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"Kabbalah Revealed" Episode 14: Revelation and Concealment

Description

In the process of studying Kabbalah, one passes through many states of revelation and concealment of the Creator. Anthony Kosinec commentates on Baal HaSulam’s article The Creator’s Revelation and Concealment, which describes these states, and goes onto explain the importance of group study

Transcript

Kabbalah Revealed #14
Revelation and Concealment

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


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

Hello again and welcome to Kabbalah Revealed. I’m Tony Kosinec.

You have heard us speak several times about the ladder of ascent from our current perceptions, limited perceptions of reality, to all the way up the 125 levels until a person reaches equivalence of form with the Creator. We can’t explain each and every one of these steps, but it’s important to know in general where a person is aimed at, where we are supposed to go, what the attainment really consists of.

Baal HaSulam, in his Introduction to the Study of the Ten Sefirot (spheres), covered a lot of very important, fundamental information. One of the things that he talks about is the states that a man can be certain that he will go through in the attainment of this higher perception. He breaks it down into five states, and within these five states there are many levels, and this accounts for the 125 that are spoken of in the ladder. 

Let’s take a look at what a person can expect to experience, and by doing that we will also be able to see something about a very important component in the study of Kabbalah, that is, why Kabbalists study in a group, where that exists on the path, why it’s there and how it helps us attain the states that are outlined here.

Here they are, laid out on a graph [Tony referring to a graph with the following layout:
double concealment, single concealment | correction, first revelation, second revelation.] Here are the states that we go through on our path back to the source of our soul.

In the physical world we find that there are two major states: double concealment, and then when we pass through that, single concealment. At the end of that state, there is the barrier between the physical and the spiritual world, and the first state that we enter in the spiritual world is a state of correction.

I am going to explain these to you. After we go through that, we find that there is the first revelation—a high level of contact with the Creator’s nature—and then finally the second revelation—the conclusion of the path and the reaching of equivalence of form with the Creator.

Let’s take a look at what double concealment consists of. Baal Hasulam describes it this way:

Double concealment is concealment inside concealment. In this state the person doesn’t even feel the opposite side of the Creator; cannot perceive anything as coming from Him. He feels that the Creator has abandoned him, disregards him completely, he attributes suffering to destiny and blind nature. Being confused by the Creator’s attitude to him, man loses faith.

We’re not speaking about somebody who is not on the path here. This is not the state of the world in general or of the masses for whom the reality of the Creator does not exist in them as anything really tangible or anything that motivates them. This is about a person who is in a kind of an unconscious state in regards to this desire but still finds that his life and its direction is becoming organized by a desire to really understand why things happen to him the way that it does. So, that a person feels that there is a Creator but that he is abandoned—that’s already a relationship and it’s already the beginning of a desire. That’s why we call it “the beginning of a path.” And it says that he “loses faith.” Baal HaSulam describes what the visceral sort of experience is for the person.

When the person prays about his misfortunes and performs good deeds, but receives no response. After he stops praying he suddenly receives an answer. 

That is, he is trying to have a relationship with the Creator but it’s based on his confused understanding. He makes a movement towards the Creator. “After he stops praying he suddenly receives an answer.” So, in his first action, according to his understanding, nothing, the Creator is not there, “abandoned me.” When he stops he begins to feel comfortable in his will to receive. He receives an answer. In other words, the suffering that he had is kind of mitigated by the fact that he is stuffing himself with self-satisfaction. He says then:

As the person begins to believe in the Divine Providence and corrects his actions he is ruthlessly thrown back.

As he progresses on the path, the response from Above that a person feels is a complete rejection, that is, a loss of faith. And this is a force happening towards the person who wants to be on the path but this is the way that it is felt by the person and…

As he stops believing and he commits evil deeds, luck comes his way and he feels peace. Money is gained by crooked ways.

In other words, when he engages in his doubt, he looks around and he sees “yes, you know, the physical world and my own kind of well-being…this is the way to go, this is where my satisfaction lies.”

And it seems to him that the people who aspire to the Creator are poor, sick, despised, uncivilized, stupid hypocrites.

Why? Because in his Kli, in his sensation, they’re nuts. His experience has just told them there really isn’t anything there; that’s not reality, those are dreams, let’s get real.

Those who do not seek the Creator seem to be prosperous, healthy, calm, clever, kind, amiable and self-assured.

He sees that the people who don’t pursue this path that he was pursuing have a good life; he perceives them as happy, and there are the props of his reality. 

This first level is called “double concealment” because there are multiple aspects of hiddenness of the Creator from the person, both whether or not the actions that are occurring in the person’s life, the desire to meet with the Creator, and the fact that they’re thrown back and cannot sense the Creator, whether the Creator is the author of that because this person becomes confused and believes that the source of those problems are the people around him, himself, society, all of that stuff. And he also doesn’t understand why that is happening. So, the Creator is hidden to him within his sensation by two screens in a sense, by two veils.

This is a period in which a person reincarnates. That is, everything that happens, happens on the physical level, and all their development is an unconscious development, even though they are trying to get on the path.

When a person moves through this and finally goes through these stages to a point where they begin to perceive something else, that is, the Upper Force draws them through this process, and through unconscious evolution and physical incarnations, into an incarnation where they will now begin to work with a method that will allow them to actually enter spirituality and remove one of the veils. Baal HaSulam describes this state, which is called “single concealment” this way:

The Creator is concealed, i.e. He manifests not as absolutely kind, but as the one who brings suffering.

In other words, the person is certain that the Creator is the author of everything that occurs in life, but the only thing that he can feel from the Creator in regards to his path is that He brings him a lack, and what he calls “suffering.” So, he doesn’t understand the Creator’s intention, though the reality of the Creator’s sovereignty is clear to the person.

The person seems to see the opposite side of the Creator, since he only receives sufferings from Him. He nevertheless believes that everything that comes to him is for a reason, that the Creator treats him this way to punish him for his evil actions or to lead him to goodness. Thus, he strengthens his faith in the Creator’s supervision.

He doesn’t know—is this coming to advance me or is this coming to punish me because of my inadequacies, my sins? This is where the confusion lies. He doesn’t understand the attitude of the Creator in the things that occur.

The visceral description, how the person’s reality is set up, is that…

The person is poor, sick and despised by people. He is anxious and nothing seems to be right in his life.

He now sees that his situation is not as good as the people around him, that is, as he perceived people in double concealment—that he finds himself constantly lacking something, thinks he doesn’t relate to people in the same way, nothing is working right because his primary desire to connect with the Creator is very confused.

[Tony drawing]

Here, this is what you find when people have run out of satisfying the first five desires, which is what happens unconsciously in double concealment. That’s when the point in the heart appears, and that is also the time when a person discovers Kabbalah. That is, they discover that there is a method of having a direct connection with the Creator and understanding Him. And so, they become exposed to, it seems, maybe just by happenstance, they turn on the television and they watch a program about Kabbalah and their point in the heart starts to pulse, or they go to a lecture or they pick up a book in a bookstore and they begin to get this information, that this is actually possible and they begin learning a method.

This is called a period of preparation because during this time, a person makes the kinds of inner changes that are conscious. They start developing, using both the map of reality, that is, the books, and the correct method which comes from having a teacher who is in spirituality, a Kabbalist already in the spiritual world who can give guidance to the person saying, “a little bit to the left, a little to the right, this is the way to go, this is how to use the books.

There is also another component, a very, very important component that a person must have in order to really make the method work. But I’ll tell you about that later, once you see what is in the rest of this map because you will see why this must be.

When a person actually completes this method of preparation and penetrates the barrier into the spiritual world, he enters a state called “a state of correction.” This is when the person loses the confusion as to whether he has a direct sensation of the Creator or not, and begins to work in the correction of desires, that is, the 613, 620 desires (Mitzvot), become corrected through a sensation of direct connection to the Creator, where a person begins to feel the results of their own attitude and the difference of their attitude towards the Creator in a reciprocal mode and corrects desires—613, 620—until they come into alignment with the desire or the intention that the Creator has towards them.

Here there is not that kind of not knowing and validness that exists in first and second concealment.

[Tony drawing]

Here, in the double and single concealment we have what we experience as free will. It’s free only in that we’re confused and we act as though there was nothing there. Here, past the barrier, is where the real work in Kabbalah begins, after the preparation period of working directly with the sensation of the Creator in a relationship.

Once the person has crossed the barrier and begins to work with the correction of desires, what he’s really doing is he has finished the preparation and he is beginning the work with the books in the correct way, that is, in a revealed way. Actually this phase includes both the correction phase and the first revelation of the Creator, in which the providence of the Creator is revealed to the man himself. Baal HaSulam describes this transition:

Although in concealment, the person’s faith in the Creator’s rule over the world grows stronger. This leads him to books from which he receives the Light of correction and an understanding of how to strengthen his faith in the Creator’s rule.

When his effort to believe in the Creator’s Providence reaches sufficient measure allowing the Light of correction to influence him, he becomes ready for the Creator’s rule over him in the state of revelation. The Creator reveals Himself to all of His created beings as the “Good and Kind One” in accordance with their desires.

In other words, the person begins to feel not what he felt as free will through his ego, but as a result of his desire to connect with the Creator, he feels one and the same thing as the intentions of the Creator. It is revealed to him so that gap which we call “free will” is removed and experienced as a fulfillment, not as a challenge. And he describes it this way, what is viscerally in that:

The person feels the Creator’s goodness, peace, constant satisfaction, earns enough money without effort, knows no troubles and ailments; he is respected and successful. He wishes something, he prays and immediately receives it from the Creator.

The more good deeds he performs, the more successful he becomes and vice versa, the less good he does, the less successful he becomes.

What does he mean by this? Everything that he perceives is satisfaction to him. He no longer imagines that there is something outside of reality. He is not longing for something outside; it becomes revealed within him. And the person sees the providence of the Creator towards him; understands that, both that he is the author of it, and also why everything occurred—what happens here that a person is functioning above time and space so that everything that has happened before this point becomes changed. He sees not only the future, as we like to think about people who can see beyond time and space. His corrections don’t only move ahead into the future, but all of his past becomes corrected as well. That is, he understands everything that occurred in the unconscious level, in double concealment, and before that, the things that befell him so to speak, all of those events that he felt as empty or bad where he was mistreated by the Creator or by people. All of this disappears from him and he understands precisely why this occurred towards him, and he can feel this in a direct relationship.

When he has completed that, there is another stage, an even more refined and sublime stage of the second revelation of the Creator. That is, not only does he feel the Creator’s providence over him, he feels it towards all creatures; he has exactly the same attitude; he sees precisely what the Creator sees, wants what the Creator wants, feels what the Creator feels and can see how this effects the totality of reality. And this is expressed as “to love your friend as yourself.” By experiencing “love your friend as yourself,” that veil is removed and the person achieves “love your Creator.”

This is very important because this is the goal. By seeing this, we can understand what a person needs here in the preparatory stage. Here, in order to reach this state, a person has to begin developing a method that deals with that state, the state of “Love your friend as yourself,” the state in which everything is interconnected and functions just for the purpose of the fulfillment of the whole. That’s not possible just by reading books by yourself, or taking direct instruction from a Kabbalist in spirituality. This is where a person makes the transition and creates a point of true free will by creating their environment—they need a group, they need to build an environment that will allow them to simulate this final state and to understand that the books and the teacher and the events of life need to be measured inside of what we call a game or a simulation.

Kabbalists study together within a group, with very, very defined goals. This is the goal—the adhesion with the Creator and “love your friend as yourself.” But if a person tries to achieve this kind of relationship with the Creator and all of life without having the correct environment, it’s a completely moving target.

Our egoism will always play tricks on us, because in relation to the Creator, how do we know really where we are with the Creator? How do we know what His responses are like to us when we’re in this stage of concealment? If we want to go out of concealment, His real attitude towards us must be revealed.

And so, Kabbalists study together and work together in a group so that they can learn the control systems of what it is that they want to reach. It’s just like when you train a pilot. You stick a pilot into a simulator. What’s really in the simulator? It’s a box! You know, there’s a screen that sort of gives you pictures and represents every possible thing that could occur when you’re flying a plane. Because when a guy is a new pilot, you are not going to put him into a 747 and go “go on, just try it out, see what happens.” No. you are going to put him into a situation where specific events are going to happen, where he is going to learn what the controls are, how to think, how to respond. Even though he is just in a box with a bunch of electronic controls and pictures flashing in front of him, when he emerges from this, he actually knows how to respond in an emergency situation, how to land some place in Greece, he’s never been there, because he did it through a simulation.

The group provides a point at which a person gets immediate feedback because everybody who is working in the group is only studying in order to reach a specific goal. The worst thing that could happen to a person is that they get these things in their hands and then they don’t understand what the actual goal is. Without being able to test yourself against something that really shows you where you are in relation to your love of your friend and in relation to the goal itself, that doesn’t let you be distracted by other things. That is a perfect environment for the development of this one desire.

The problem is that when a person comes to the work, they come with a very small desire for spirituality. They have a lot of physical desires and a small desire for the Creator. But, when you group together a group of people whose desire is for the Creator, then that inspiration fills a person. They don’t go out with only their own desire, they go out with the desires of all of them. And “love your friend as yourself” has great implications for both consciousness and its effect on the world. One reaches love of the Creator through the love of people because we are one soul. So, entering spirituality cannot be done as an individual because the awareness of our interconnectedness is the entry to the spiritual world. And by working with all of these elements—the books, the correct Rav (teacher), and the correct environment, which we have the freedom to create for ourselves—it is by doing that that the Kabbalists can enter the spiritual world.

Join us again as we go further and further on our journey.



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"Kabbalah Revealed" Episode 9

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There is None Else Beside Him,Part 2

 

"Kabbalah Revealed" Episode 10

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"Kabbalah Revealed" Episode 11

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Free Will, Part 2 The Four Factors

 

"Kabbalah Revealed" Episode 12

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"Kabbalah Revealed" Episode 13

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Defining the Goal

 

"Kabbalah Revealed" Episode 14

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Revelation and Concealment

 

"Kabbalah Revealed" Episode 15

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