Preparation For The Studying Of The Zohar
Before every lesson and every excerpt we read in The Book of Zohar, we have to return to the right intention and remember that we are now studying the inner part of the Torah, the Torah's internality, which becomes revealed inside a person. We have different thoughts, desires and qualities, and the spiritual reality that we read about in The Book of Zohar becomes revealed at their very depth. That is why all our attention and all our expectations should be focused on what we are about to reveal inside us. This should be our primary concern and we should always be thinking about this, trying to discern inner movements and reactions to the words we read. Even if you just imagine them - it doesn't matter; the most important thing is to try and feel these inner movements inside you.
This aspiration in and of itself is already a prayer. First we have to get used to treating the text in this way, and later we will add to this habit a connection among us. In the end, The Book of Zohar was written only in order to create a connection between us. But this connection does not take place between the bodies; it transpires inside each one of us - between the points of all the souls, which are all inside me as well. I have to build this connection inside me: a connection between the image of "myself" and the image of "everyone else." Inside this connection, which I create within, I will build my spiritual vessel of perception (Kli), and in it, I will reveal spirituality.
The Measure For Advancement
The advancement is attained precisely through the disappointments, through the confusions, through the stupor which occur between the states.
And the amazing thing about all this is that although we know and experienced those sensations many times in the past, every time a person is found between the levels, between the states, he is confused and does not feel or grasp a thing: He had nevertheless experienced to a certain degree those discernments of despair, disappointment, anger, and lack of agreement with what is happening with him. But those states progress and eventually he succeeds in overcoming them. In other words, always, the more a person feels that he is advancing further, he also feels every time that he is not advancing. Even so, one must not be calm about these things because opposite states may occur as well.
Therefore the Kabbalists write that the clearest measure for advancement is toward the group, toward the environment. One can always measure how important the social state was for him in the past - how present he is in the group, strengthens it, serves it and creates a unified group - in comparison to what he currently feels. And according to this ladder of importance that is revealed in him, he can see if he is advancing.
Let Go Of The False Engagements!
We must understand that all our engagements in spiritual advancement, other than the love of friends, are imaginary. What does it mean? That these engagements do not bring the desirable gain, meaning spiritual advancement. A person can excel in studies and in many other things, but if he does not attach the intention for adhesion among the friends to all the things that he does, the spiritual vessel is not formed in him, and times go by and he does not hear. And then all of his engagement in the wisdom of Kabbalah is also called "false." Therefore Baal HaSulam puts all hopes of the group on the adhesion among the friends, and in that only.
We Must Not Miss Opportunities For Connection
Question from a Student: What is the inner implementation of love of friends for a person who watches us on television or the internet?
Answer by Dr. Michael Laitman: First of all, make efforts to understand the method of Kabbalah and see in the group that is involved with it something important, very much like an anchor or a lifesaver. The Arvut (mutual guarantee) is that connection, that system in which I can reveal the spiritual world, the Creator. The revelation of the Creator is possible only inside the initially broken connection between the friends. Moreover, you must make efforts to connect to them as much as possible, to appreciate them, and to meet with them in all sorts of opportunities.
Let us assume that they are organizing a gathering, some unity evening or a congress, so I am certainly participating in this and I am certainly coming. And I even want to participate and help with all my strengths in something prior to that event. Those are the only beneficial things. As Baal HaSulam writes in the letter that we read this morning: "Tthe love of friends, the connection between us, is the only means to come to our good future." Therefore we must not miss any opportunity to connect, including physical opportunities occasionally, because it is a very important thing in our state, which nevertheless brings us together.