Kabbalists discovered that our desires for pleasure evolve by five stages:
- The first, and most basic desire, is the desire for food, health, sex, and family. These are necessary desires for our survival.
- The second stage is the aspiration for wealth. Here we think that money guarantees survival and a good quality of life.
- The third is the craving for honor and power. Here we enjoy controlling others, as well as ourselves.
- In the fourth stage appears the desire for knowledge. Here we think that having knowledge will make us happy.
- But only when the fifth, and last stage of desire appears, we become attracted to an unknown "something" that is beyond us. Here we feel that connecting to this unknown "something" can bring us greater and lasting enjoyment, and we search for ways to make this connection. This desire for something higher is called "the desire for spirituality."
Below is an in-depth explaination of the process, given by Dr. Michael Laitman:
One who has a desire for spirituality differs from one seeking earthly and human fulfillments (i.e. the desire stages 1-to-4 outlined above). We already know how to fulfill our earthly and human needs, but when the desire for spirituality awakens, we no longer know how to soothe it.
Most people with a desire for spirituality today aren't even aware that they have it. Some of these people with a desire for spirituality might even be despising the very word "spirituality" thinking that it is something unrealistic and unrealizable. Such people feel their lives empty and purposeless, without knowing that it is due to this new, more evolved desire for spirituality awakening in them. They are unaware that this is the reason for their dissatisfaction and discontentment with life.
As children, many people ask themselves, "What am I living for?" But as the years go by, we are inundated by desires and temptations that divert us from this question, and the need to find a genuine answer withers away.
Nevertheless, at some point, the desire for spirituality awakens, and with it the questions. Those who insist on finding the answers come to Kabbalah, which was specifically designed to provide the way to their answers.
The Zohar stated that it is specifically in our era that the wisdom of
Kabbalah would be revealed. This is because people's desires would evolve and
start demanding spiritual fulfillment-proof, understanding and sensation of a
peaceful life beyond our current one-and only the wisdom of Kabbalah would be
capable of providing this fulfillment.