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Merging with the Creator

Kabbalah is called “the science of the hidden” because it reveals to the one who learns it that which was previously hidden. The true picture of existence is revealed only to the one who apprehends it, as is written in the poem by Rabbi Ashlag:

The miracle truth will radiate,

And the mouth will only utter that truth,

And all that will be revealed in confidence

You will see, but no other!

Kabbalah is the teaching of that which is secret, since it is hidden from the average reader and becomes revealed only under very special conditions. Those who study it will find these secrets gradually become clearer from the teachings themselves, along with special guidance to direct the reader’s desires and thoughts.

Only the one for whom Kabbalah ceases to be hidden teaching and becomes revealed can see and understand the construction of the world and the so-called “soul” and “body” can only be seen and understood by those for whom Kabbalah ceases to be a hidden teaching, and becomes revealed. Yet, even they are unable to transmit their perceived views of creation to anyone else, having no right to pass on this information, with one exception: During one’s gradual spiritual ascent, one learns the truth of creation: There is nothing except the Creator!

The sensory organs we were created with are able to perceive only a small part of the entire creation, known as “our world.” All the mechanisms we have invented widen the range of our sensory organs. We are unable to imagine which sensory organs we lack because we do not feel any deprivation from their absence.

This can be compared with not feeling the need for a sixth finger on one’s hand. Since we don’t have the senses required to perceive other worlds, we cannot sense them. Therefore, despite our being surrounded by such a rich environment, we are able to see only a small fragment of it. In addition, even the fragment we perceive is quite distorted, since we can only grasp a small portion of it.

However, using what we perceive as a foundation, we create our views of the whole of existence. Like those who see only in x-ray mode, where all is perceived as a skeletal picture obstructing the x-rays, we, too, have a distorted view of the universe. Just as we cannot receive a true picture of this universe according to x-ray vision, neither can we fathom the true picture of creation through our limited senses.

No amount of imagination can compensate for our lack of ability to perceive, since even our fantasies are built on past experiences. Despite all this, let us try to create a simple concept of the so-called “other world,” which exists on the other side of our conception, the one beyond the range of our sensory organs.

First, imagine that you are in a vacuum. Before you stretches a road. Along the road at certain intervals are markings from zero, where you stand now, to the end. These markings divide the road into three parts.

We do not move along the road by the alternate advancement of our feet, but by alternate changes in desires.

In the spiritual world, place, space or motion do not exist as we understand them. The spiritual world is the world of emotions that exist outside the realm of physical bodies.

Objects are emotions. Motion is the change of qualities. Place is a certain quality. Place in the spiritual world is defined by its characteristics.Therefore, “motion” is defined as “the change of one’s emotions, similar to the concept of spiritual motion in our world, the movement of emotions, but not physical movement.

Thus, the path we are trying to understand is the gradual alteration of our inner qualities, our desires.

The distance between spiritual objects is defined and measured by the difference in their qualities. The more similar the qualities are, the closer the objects are considered to be. The closeness or distance of objects is defined by the relative change in their properties. If two objects are identical, then they will merge into one. However, if a new quality appears in one of the spiritual objects, that particular quality separates from the first one, and in this manner a new spiritual object is born.

At the end of the path before us is the Creator Himself. His attribute – the complete Will to bestow – determines His distance from us. Since we are born into this world with only egoistic characteristics, we are as distanced from the Creator as east is from west. And the goal the Creator places before us is to attain His qualities while living in this world, that is, to spiritually merge with Him.

Our path is to lead us to a gradual alteration of our qualities until they are exactly like those of the Creator. The only quality of the Creator that defines His essence is the complete absence of any trace of egoism.

This is followed by the lack of any thought about oneself, or one’s condition and power – a lack of all that comprises the essence of our thoughts and our aspirations. But since we exist in this world in a specific outer covering, we must care for the bare essentials to maintain this casing. This is not considered to be a sign of egoism.

In general, we can determine whether a thought or a desire of the body is egoistic by a simple test: If we want to be free from a thought, but our survival depends on it, then such a thought or action is considered to be involuntary, not egoistic, and thus does not separate us from the Creator. The Creator advances us towards our goal in the following manner: He endows us with a "bad" desire or with suffering, which can be compared to moving forward with the left foot.

If we find within us the strength to ask the Creator for help, then the Creator will give us a "good" desire or pleasure, which can be compared to the forward movement with the right foot. Once again, we receive from Above an even stronger bad desire or doubts about the Creator, and once again, with an even greater effort of the will, we must ask Him to help us.

The Creator will help by giving us an even greater good desire, and so on.

In such a manner, we move forward. There is no backward motion. The purer the desires, the farther a person is from the initial point of absolute egoism. The motion forward can be described in many ways, but it is always an alternating advancement through all the feelings.

After a feeling of something spiritual, a subconscious sensing of the existence of the Creator, it is followed by a feeling of trust, which then brings about a feeling of joy. Afterwards, this feeling begins to fade away, indicating that we rose to another step of spiritual ascension, which we cannot perceive because of our lack of sensory organs with which we could fully experience it. Since we have not yet achieved the next level through suffering, toil and work (have not built the appropriate vessels), the perception of the next level has not yet been born.

The new sensory organs for the next stage (the desire for pleasure, and the feeling of suffering due to the lack of this pleasure) can be developed in two ways:

1. The Way of Kabbalah: Here, we begin to perceive the Creator, then lose our connection. In its place appears suffering because we cannot feel pleasure.

The suffering is necessary in order for us to eventually feel pleasure.

In such a manner, then, are born new sensory organs to allow us to perceive the Creator at each consecutive stage. As in our world, without a desire for a goal or object, we are not able to experience pleasure from it .

The differences between people, and between man and animal, are determined by what they choose to bring them pleasure. Therefore, spiritual advancement is not possible without first feeling a lack. We must suffer from the lack of what we desire.

2. The Way of Suffering: If one were unable through effort, studies, appeals to the Creator, and entreaties of friends to elevate oneself to new desires to love and fear the Creator; if one displayed shallowness of thought, disrespect for the spiritual, and a pull towards base pleasures, then that person would descend to the level of evil powers.

In this case, the person would step along the left lane in the corresponding levels of the evil (egoistic) worlds ABYA(Azilut, Beria, Yetzira, Assiya). However, the suffering would become a vessel into which a new perception of the Creator can be received.

Progress made through the way of Kabbalah differs from the way of suffering, in that we are given the Light of the Creator. This is a feeling of the Creator’s presence, which is then taken from us.

When we lack this pleasure, we begin to long for the Light. This longing is the vessel, or new set of sensory organs, through which we can try to receive a perception of the Creator. These goals pull us forward until we receive the desired perceptions.

When we advance by means of suffering, we are pushed from behind by the suffering, unlike the path of Kabbalah, where we advance by way of the desire for pleasure. The Creator directs us in accordance with His plan – to bring us, to transfer each and every one of us and all of mankind, in this life or in coming lives, to the final point of this path at which He is found.

This path represents steps we will take to draw closer to Him as we take on more of His characteristics. Only by merging our qualities with those of the Creator will we gain a true perception of the creation of the world and see that nothing else exists but the Creator.

All the worlds and their inhabitants, all that we feel around us, as well as we ourselves. comprise only a part of Him. More precisely, we are Him. All of our thoughts and actions are determined by our desires. The intellect only serves to help us achieve that which we desire.

When we receive our desires, they are bestowed upon us from Above, and only the Creator Himself can change them.

The Creator did this intentionally in order for us to understand that everything that happened to us in the past, present, and future in every area of life is absolutely dependent upon Him. Our situations can only improve if He so wishes, since only He is the cause of what happened, happens and will happen.

This is necessary in order for us to recognize and feel the need for a connection with Him. We can trace this process from the original lack of desire to recognize Him at the beginning of the path, until the end of the path, when we have become fully attached to Him.

If someone suddenly experiences a desire to come closer to the Creator, a desire and pull towards the spiritual, then this is the result of the Creator drawing that person closer to Him by instilling these feelings in the individual. In a reversed situation, we see that by "falling" in one’s aspirations, or even in one’s material, social or other status, through failures and deprivations, we gradually begin to understand that this is done intentionally by the Creator.

In this way, the individual can feel dependent on the Source of all that occurs, creating an understanding that "only the Creator can help, otherwise one will perish." The Creator does this purposely to arouse in us a firm need for Him, so we will encourage Him to change our spiritual state. In this way, we crave more closeness with Him, and He can, in accordance with our wishes, bring us closer to Him.

From this, we see that the Creator helps save us from (a spiritual) sleep or a situation where we are content with our present state. In order for us to progress to the goal specified by the Creator, He sends us suffering and failure, both physical and spiritual, through our surroundings, family, friends, colleagues and acquaintances.

We have been created so that we perceive that anything pleasant is a result of our drawing close to Him. We also feel the opposite: that everything unpleasant is caused by our being distanced from Him. For this reason, our world is constructed in such a way that we depend on health, family, and the love and respect of those surrounding us.

For the Creator, all these serve as messengers, so that He can exert negative influences that would force us to search for solutions to these pressures, finally recognizing that all the world depends only on the Creator. Then, with sufficient strength and patience, we can become worthy to associate all that happens in life with the desire of the Creator, rather than with some other cause, or even with our own actions and thoughts in the past. In time, it will be clear that only the Creator is the cause of all that happens.

The path presented above is the way for each of us, as well as of humanity in general. Starting from the initial point at which we find ourselves in accordance with our present desires (”our world”) until the final destination to which we must arrive even against our will (“the world to come”), our path is divided into four stages or states:

1. Absolute lack of perception (the absolute concealment) of the Creator.

The consequences of this state are: absence of belief in the Creator and in Divine Supervision from Above; belief in one’s own power, in the power of nature, of circumstances; and of chance.

All of humanity is at this stage (at this spiritual level). When we are at this stage, our lives become a process of accumulating experiences in our souls through various sufferings sent to us.

The soul accumulates experiences through repeated returns of the same soul into this world in different bodies.

Once the soul acquires a sufficient amount of experience, the person is able to perceive the first spiritual level.

2. Unclear perception of the Creator.

The consequences of this state are a belief in punishment and reward, and a belief that suffering is a result of distance from the Creator. Pleasure is seen as the result of closeness to the Creator.

Under the influence of these great hardships, we might return to a previous stage. However, as we accumulate experience, unaware of this process, we continue to learn until we realize that only our complete awareness of the Creator’s management will give us strength to progress.

In these two situations, we have the ability to believe in the Upper Supervision. If we attempt, despite all the disturbances sent from Above, to strengthen our faith and work to perceive the Creator’s Management in His world, then after a specific number and intensity of efforts, the Creator will help us by revealing both Himself and the picture of existence.

3. Partial revelation of His Management in the world.

Here, we are able to see the reward for good actions and the punishment for bad deeds. Therefore, we are incapable of doing other than good and refraining from bad, just as each one of us is unable to refrain from doing good or harming ourselves.

However, this stage of spiritual development is not the final one, since at this stage all our actions are involuntary, as a result of our awareness of reward and punishment. Thus, there is one more stage of spiritual development – gaining the perception that all that is done by the Creator is done with absolute and eternal love for His created beings.

4. The revelation of the complete picture of the Creator’s Management of the world.

This offers a clear perception that the management of the world by the Creator is based not on reward and punishment for a person’s deeds, but is instead based on His unbounded love for His creations. We attain this stage of spiritual development

when we see clearly that in all circumstances, with all the creations in general and with each in particular, without judging whether their actions are good or bad, the Creator always manages and supervises them only with absolute and unbounded love.

When we sense this Upper Spiritual Level, we already perceive everyone’s future state. We can perceive the situation of those who have not yet reached this state, along with those in the past and in the present who have already reached it; we also apprehend the knowledge to experience the same stage, both as individuals and as a whole.

This apprehension is a result of the Creator revealing the entire design of creation and His relation to every soul in every generation, for the entire duration of the existence of all the worlds. These worlds were created for a single purpose – to give pleasure to His created beings. It is the sole purpose that determines all the actions of the Creator towards His created beings.

This continues from the beginning to the end of creation, so that all of them together, and each one separately, may experience an unbounded pleasure from their attachment to Him. As a result, when we can clearly see that the Creator’s actions are only to do good and benefit His created beings, there becomes formed within us the deeds of the Creator towards His creations.

We are consequently imbued with a feeling of boundless love for the Creator, and as a result of similarity of feelings, the Creator and the person merge into one entity. Since that stage represents the end goal of creation, the first three stages comprise preliminary steps necessary to attain the fourth one.

All the desires of an individual are as if lodged in the heart, because they are felt there in a physiological form. Therefore, our hearts are considered representative of all of the desires of the body, and of our essence. The changes in one’s heart’s desires reveal the changes in one’s personality.

From our birth, that is, from the time we appeared in this world, our hearts are occupied only with worries of the body; and only the desires of the body concern it. The heart is filled only with the desires of the body, and from them it lives.

But deep inside the heart, in the depth of all the desires, is a point that is hidden behind all the petty and temporary desires and is not perceived by us. It is the need for spiritual sensation. This point is a part of the Creator Himself.

If we consciously, through the power of our efforts to overcome and leap over the indifference and laziness of the body, seek in Kabbalah the ways to draw closer to the Creator, this point gradually becomes filled with pure and good desires. Thus, we gain the perception of the Creator on the first spiritual level, the level of the world Assiya.

Then, passing in his perceptions all the stages of the world Assiya, we can begin to perceive the Creator on the level of the world Yetzira, and so on, until we reach the highest level – the perception of the Creator on the level of the world Atzilut.

Every time, we experience all our perceptions in the same inner point of our hearts. In the past, when our hearts were under the influence of the desires of the body, so the inner point in the heart received absolutely no perception of the Creator. We could only think about the desires that the body forced us to think about, and desire only that which the body forced us to desire.

Now, if we fill our hearts with pure and altruistic desires through prayers and requests and demands to the Creator for our spiritual redemption, we will begin to perceive the Creator. Then, we will be capable of thinking only about Him, since there have been born in us thoughts and desires related to that spiritual level.

Consequently, we always desire only that which we are forced to desire by the spiritual influence that we receive, in accordance with the stage at which we find ourselves.

Given the above, it becomes clear that we should not strive to alter our own thoughts, but must ask the Creator to alter them, since all our desires and thoughts are merely consequences of what we receive, or more exactly, of the degree to which we perceive the Creator.

In regard to the entire creation, it is evident that all derives from the Creator, but the Creator created us with a certain degree of freedom of will. The ability to direct our desires appears only in those who reach the stages of ABYA. The higher we ascend spiritually, the higher our degree of freedom.

For the sake of clarification, we can compare the process of our spiritual development with the development of the material nature of our world. All of nature and the universe represent but a single desire for self-gratification. This exists in each individual to a varying degree, and as this desire increases, more advanced beings come into our world, because the desire induces the mind to work and develop the intellect for the satisfaction of one’s needs.

Our thoughts are always a result of our desires. They follow after them and are directed only towards the attainment of these desires, and nothing else. Along with this, thoughts possess a special role – with their help, we can increase our desires.

If we constantly deepen and expand our thoughts about something, and strive to constantly return to this thought, gradually this desire will begin to increase with respect to the other desires. In this way, we can alter the correlation of our desires. With constant thoughts about a small desire, we can increase it into such a large desire, it will overshadow all the other desires and determine our essence.

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