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Ask the Kabbalist (August 14, 2008)

TV Program, Israel

Moderator: Today I would like to talk about control. I've thought about it a lot. There are many aspects to the term control, and we’ll talk about it from different perspectives. But let's start from what is the most interesting, the most personal place that is closest to a person. Could you tell me, as a Kabbalist who looks at things from Above, why does a person feel that it’s so important to control what happens to him in life?

Michael Laitman: Because he doesn’t feel that there is anyone else in control besides him, and there are external forces that can do with him whatever they wish. His desire is opposed to them and therefore, he feels afraid and wants to protect himself. In other words, he needs to be in control of all the other forces and perhaps the inner forces; his urges for different things. He also has to learn how restrain his urges.

So without criticism and control over what happens to him, and over what’s coming to him from within or from the surroundings, a person feels unprotected. So, his will to receive, our preliminary nature, wants to be in control of every state.

Moderator: Why weren’t we built differently, in a way that we can flow with life? Why do we have to steer the wheel? Why do we feel that we want to control our life? Why not just go with the flow? Why are we built this way?

M. Laitman: Because we are built of a will to receive; meaning we want to enjoy. And we are afraid that in the next moment we will suffer instead of enjoy. This is where all these desires to control each and every state come to us, to avoid suffering.

Moderator: So, if I want to reach a state where I control everything that happens to me in life, all kinds of conditions from within and without, the chain of things you spoke about, if I want to reach a state where I control my life, what should I do?

M. Laitman: Control the desire, my desire, that's all. But I know that I can’t control my desires. The more a person advances the more he actually sees that he is weaker and prone to all kinds of urges and external and internal conditions. He then has a problem. Look at all the world today; we are evolving into such a state where we don’t know what to do next. We’ve built such a refined system of relations between people and societies and it has gotten out of control. We don't know what will happen tomorrow.

It’s like a machine that is now rising, and this is something everyone fears. People even talk about a “third world war.” It’s as if there is nothing that can be done about it. I can’t control myself and I can’t control my family. One starts feeling that he can’t control anything, but that’s good because in that, we finally start looking at ourselves in a true way. We are in the hands of our nature and that nature doesn’t take into account what we feel or what we want, it rather controls us.

Our nature is our ego; our desire to enjoy.That desire manipulates us, turns us and plays with us the way it likes. What do you do?

Moderator: Wait a minute. How did we arrive to talk about the global scale from a will to enjoy, which is our nature? You are saying that our nature is the will to enjoy. That sounds positive, but it seems that the entire world is falling apart in our hands, and we cannot control anything…

M. Laitman: It’s not positive. It pushes me to things that are not positive.

Moderator: Not positive? I want to enjoy what’s wrong with that?

M. Laitman: Yes, but if you don’t find a source of pleasure, then you start going crazy. And without it you are in despair, not knowing where to find it. You search in drugs, etc. and terrorism starts. People search for something with which to be fulfilled. The will to receive, the will to enjoy manipulates you in different ways. You may enjoy for a moment, but later you suffer.

This force controls and dominates us. And only from the side can we see how it controls us and we can’t control it.

Moderator: A ruler is someone that makes you do something that he wants. If our ruler is the will to enjoy, what’s wrong with that? If it’s the ruler, and its direction is pleasure, and it rules us in order for us to enjoy, isn’t the direction positive?

M. Laitman: Yes, but it’s built in such a way, that it must bring us to a state where we see that we cannot enjoy this desire no matter how much we want to enjoy. If I fulfill that desire, the pleasure disappears, because the pleasure neutralizes the desire. Then I remain empty and I have a new desire and then I chase after its pleasure again, and then I am filled for one moment again and then I feel empty once more. I have to chase that momentary fleeting pleasure my whole life and this chase doesn’t stop until I get tired and die. That’s our life.

And on top of all that, there is the media, the environment and the commercials that bring me all kinds of imaginary sources of pleasure. And I chase after all that trying to fulfill myself without any consequences. I enjoy very few things and just for a few moments. A moment after I feel pleasure, I remain empty. So, like you say, if I really go from one pleasure to another, like the will to enjoy pushes me to, it is good, because I finally realize that this chase just leaves me empty.

Moderator: So is this ruler kind of sneaky? It says, “I rule you and I bring you to enjoyment, to a good place.”

M. Laitman: Yes, so that you will learn that it will only make you feel emptier. It is as if it wants my own good, but it’s actually my greatest enemy. It forces me to work and the moment I get the reward, the payment for my work, it takes it away from me. For a moment, I feel that I’ve got something, and then it gradually disappears, until I am empty.

So it turns out that I am constantly pushed to look for pleasure. I find it and then it disappears, I find it and then it disappears again, and I feel even emptier. Then I start asking, what is the benefit of life? What is the benefit of this chase? What should I do? And this is how it happens with the individual and with the whole of humanity. We see more depression, drugs, terrorism and disintegration everywhere. It brings us to the general question: what is the foundation of life, what is the point in life, what is this process?

Moderator: I greatly identify with the question of what is the use of the entire chase. I can say about myself, that at a very young age, even before I started the big chases in life, at the age of twenty something, I first looked forward and said, “I don’t want to go through it all.” I think many people identify with this. But my question is: what is the benefit of all those chases? What is the connection between this and that ruler who is very clever and cunning?

M. Laitman: It wants to show us that it’s an evil ruler, so we’ll hate it, and we’ll hate our nature. And eventually, it wants to teach us that we must exit it, transcend it. It is very cunning, very wise and it has a very important role, to teach us what it really is, and that there is probably, a way of existence that is different: to not chase after the pleasure which disappears over and over again, not to chase after pleasures at all.

Moderator: So, we shouldn't enjoy life?

M. Laitman: No, to enjoy it differently. Not to look for these pleasures outside of me, but to discover the pleasure that is within me, where it actually is. If I think that the pleasure is outside me, then I constantly run after it.

Moderator: Where is it within me?

M. Laitman: Where? This is the problem. If I think that there is something good outside, then I run outwardly. If I understand that there is nothing good outside and that every time I chase something outside of myself, I remain empty and even emptier than I was before, and that this directs me from within, I regret it and start thinking that there is probably a different method to be fulfilled. I see that it results from having everything within.

I don’t need anything from the outside. I have to find a source of pleasure inside, one that is infinite and unlimited. It is within me, it fulfills me as well, but I have to discover it from within. Then my relation to the outside is that I don’t lack anything. On the contrary, I can share with others, ‘take from me, from what I have.’ I want to relate to all the others in giving and in love. When I start to relate to the externality this way, to the whole world, I start discovering that I have an unlimited spring within me and I have everything.

And then I want to give from within the whole time. All of a sudden, I feel an inner force which can be called the Upper Force, it doesn’t matter. I can take from it and give, take and give in my feeling, in my mind, in my understanding; I suddenly feel that I want to relate to the world, not in order to receive from it, but to give to it. All of a sudden I know I have what to give in my feeling, in my understanding, in my mind and in control as well, in everything.

Moderator: What do you mean ‘in control’?

M. Laitman: Because I don't worry about myself here. I have Infinity. I have this spring and there is nothing that I lack. Then I reach a state where precisely, in my relation to others, I absolutely exit myself and seek to connect with the whole reality. To the extent that I want to connect with the whole reality this way, I start to discover an infinite force within me, an infinite mind, a special plan, so that this ego, the will to receive starts working differently. Now it works oppositely.

Moderator: The same ruler that previously ruled me and forced me to chase pleasures in the whole world?

M. Laitman: Yes, before it pushed me to chase pleasure outside myself. Now, it helps me to find something inside me. It's the same ruler only in an opposite way; it still controls me, but in an opposite way.

It was an evil ruler before, because it pushed me to look for everything outside. Now, on the contrary, it helps me go outside in order to connect with others. And to the extent that I connect with others, I discover that spring within me.

Moderator: The state that you are describing is called taking control over my life?

M. Laitman: By that, of course I take control over my life, because that spring is mine. It’s infinite. It’s my inner connection with the Creator that I start discovering inside me. It’s there to the extent that I connect with the whole world, being the giver like that Force, the Creator that wants me to be His messenger and to give, to be like a connector, a transmitter of the Upper Light, the joy, the happiness, the warmth, the love and the giving from Him to all the others. When I approach the whole external world this way, I discover that this Upper Force works within me. And what existed before, the evil egoistic nature, was just its opposite. It worked in an opposite way and now it works in the right way, in the way of giving.

Moderator: This new force, the Creator that now controls me and operates me oppositely, sounds just like you changed one control for another and that you are again controlled. If before it was an evil king, now it’s a great King but where is the “I”?

M. Laitman: I decide. I have free choice every time, whether to go outwardly or not, to connect with others or not, and to what extent, because the ego doesn’t disappear completely. I don’t exchange one for the other completely. I am in between these two forces. As much as I overcome and give to others, to that extent I open and discover the Creator within. It turns out that I am always in between the good ruler and bad ruler and I decide every moment to what extent each one will take its place. A struggle between two forces and I am in the middle, but it turns out that I control both of them. I decide which of them will control me and to what extent.

Moderator: It sounds very interesting, but let’s land on the Earth's surface again and let’s talk about this topic of control from a different perspective. So far, we said that one wants to control his life and he discovers that there is an evil ruler and there is a good ruler. And now he controls both of them. I want to go back to relations between people. I want to talk about this term of controlling others. Why do we want to control others?

M. Laitman: Jealousy, pride, honor and also the attainment of happiness, all the fulfillments that we have are fulfillments that come from our surroundings. This is how we are built. This is what we feel. I become fulfilled by the environment. I have to be sure that I’ll exist, I want to be sure and confident that in the future the environment will help me by being greater than others, by controlling others, and that I will get whatever I need from the others.

Moderator: Look, to be comfortable in the future is to know that I have schnitzels in the fridge for my children and to have a few bucks for a rainy day. What does it have to do with controlling others, with ruling others?

M. Laitman: Because besides the beastly desire that I have to ensure my beastly existence and my children’s, I also want to fulfill my greater desires and not just to exist. Control, honor, and respect, to be famous, to be known, so people will know about me, will appreciate me, that my opinion will rule others are things that I can’t live without.

Moderator: Why were we created this way?

M. Laitman: Again, these are different manners of our ego that are meant to bring us to a state where we can’t fulfill it in any way. Why? Because when we start working not with our ego, egoistically, but in the form of bestowal, the more we go outside in order to discover the Upper Force, the Creator from within, the more the inclinations of control, respect, honor, domination, etc. become opposite. By them, I acquire the exit from myself.

Moderator: How by my desire to control others and to rule others, do I attain something different? What’s good in it?

M. Laitman: By this I start feeling others before I feel myself. In the beginning it is egoistic. How can I use someone, how can I exploit him, how can I really make him subjugated and subordinated to me?

This is how I relate to the whole world, to each and everyone.

Moderator: Do you really see that? As a Kabbalist, when you see people, do you see that this is what operates them?

M. Laitman: Everyone checks his environment this way without any exceptions, in a way that we are unconscious of. This is how we weigh and measure things: how much do I control others, how much do I subordinate others. It always works within us this way, automatically, constantly. And what’s good about it? When I am used to relating to the others, to the world and to life this way, it helps me connect with others. Then, when I want to go outside of myself, it helps me relate to others with love and giving, because I start feeling them.

I then start using the same channels of communication that I built in my ego, in my relation to the whole world in order to control them, so they will know about me and be subjugated to me, and subordinated to me, so that I can exploit the whole world, for the sake of bestowal, and for the sake of love. Then to the extent that I use these communication channels for the sake of the others, I discover this spring of love and giving within me called the Creator. Then I become fulfilled with the sensation of being like the Creator that is infinite, unlimited. Before I wanted to fulfill myself by others but that is exactly the method by which I can fulfill myself.

Moderator: You use such an expression like ‘communication channels.’ It sounds like an infrastructure that we build and then we position different traffic in that communication channel.

M. Laitman: Yes, this is exactly what we do as we advance with the wisdom of Kabbalah. It’s called single concealment and double concealment. We build these communication channels, we are aware of them, and then we invert their use.

Moderator: I want to ask you something personal. It sounds like a switch, and it sounds like an inversion. You change from this direction to one hundred eighty degrees the opposite direction, same channel, but the car is driving in the opposite way. When you feel within you this switch, this inversion for the first time, when this happens for the first time, is it surprising? What is it?

M. Laitman: It gives Light. You start understanding that you prepared everything in your life unknowingly, without understanding, while being confused and in the dark; you understand that it happened for a reason not by chance. It was all planned carefully, meticulously, very accurately and this is how you developed by that plan. And now you are using all these preparations correctly, in your awareness.

You feel happy that finally, you are able to justify your existence and discover that you’re working together with that Giving Force, with the Creator, along with Him and He unfolds from within in your relation of love and giving to others. He shows you, He works with you and He reveals to you right now. But like chasing after egoistic pleasures and becoming empty every time, the same thing happens here.

Every time you connect with others in these communication channels of love and giving, you realize something. Then it disappears and it raises your will to receive again on top of which you have to build greater, stronger communication channels, greater bestowal. And when you build it, it disappears again and then there is ego again, and then you have to build it again. You go through this process in gradual small portions.

Your whole ego, that was once in order to exploit the world in all kinds of ways, is now gradually corrected to bestowal. And slowly, you start feeling from within how you identify with the Creator that works from within and how this world is with you. The more you bestow upon them, the more you connect them to yourself. The Creator works in this whole flow and it turns out that you, the Creator and the world are all one.

Moderator: Is there a term of ‘control over the Creator’ in spirituality?

M. Laitman: Control over the Creator is in letting Him control this system.

You give Him the opportunity to control. If you have the strength, the force to control these communication channels, then you open them up for His control and you don’t need more. You want Him to talk from within you because besides that, you have nothing. Your control is in giving Him the opportunity to fill these communication channels between you and the others. And then, since He is inside, your connection is with all the other souls, with the world.

Moderator: Give me a tip about control to conclude our conversation. If I want to approach all those high exalted things you are talking about, what is the first step?

M. Laitman: It happens by studying Kabbalah correctly, but we don’t know how it happens. Some force appears from Above or from within a person, who yearns to connect him correctly, with the group, with the friends, with the whole world in order to bestow upon them, in order to give them this infinite flow of love, of Light and bestowal. Then it works within more and more until a person, suddenly, feels that it does work in his mind and heart, the system is working. And the truth is that this is called the miracle of the Exodus from Egypt, but it happens.

We have to go through these phases, like the Kabbalists tell us. And I saw it on myself and on my students that it works, and one goes through all the phases that the Kabbalists give us in this method. I didn’t see that it can happen in any other way in our nature and our world. We only have to discover how we are controlled by evil now and to try to want the good to control us.

Moderator: Thank you very much Michael Laitman.

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