takes a long time: sometimes 15 to 20 years of work is an average period that is required to enter the Upper world. This is because in this world we have to learn everything that happens. We need to do it quickly in the Creator’s Light, and not waste a dozen more lifetimes. It is no simple task to enter the spiritual world and to continue with your correction there.

A person sometimes misconceives the notion of the Upper world. He imagines a world full of miracles. There are no miracles! Spirituality means the property of bestowal. This is an enormous delight from bestowal and huge prospects that open up before a person when he really sees the entire system of governance.

Yet this is a supraegoistical property. We need to perform a great number of external and internal actions until it becomes fully formed within us. Naturally, a person tries to smooth over difficulties and to imagine the spiritual as soaring in heaven. He believes in miracles while at the same time clothing everything in material forms. Suddenly, it seems to him that he is in contact with the Upper Force….

One can trust Kabbalists or not, but if we wish to advance with the help of the Kabbalistic method, we have to have some prior faith in the fact that these people have really crossed the Machsom and exist in the spiritual world.

If I believe them and begin following their method, then I gradually acquire the sensation and understanding of the system. That is to say, everything becomes clear: how this world with its laws works as one general system, and how the entire universe forms a vast system of the world outlook. However, attainment is still based on prior conviction that this method holds the truth which I have to follow precisely.

I begin to construct and see this system notionally, and only later on, spiritually. This method is not the study of “Talmud Eser Sefirot.” It means attainment and building oneself in accordance with the Upper world. This method includes creation of a group, society, where one can study, change oneself, and attune oneself to the Upper Light.

Unless a person does that, unless he bows his head, he does not study Kabbalah. Everyone can learn the Kabbalistic wisdom and even read “The S tudy of Ten Sefirot” in Hebrew; there are many smart people.

There are people who know “The Study of Ten Sefirot” quite well, better than me. In the time of Rabash some people came to him trying to prove that they knew “The Study of Ten Sefirot” better than him. They asked him questions which he could not answer. Baal HaSulam left such questions unanswered too. “The Study of Ten Sefirot” does not describe the entire system of the Upper worlds’ governance because we do not need it.

These books indicate the basic parameters, points that can help us to attract the Ohr Makif. The person who enters into the spiritual world can unmistakably advance from one place to another while complementing that which is written there and filling with the Light the Kli that he finds there.

A group is indispensable: it is the mini- Kli which we need to correct because we exist in this world only with this purpose – to correct and join our souls. He who does not set this as his goal has nothing to do with Kabbalah. In that case we do not say that the person is confused. He is simply outside of the system.

There are many people who do not accept the necessity of group work. However, this is the only laboratory in which the person can change himself.

A scientist attains this world by means of external instruments (accelerators, microscopes, telescopes and many other inventions, on which people spend billions of dollars). He needs them to feel, understand, know, and attain this world. In the same way, we also need an instrument, but this instrument is within us.

The problem is that our natural sense organs are insufficient for the attainment of the entire universe. We need an additional sense. Kabbalists do not receive this sense from birth. They too have to create this organ-instrument for the attainment of the Upper world and to that end they need a laboratory called a group.

Without it there is no point to talk about Kabbalah. The leader stays outside of this group and only helps and shows where this or that is written in the Kabbalistic books and explains what to do. He teaches the method that we received from avowed Kabbalists. That is all a Teacher should do.

What does a school teacher do when he enters a classroom? He tells his pupils about Newton’s and Einstein’s discoveries, etc. He introduces them to what these great scientists revealed, no more. The group leader has to do the same even if he is a great Kabbalist (the second Rabbi Shimon). With regard to the group he should stand apart and only show them the method.

He has no right to rule over the group; he can only recommend them what to do. They are obliged to implement his recommendations and to correct their Kelim in the connection among them. The Teacher can only guide them and should in no way focus their attention on himself.

The actions concerning the relationship between people are dictated by human conscience which binds a person to act in a certain way. However, acting from this reason does not bring any correction. In other words, actions of conscience do not bring a person nearer to the Creator. Therefore, a person always has to keep in mind that anything he does has the single purpose: to please the Creator in order to be similar to Him, which amounts to equivalent, unselfish bestowal. Such a comprehension, in combination with good deeds, will draw a person nearer to the Creator so that his attributes might be similar to the spiritual (man being an imprint of the Creator). Then a person will be ready to receive sublime abundance.

A thought in the commandment of “Love thy neighbor as thyself” is more essential than the person’s relationship with the Creator. Speech means the appeal to the Upper Force for correction, and for the alteration of the intention from “for the sake of one’s self” to “for the sake of others” during any actions, but especially while studying Kabbalah.

In other words, a thought and speech are man’s inner actions. This does not mean that he thinks with his head and utters words with his tongue. Two levels of appeal to the Creator are meant.

Question: How is a thought distinguished from a speech?

A thought is what we call the Rosh of the Partzuf and speech is called the Toch of the Partzuf. Let’s accept it in this way so far.

Two Types of Giving Pleasure to the Creator

Conscious: because humanity should not hope that one day it will be able to achieve similarity to the Creator instantly – without the preliminary extended efforts while the Creator is still concealed, and without the collective work in a group to receive the intention “for the Creator.” A person will never be born with the additional sixth sense – the altruistic screen. Now, as in the past and future, anyone wanting to achieve the connection with the Creator will have to begin his efforts from the initial egoistic intention, and then only after the fulfillment of all the commandments will he become similar to the Creator in his intention. The approach to this condition is not limited in time, but depends rather on the readiness of an individual and his power over his heart.

Our world will continue existing as it existed hundreds of thousands and even millions of years ago. Nothing will change until the need to attain similarity to the Creator appears from within us as a result of our independent efforts.

Hence, many people have fallen and will fall doing it (various methods) “for themselves” ; they will die before gaining the wisdom (those who try to attain the Creator). At the same time, their reward is great, and the human mind cannot place a value on the significance of the pleasure that they bestow upon the Creator.

It speaks even about those who do not study to their full capacity and do not reach the Final Correction. They are in the state of confusion, but they study in a group according to the correct method. Although such people do not attain the Goal, they make great corrections within them and complement next time.

Those who reject this instruction, i.e., who do not follow precisely Kabbalists’ directions, simply do not study Kabbalah and forsake this path. Therefore, their work is utterly useless. Furthermore, it leads them to such deadlocks from which it is very difficult to get out. Besides taking a person’s time, immersion in other methods creates in him (by means of various habits) such additional limitations on the adoption of the Kabbalistic method that during this lifetime he cannot do anything. The person is obliged to die, be reborn, and return with a completely new Kli. This happens quite often and, if it is possible, we prevent such occurrences.

Subconscious – even a beginner who fulfills any act with some intention, though he is not ready yet to act otherwise, also gives pleasure to the Creator.

Here we speak about a beginner, i.e., the person who keeps trying subconsciously. He comes to the group and joins as a small child among adults. In that case, all of his actions please the Creator, although they are unconscious, unfocused, and do not stem from the prior intention.

Question: What are the criteria of correct spiritual work?

In his article “Freedom of Will” Baal HaSulam describes the work which a person has to do in order to achieve good results. It is necessary to form a group of people who aspire to the same spiritual goal, support one another in this, and understand that without such support and common desire they will not attain this goal.

At the foot of Mount Sinai the nation received the instruction: until they take upon themselves the condition “As one man with one heart” and unite, they will not receive the Torah. Instead endless suffering will befall them. Mount Sinai (“ Sina” means hatred) will collapse upon them. They will continue suffering until they forcibly return to the acceptance of the same law “Love thy neighbour as thyself,” the law of a mutual guarantee ( Arvut). This is the condition for reception of the Upper Light. Unless such a state is present in the group, it will not receive the Light.

Question: If we regard a group as a laboratory where we perform various actions with regard to one another to check our intention, can we check it without performing physical actions?

Can we check a person’s intention in any other way than by means of physical actions? It would be bad at all if we could invent a device for measuring man’s intention. Such a device does not exist in our world. That is why we demand from every group member physical actions directed to others. Moreover, we need not know another’s intention. Intentions are intentionally concealed from us. Otherwise, this would harm us. We have to perceive a person in accordance with his external actions. Eventually, these external actions will demonstrate his intention.

In our world much is concealed from us. I do not know about other people’s intentions. I have no idea of what happens behind my back. There are many things I know nothing about. This was deliberately done to man in order to give him the opportunity for correction.

There are agencies that engage in shadowing people. Imagine that I am such a person and that I eavesdrop on all of you. As a result, I harm myself terribly. By so doing, I withdraw myself from the Creator’s system. He intentionally made me a semi-hearing and semi-seeing creature. Besides, I cause enormous damage to the entire society. That is what we see in Russia.

Unless something is revealed to a person in a natural way, he has no right to interfere with what is concealed from him. “In a natural way” means by correcting one’s properties through the Creator. To the extent of your similarity to the Creator, you will reveal other people’s thoughts because your attitude towards them will be the same as His. You will not harm them with your egoism. First, you need to correct yourself, and only to the extent of your own correction do you receive the right to know the intentions and thoughts of others.

Therefore, it is wrong to wish to know other people’s intentions and thoughts. In our group we should demand from its members only external actions. Everyone is obliged to express his admiration, enthusiasm, strength and readiness to support others. And it is better not to know what everyone holds within. We know that there is nothing good anyway. This is not important to us; we judge no one because we know who we are.

Question: Can I check my intention without performing a physical action? And in general, why is it so difficult to check an intention?

A person is unable to check his intention. This is concealed from him. He can see his true intention only to the extent of his similarity to the Creator. He will then understand that previously he also thought about the Creator and bestowed upon Him. He will discover that everyone in the world is righteous and the entire world is completely corrected.

From above you will be given Light to the extent of your need for correction. In this Light you will feel that your intentions are opposite to the Creator and to the Light. You should not think about it or look for anything negative. You have to aspire to the Creator all the time, long for unity, spirituality. Where necessary, you will be revealing what makes you so opposite to the Light in order to make this opposition the cause of your suffering and enable you to find the points that require correction. You should not look for imperfections.

Only in the Light will you be able to see the imperfections that need to be corrected. It will seem to you that the entire world is correcting itself: this is exactly what we should achieve, and everything will be all right. Outside of the Light you will see totally different things. Hence, our aspiration should be directed not to correction, but to the Creator. As a result, you will clearly see what requires correction. This is our principle: only the Creator’s greatness. Our eyes are fixed only on Him, and the rest will be revealed in the right proportion.

Question: We say that the realization of evil enables us to acquire the property of bestowal. Does the matter concern the last state of the realization of evil (the last drop of it) or will the general picture of the realization of evil reveal itself?

The last drop is meant. In other words, this process is cumulative. This is the last drop, when a person really severs his connection with egoism, when he is ready to jump into the sea and cross it (does not matter how), just to break away from this haunting egoism. This is a very acute state; it can be fleeting, but it is very special and clear. Ultimately we attain in increasingly deeper, inner, clearer states how anti-spiritual we are. This resembles physics: the deeper we penetrate into atom, the more we discover.

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