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"Kabbalah Revealed" Episode 2: Perception of Reality

Description

Anthony Kosinec explains how our five senses block us from perceiving the true, eternal reality, and how we can use what Kabbalists have discovered, to break through our limitations, and achieve the complete, eternal perception of reality.

 

 

Transcript

Kabbalah Revealed #2
Perception of Reality

Lecture presented for the American television channel, Shalom TV
Anthony Kosinec
June 19, 2006
 

•    Bold and indented: Original text of Baal HaSulam
•    Regular: Commentaries of Tony Kosinec
•    lowercase italics: emphasized words
•    Capitalized Italics: transliteration from Hebrew


Hello and welcome again to Kabbalah Revealed. I am Tony Kosinec.
In our first show, we did an overview of what Kabbalah is about and what it isn’t. If you recall what Kabbalah is for, it is for a person who asks the question,“What is the meaning of my life?” Let’s see where we go from here. Let’s start with a definition of Kabbalah and see what that definition is and where it can lead us.


Kabbalah is a wisdom, a science that enables man, a person to feel and know an upper reality. This is how it addresses the purpose of life but of course it brings up questions: What is a person? What is a man?  What is an upper reality? What is it that enables a person to feel, know and enter an upper reality.


[Drawing]


If you recall, we looked at this diagram before in which we see that we live, our existence happens, within a complete and total reality that depends on nothing, that is unbounded; in which everything is completely interconnected, that is filled with infinite pleasure, complete knowing and contact with everything that exists in reality. Yet the Kabbalists tell us, the ones who have attained the whole system, for a certain purpose we descended from this way of existence, through this way of being, through a system called “worlds.” Worlds are Olamim, from the Hebrew word Olam, which comes from the root He’elem, which means “to hide,” “hiddenness.” We descended from this complete connection with reality until we reached a place, a cross over point called a barrier, and our existence happens in a very limited way here, in a place called “our world.” Our world is a place that has no sensation whatsoever of any of these worlds—and these are Spiritual Worlds, all of these—this is what’s considered to be the physical world or corporality.
If you want to know the purpose of life, the meaning of your life, it would be a good thing if you knew what the plan was. It seems like that’s an impossible thing; it’s almost a source of jokes that anyone could possibly answer that question about the meaning and purpose of life, but that’s where the Kabbalists start. Those who have attained this entire reality tell us that there is a plan—a blue print—for all of reality and for all of creation. They tell us that the purpose of life is to create a creature and to fill that creature with unbounded delight; to create a creature and to fill that creature with unbounded delight. That is the complete and total meaning, purpose, direction of everything that ever can occur, will occur, only happens for that purpose. In that thought, in that intention, in that thought behind all of creation, all of the rules for everything that would occur, were set down. All the principal laws that govern the spiritual and physical worlds, all are rooted in that one thought. Nothing that is happens in this world happens for any other reason than in order to create a creature and bring that creature to unbounded delight.


What is it that keeps a person out of the Spiritual World? What is a person? Well, we have to understand how our perception of this reality, the way in which we perceive reality, causes a hiddeness for us.


[Drawing]


This is a person, a closed box with five openings. These five openings are our five senses. Now, surrounding the person is an upper reality, a complete reality, the spiritual, and from that complete reality things approach us. That is what appears to be an exterior reality of some sort of unformed something, approaches the person and through the five senses that we possess, we determine what that thing is; in other words, what does reality consist of, according to my senses.
This spiritual object approaches the box, but something odd happens here. It doesn’t actually enter the box. The box is a closed system, because rather then this object coming in, it hits a barrier—a kind of transducer, like an eardrum or a retina or a nerve—on the surface of the skin or a taste bud. Instead of getting the thing on the outside, this thing gets reduced and is passed through a program; this thing here [points to the drawing]. As it passes through this program, it gets interpreted into something that we can understand according to certain principles within the program. Once it passes through this, it leaves our box or this machine, and what it produces is our reality.


[continues drawing]


It doesn’t matter how sensitive this sensor is. Let’s say it’s your eye; it can be the Hubble telescope or you can be completely nearsighted and unable to see the thing directly in front of you. It doesn’t matter the degree of sensitivity. What matters is the programming, what happens here within this subjective system, in the machine. Whatever it is that comes into here, it can only be what this program says that it is. Not what this [pointing to a specific area in the drawing] is, but a reduction that can be understood by the program.


What is this program that limits this? This [pointing to a specific area in the drawing] is objective reality; and this [pointing to another specific area in the drawing] is the limited portion of it that we can perceive. This program is called “egoism.” It’s self concern—“What’s in it for me?” “How is this going to affect me?” As a result of this, I’m locked into...the person is locked into a subjective view of all these things, only in relation to how it feels inside of the box. At no point does it have any sense of what really exists outside of the box.
We’ve got a problem because every single one of our five senses works by exactly the same program. Not one of them can tell us anything about what exists outside of that program.
In order to know what surrounds us, what the greater reality is, we need to develop an additional sense, what the Kabbalists call “a sixth sense.” Not the sixth sense of the lady who tells your fortune, but a sense that actually can make contact with what exists outside; that is not bounded by that kind of programming.
In order to do that, well you have to need to do it. It’s not possible to work outside, to build something outside of this box as long as we are satisfied with “What’s in it for me?”
The Thought of Creation has built in it laws that bring a person to this complete fulfillment. There is a motivating force that allows us to come to the point where we need to get out of the box. If we understand both what we are, which is the will to receive—“What’s in this for me?”—that we are built as egoists; but that’s okay, because it’s actually what we need in order to reach this fulfillment, there’s nothing wrong with it. We just have to learn how to use it, how to harness it, and how to harness the force of development that the Thought of Creation has provided for us.


What is it that moves things in reality? What makes things happen? Nobody does anything in this world—whether it’s an inner thing or whether it is a spiritual thing that is beyond this world. Everything that happens, happens only as a result of...well, let’s look at it.
You’re sitting there. Maybe you’re shifting in your chair; where your eyes are moving to, maybe you picked up something to drink. Any motion that you are now involved in is happening only as a result of one calculation, that you have become uncomfortable where you are, that a need has evolved in you, has appeared, and you have moved to a new position or a new situation that you believe will bring you more pleasure than the one that you were in before.


This lack and the filling of pleasure and a force of desire is what motivates everything in reality; and this will eventually take a person from the corporal world, from our perceptions of the physical world, the limitations that we experience, and the suffering that goes along with it. It will bring a person, if properly used, past that barrier and into the Spiritual World in this way.


[Begins drawing]


We all feel desires and we feel them change, but we don’t really pay attention to this system that is placed in us by nature well enough so that we can understand what it’s doing for us. We all understand that our first sort of grasp of what pleasure is, is just survival-type pleasures. The first category, we see pleasure as and require: sex, food, and shelter. All of our efforts, our work, what we perceive around us, the whole goal of our lives has to do with finding and getting these things, and this is a desire that we have in common with animals. It doesn’t require other people, we just need this to survive.


Once we have this filled, we realize that life is about much more than that and we can’t be satisfied with it and a second category of desires appears. This is a desire for wealth. Wealth is the accumulation of the first category, so that I’ll never have to worry about it again, I will be able to control it. Once we fill this desire for wealth, we come to the feeling that “is that all there is?” something else grows in us. Now, notice that it’s not simply that it’s another desire that’s growing, but it’s a greater desire—one that encompasses the one before it.


In other words, here we have a small desire and a small filling. Here, we have a desire that has grown and it requires a greater filling; and this one is incorporated in this one. Now, if I can’t be filled by wealth, there’s a new desire that arises in me and that is a desire for power. This doesn’t happen only to the individual in their lives, but it’s happened to humanity as a whole throughout history. The whole scope of history has been the evolution of these desires. Power is the ability to control both this and this, all systems that will bring me the greatest collection of that. Now, this is political power, this is empire, this is control in my job. Once I have that, I can no longer be satisfied with it. I become empty. I feel a lack, and a fourth desire is placed inside of me—a greater expanded desire for something that encompasses all of that, and that is knowledge.
Knowledge is the barrier, in a sense, of what it is that we define as the physical world. These desires, one, two, three and four, all have to do with what we perceive as pleasure. That is what we are being filled with and what we want—what will satisfy us. Well, knowledge is science, it is religion, it’s art, it’s the pinnacle of what we consider to be what humanity could possibly achieve. Yet anybody who seriously delves into this very great desire and attempts to fill it eventually discovers that this is empty as well; that there are no answers in science for the real causes of things. Because there’s no answer to purpose; there’s only mechanical answers. The answers only have to do with these desires.


Religion, though it gives us beliefs, cannot give us access to what it is that we really want—a direct knowledge. Once a person becomes empty, as a result of having this fulfilled, something very different and very special happens—a new desire arises—but this desire is not a desire from this world. This is a desire placed within our heart, which is the sum of all desires that we have—both for this world and for what’s beyond it.
A desire is placed in us from a completely other level of development—from the greater reality. What appears inside of our heart is a “point in the heart”—that’s what the Kabbalists call it. This point is a part of the greater reality. It has an aspect of spirituality, which if this desire becomes fulfilled, unlike these, it grows continually, until it fills our entire experience, our entire existence, and can bring us into the Spiritual World.
So what is an upper reality? The Kabbalists who have attained the totality of reality tell us that it consists of a particular quality. They tell us that we were created in exact opposite phase to the quality that exists in the Upper Worlds and this is why we cannot perceive what’s there. It appears as though there’s nothing there at all. [points to drawing] We know, from the drawing, that what we consist of, what the man or the person or the creature consists of, is egoism. That’s what’s inside of the box.


[Continues drawing]


What’s inside of the box is called “the will to receive.” This will to receive makes us experience limited existence, makes us experience suffering, isolation and all of the things that we find difficult about life. What exists outside of this, in the non-subjective condition of egoism, is an objective reality that the Kabbalists tell us is “the will to bestow.” The will to bestow is unconditional altruism. In other words, the experience out here is unlimited existence, unbounded pleasure and delight. Yet, we can’t feel this because we have no means to get there. Or do we?


There is a quality of the Spiritual World that differs also in its quality from the physical world. In the physical world, movement, what would get us from one place to another is purely mechanical. That is, I can take two objects that are completely different in their form, even in their purpose, and I can draw them close together mechanically and I can say, “We have closeness here!” But in the Spiritual World, things can only be considered to be close under completely different conditions, because there is no time and there is no space—there is nothing mechanical there.


The Kabbalists tell us that the Spiritual World is made up only of feeling-states, of spheres of influence that have to do with certain attributes, qualities—inner qualities—and that all movement in spirituality consists of similarity or dissimilarity between two feeling-states or two qualities. In other words, we can see this in friendship. If my friend takes a certain delight in comedy and I don’t care for comedy, I’m just a serious person, then it’s not very likely that we’re going to be very close friends. If I hate comedy, then we are considered to be distant. But if I love comedy, and I love the same comedians and the same films that they did, then in this respect of the love of comedy, my friend and I are close in that feeling. In other words, in spirituality, if two attributes, two feelings are similar, they are considered to be close; if they are different, they are considered to be distant. But—and this is the most beautiful and the most precious thing for us, the thing that can actually move us from the physical into the spiritual—and that is that if they have exactly the same quality, purpose and intention, then they are the same thing—they are bonded, connected. It’s this law, called “the law of equivalence of form” that can get us from our egoistic state of separation to be able to build an additional sense that can feel what’s outside.


[pointing to drawing]


What we need to do is to build within us a similar frequency, a similar quality, an additional sense that has a quality of this bestowal within it. Though we’re not yet capable of perceiving it in its simplicity, the Kabbalists tell us that there are only two things that exist in reality—there is only the Creator and the creature.


[Continues drawing]


Everything that we perceive is simply the quality of the Creator and the qualities of the creature. The Creator is the Upper World and the creature is the lower world. The quality of the Creator is the will to bestow; the quality of the creature is the will to receive. This is all that exists. Getting out of the box means that what we need to do is to move in spiritual space.
Moving in spiritual space means to change this quality [points to drawing], the will to receive, of the quality of the creature, to become more and more similar to the quality of the Creator. The way in which all of reality has been hidden from us through a descent through these worlds, well, these worlds are only made up of ratios of the will to receive against the will to bestow.


[Continues drawing]


The entire ladder, by which we descended into this world can be climbed simply by changing our inner quality of reception, egoism, the desire to receive for myself, to greater and greater ratios of the will to bestow rather than the will to receive. Each one of these states, steps of the ladder, are increasing ratios of the will to bestow over the will to receive. By this increase in similarity, by being able to feel what the quality of bestowal actually is, what it means to love and support everything that exists, and to build that similarity in myself—that is what Kabbalah deals with. It’s a method of being able to sense bestowal and to create an inner similarity to this quality.
This is what we will continue to investigate as we look at the keys to the hidden wisdom. Join us again.

 

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