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"Kabbalah Revealed" Episode 9: There is None Else Beside Him,Part 2

Description

Anthony Kosinec continues with the article that describes the person׳s path from complete concealment of the Creator to His full revelation.

Transcript

Kabbalah Revealed #9
There’s None Else Beside Him, Part 2

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


•    Bold and indented: Original text of Baal HaSulam
•    lowercase italics: emphasized words
•    Capitalized Italics: titles and transliteration from Hebrew

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


In this lesson we are going to continue with the article There Is None Else Beside Him by Baal HaSulam. This article contains the entire methodology of Kabbalah, all of the wisdom of Kabbalah is included in this article. Even though we are picking it up from paragraph 10, one of the qualities of Kabbalistic books is that even though it is a complete system that takes a person end to end from their starting point in their will to receive, and in their condition of hiddenness from the Creator, and reveals the whole of reality, the text speaks to a person no matter where they are and at any point from the text. So it doesn’t really matter where you enter, it just matters that you enter. And entering means that you try to feel the thought of the writer; you try to rise to his level and bring your desire to know spirituality and to enter it into the text, and then you will be able to feel yourself and your condition, and the text will speak to you where you are.
We are starting from paragraph 10.


A man must always try and cleave to the Creator, namely, that all his thoughts will be about Him. That is to say, that even if he is in the worst state, from which there cannot be a greater descent, he should not leave His domain, namely, think that there is another authority which prevents him from entering into holiness, and which has the power to either benefit or harm.
This is the thing that the person must cling to: that every action that occurs, all of the positive things that occur and all of the things seem to hide the sensation of the Creator from the person, that fill him with doubt and make him feel that the path to holiness is blocked, that he should understand, that his thought should cleave to the Creator in that it is only the Creator that does these actions with him.


There is only one actor in reality. This is always the Creator no matter what our doubt may speak in our ear. No matter what the will to receive may say—that there is some other factor, something in the person, something in his environment, some force working against the Creator that is causing this problem, that a person should never leave the domain of the clinging to the Creator or the goal of why it is that they seek to bond with the Creator and listen to the whispering of the will to receive. The doubt is sent for a reason and it’s sent from the Creator.
That is, he must not think that there is a matter of the power of the Other Side (Sitra Achra), which does not allow man to do good deeds and follow God’s ways; but he should think that all is done by the Creator.


The Ba’al Shem Tov said, that he who says that there is another power in the world, namely shells, is in a state of “serving other gods,” that it is not necessarily the thought of heresy that is the sin, but if he thinks that there is another authority and force apart from the Creator, by that he is committing a sin.


And that is the definition of sin in Kabbalah. The thought, that is, the conviction that there is anything but the Creator that is acting in this situation because the person must always strive to connect each event in life and their own inner sensations to the Creator, that everything, every action is happening as a result of the Creator’s act, and it is only the response of the creature, which is his intention in regards to this, how it is evaluated. That brings a person closer to the target or farther away from it. And that distance from the target, from attributing all of this to the Creator, the closeness is adherence to the way, and the distance from it is considered to be a sin.


Furthermore, he who says that man has his own authority, meaning that he says that yesterday he himself did not want to follow God’s ways, that too is considered to be committing the sin of heresy. Meaning that he does not believe that only the Creator leads the world.


Even if a person thinks that their own actions, that their own thoughts and choices are their own, that what they sense as their own actually originates from them, it is as though the person is an authority against the Creator, which is not so. Even the desire to come to the Creator was placed in us by the Creator. Just as the left hand pushes away through the descending of doubts, likewise the right hand awakens a person and gives them the sensation that they are choosing to come to the Creator. It’s not the action; it’s not whether we feel that we are being rejected by holiness or are being drawn by it that is the issue for our progress. The whole point is to understand that it is our attitude towards what is occurring that will be the place in which our independence, our freedom and our likeness with the Creator will appear and develop, not in the actions. And all of these things that we consider to be external and internal are really an improper perception. All of this is actions by the Creator and we are more or less in agreement with it. We more or less assign all of these to the Creator and want it to be that way, enjoy and return that knowledge to the Creator.


But when he has committed a sin, and he must certainly regret it and be sorry for having committed it, but here too we should place the pain and sorrow in the right order: where does he place the cause of the sin, that it is that point he should be sorry for.


And a man should then feel sorry and say: “I committed that sin because the Creator hurled me down from holiness to a place of filth, to the lavatory, where the filth is.” That is to say that God gave him a desire and a craving to amuse himself and breathe air in a place of stench.


If a person feels that they made that choice themselves, that they are bad and they chose not to move forward towards the Creator, that they wanted to satisfy their will to receive, as opposed to progressing towards developing the will to bestow, that they messed up, this is also the thought that they have some kind of authority. The blame is not on the person. There is no blame. There is no responsibility in the action. The responsibility is in the intention, and this is not to say that people go around doing actions that we know from our society are illegal, etc. we are talking about an inner state, we’re talking about a movement within a person to experience something for themselves as opposed to maintaining the desire to bestow. But the desire to move in either direction is given by the Creator. The fault is not with the person.


(And you might say, as it says in the books, that sometimes a man incarnates in the body of a pig, that he receives a desire and craving to take livelihood from things he had already determined were litter, but now he again wants to revive himself in them.)


Now remember, all Kabbalistic books are written in the language of branches. To “reincarnate” or to “incarnate” means to use a particular desire to identify with a particular need and a particular delight, that is, its filling, and in this case, it is the reason for something. Thus, if a person “incarnates in the body of a pig,” that is to say, it is a lower state than the state of a human. The desire is a desire for self-fulfillment on the simplest kind of level of self-satisfaction, and the person already knows because of their goal, that the goal is above the level of animal desires; that it is a human desire. That what a person is attempting to do is to develop a soul, which is the human level of spirituality. And yet he finds himself taking sustenance from something that he has already determined was not his goal. Still, it’s not the man who did this: “The Creator hurled me down to a place of filth.”


We don’t need to worry about these states. The only thing that we need to do is to relate them to the Creator. That is where our ascent is, that is where the path towards spirituality is, not in the externals.


And also when a man feels he’s in a state of ascent, and tastes some good flavor in the work, he must not say: “Now I am in a state where I understand that it is worthwhile to worship God. Rather he should know that now the Lord has fancied him, and for that reason He draws him near, which is the reason why he tastes a good flavor in the work. And he should be careful never to leave the domain of holiness, and say that there is another operating force besides the Creator.


Awakenings are as big a problem as descents because of the satisfaction. And the problem that can occur within us as we progress—to be satisfied at a certain level and remain still in that satisfaction—and to lose a connection with the Creator and believe that, “well now that I’ve had some kind of ascent, my intellect is full,” because when a person studies Kabbalah, they become a lot smarter. You begin to see how systems work. You incorporate the intelligence of the whole system in you because you agree with it basically. But that doesn’t give you any advantage over anybody else. You cannot progress in the Kabbalistic work or in the work towards spirituality with any special talent. No special talent is required. The simplest man with the proper attitude can reach the highest levels. The idea that now one understands something as a result of awakening is to “worship other gods,” it’s to believe in another force other than the Creator.


Anytime there is awakening, it is not because you did something; it’s because there was an action by the Creator, the right hand of the Creator, drawing a person forward.
(But this means that the matter of finding favor in the eyes of the Lord, or the opposite, does not depend on man himself, but everything depends on God. And man, with his external mind, cannot comprehend why now the Lord likes him and after that He does not.)


That is actually the problem because our perception of good and bad, and the reasons for things, according to our will to receive, which really constitutes our mind, hides from us the real meaning behind an action, that is, the Thought and the Love of the Creator and the giving of that action through both the left and the right hand in which He pushes away and draws us close, and uses this whole system of hiddenness. What is hidden from us is the benevolence, the contact with the benevolence. It’s the degree to which we perceive the goodness that really constitutes our connection with the Creator. This is what is called “revelation.” The revelation is only to reveal the quality of the Creator, which is unconditional love.


And likewise when he regrets that the Creator does not draw him near, he should also be careful not to be sorry for himself, for having been distanced from the Creator, for by so doing he becomes a recipient for his own benefit, and he who receives is separated from the Creator.


So if a person falls and feels the distance and starts saying, “I’m not going to make it; this isn’t good for me; this is not working out for me,” this also is a detachment from the striving towards the achieving of the will to bestow. This separates a person from the Creator. It is the main acts by which the creature was separated from the Creator in the first place. The will to receive puts us in opposite form, so we can never achieve the bonding through thinking that I’m having a problem here in relation to the Creator.


Rather he should regret the exile of the Divine Presence, meaning, for inflicting sorrow upon the Divine Presence.
One should take as an example when some small organ of a person is sore. The pain is still felt mainly in the heart and mind, which are the generality of man. And certainly the sensation of a single organ cannot resemble the sensation of a person’s full stature, where most of the pain is felt.


Likewise is the pain that a person feels when he is detached from the Lord, since man is but a single organ of the Divine Presence, for the Divine Presence is the soul of Israel in general. Therefore the sensation of a single organ does not resemble the sensation of the pain in general. That is to say that the Divine Presence regrets that there are parts of it that are detached from it, which she cannot provide for.


(And that might be the meaning of the words: “When a man regrets, the Divine Presence says: ‘It is lighter than my head’”). And if man does not relate the sorrow at being distant from God to himself, he is saved from falling into the trap of the desire to receive for himself, which is the separation from holiness.
There is a collective soul, the general soul of Israel as a whole. Adam ha Rishon, the original soul, the single creature and the pain of the separation, is felt all through the creation (which is the general soul in relation to the Creator). That pain is felt as suffering on every level of creation. It’s not just that the person themselves are suffering. The collective as a whole, which is called “Shechina,” the Divine Presence, the collective soul, it feels in every part of it our lack of concern for the whole, that our reception and any of our work would be just like an organ in a body that would function to its best ability and consider only the health and wellbeing of the entire system. If we can feel our sorrow and detachment on behalf of the sorrow and detachment of the whole which cannot feel itself as whole, then we are not just thinking about ourselves, and this prevents us from making that primary mistake.


The same applies when one feels somewhat closer to holiness, when he is happy at having merited favor in the eyes of the Lord, he must say that the core of his joy is that now there is joy in the Divine Presence, from having being able to bring her private organ near her, and not send it away.
It’s the other side of the coin.
And man rejoices at having been endowed with the ability to please the Divine Presence.


So, a person’s happiness, again, is not for himself. Though he will feel the joy, he will feel the filling, he will feel the closeness, it won’t be on behalf of himself. This is what we need to strive for. This is what Lishma is. This is what doing Torah and Mitzvot Lishma (for Her Name), which is not “for myself,” that is the goal and that is what this enables us to do. My joy will be in the fulfilling of life as a whole, that it can be connected, reconnected, and then one is doing an action towards all of humanity, all of spirituality and all of creation, and every action is on behalf of the whole. This is the goal. And therefore, you have exactly the same attitude towards it as the Creator does, and this is a greater similarity of form and this is a higher level of bonding.


*Although, the will to receive is necessary, since that constitutes a person, since anything which exists in a person apart from the desire to receive is attributed to the Creator.
We are the will to receive. We can’t escape it; it is how we use the will to receive. It says, “that constitutes the person.” And yet, everything that is not the creature or the will to receive, everything that is not that, is the Creator. It is all attributed to him. All action, everything that we feel as outside, those are actions of the Creator guiding reality to bring us to complete fulfillment of the Thought of Creation.
Nevertheless, the will to receive pleasure should be corrected to a form of bestowal.


That is to say, that the pleasure and joy, taken by the will to receive, should be intended to bring contentment Above, because there is pleasure below. For that was the purpose of creation, to benefit His creations. And this is called the joy of the Divine Presence Above.


This is the meaning of “giving joy” to the Creator; this is the meaning of giving joy to the Shechina.
For this reason, man must seek advice as to how he can cause contentment above. And certainly, if he receives pleasure, contentment shall be felt above. Therefore, he should long to always be in the King’s palace, and to have the ability to play with the King’s treasures.


What are the King’s treasures? These greater and greater levels of the will to bestow; this greater and greater similarity of form, with he who set the entire system in motion.
And that will certainly cause contentment above. It follows that his entire longing should be for the sake of the Creator.
And that ends the article.


That is the entire system, and in it there is advice as to how a person can deal with their attitude towards everything that occurs in life, and through that, gain a perception of the greater reality.


The book of Shamati is filled with articles of enormous depth and power, and one can read these articles many, many times, and each time, a completely different view and depth will be presented to a person, and we will look at some other articles from this book as we go through this series of lessons.
Thanks for joining us and join us again next time.
* One paragraph of the article was left out here. 

 

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