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Perception of Reality Correctly

Many terms are used to describe “understanding.” For Kabbalists, the deepest level of understanding is called “attainment.” Since they are studying the spiritual worlds, their goal is to reach “spiritual attainment.” Attainment refers to such profound and thorough understanding and perception, no questions remain unanswered. Kabbalists write that at the end of humanity’s evolution, we will all attain the Creator in a state called “Equivalence of Form.”

To reach that goal, Kabbalists carefully defined which parts of reality we should study, and which we shouldn’t. To determine these two paths, Kabbalists followed a very simple principle: If what we study helps us learn more quickly and more accurately, we should study it. If it doesn’t, we should ignore it.

Therefore, Kabbalists in general, and The Book of Zohar in particular, caution us to study only what we can perceive with absolute certainty. Wherever guesswork is involved, we shouldn’t waste our time, as our attainment would be questionable.

Kabbalists also say that of the four categories of perception—Matter, Form in Matter, Abstract Form, and Essence—we can perceive only the first two with certainty. Thus, everything The Zohar writes about is desires (Matter) and how we use them: for ourselves or for the Creator (Form in Matter).

Kabbalist Yehuda Ashlag writes that, “If the reader does not know how to be prudent with the boundaries, and takes matters out of context, he or she will immediately be confused.” This can happen if we don’t limit our study to Matter and Form in Matter.

There is no such thing as a “prohibition” in spirituality. When Kabbalists declare something as “forbidden,” it means that it is unattainable, imperceptible. When they say that we are forbidden to study Abstract Form and Essence, it doesn’t mean that we’ll be struck by lighting if we do; it means that we can’t hope to achieve clear perception of them, even if we really want to.

Ashlag uses electricity to explain why the Essence is imperceptible. He says that we can use electricity in many different ways, such as heating, cooling, playing music, and watching videos. Electricity can be dressed in many Forms; but can we express the Essence of electricity itself?

Let’s use another example to explain the four categories—Matter, Form in Matter, Abstract Form, and Essence. When we say that a certain person is strong, we are actually referring to that person’s Matter—body—and the Form that clothes his or her Matter—strength.

If we remove the Form of strength from the Matter (the person’s body), and examine the Form of strength separately, undressed in Matter, we would be examining the Abstract Form of strength.

The fourth category, the Essence of the person in itself, is completely unattainable. We simply have no senses that can “study” the Essence and portray it in a perceptible manner. In consequence, the Essence is not only something we don’t know right now; we will never know it.


The Confusion Trap

Why should we focus on only the first two categories? The problem is that when dealing with spirituality, we don’t know when we are confused. Therefore, we might well continue in the wrong direction and drift farther away from the truth.

In the material world, if I know what I want, I can see if I’m getting it or not, or at least if I’m on the right track toward getting it. Unfortunately, this is not the case with spirituality. In that arena, when I am wrong, I am not only denied what I wanted, but I even lose my present spiritual degree. The Light will dim and I will be unable to redirect myself correctly without help from a guide. This is why it is so important to understand the three boundaries and follow them.


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