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Michael Laitman, PhD

Attaining a Higher Spiritual Degree

Q: How can I attain a higher spiritual degree?

A: How do we rise from degree X, to degree X+1? In our world, a person can only raise one’s physical body. In the spiritual world, a person raises one’s spiritual body and one’s aims. For that, we must be able to alter our aims to fit the new spiritual degree.

But if all of our feelings change, how will we be able to change ourselves? The way to do it is through “faith above reason.”

We behave against every value, understanding and attribute that we have in an X spiritual degree, and blindly accept all the attributes of the X+1 as true, although they completely contradict our nature and seem completely unreal and unnatural in our current condition.

The abilities of a higher degree allow us to give more, and to become even more detached from our own needs. At the moment, we may be incapable of it; it seems unnatural. We think that only a madman could do this.

However, we must accept them with faith above reason, and adopt them as our own. If we succeed, the Creator will raise us to the next spiritual degree, closer to Him, and we thus become an embryo in the next degree.

Like an embryo in its mother’s womb, we agree to unite with the Creator with our eyes shut. There are no other means to come to a higher degree.

Now we can understand why it is impossible to do this without help from Above. We must aim at “faith above reason” instead of trying to understand with reason and logic, even if it were possible.

Within a group are always opportunities to accept a friend’s opinion. The group should become a place where one becomes mentally ready to advance with “faith above reason.” We must constantly practice on one another in order to understand what “faith above reason” really means: to accept the opinion of another, even if we completely disagree with it.

When I examine my own friend’s attitude toward me, I always start the analysis with my intellectual ability and my desire for pleasure. I cannot ignore the situation, I cannot forgive, but I must come to a point where, although I completely disagree with him, I accept his idea because I want to reach the goal with him.

I must not compromise. We have to fully acknowledge the evil. If I don’t understand the origin of my knowledge, how can I ever rise? And over what?

If I don’t understand the opinion of my friend, how will I accept it? I have to analyze everything and accept his idea, although I vehemently object to it, although it pains me, and makes me suffer and hate.

It is true that my friend is just as much of an egoist as I am, perhaps even a bigger egoist, but that should not matter. We must focus on practicing, on trying to accept our friend’s ideas over our own.

We thus have an opportunity to do something with “faith above reason.” However, after we decide to accept a friend’s reason, we agree with them heart and soul. It is new knowledge, in a higher spiritual degree, which now becomes our own.

Rabbi Baruch Ashlag writes in his essays about how the group works. He says that when a group of Kabbalists is founded, they get a chance to practice the relationships within them, hold grudges, and finally rise above them, because it is the only way by which they can rise to a higher spiritual degree.

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