Kabbalah Revealed #3
The Path of Pain the Path of Torah and Mitzvot
Lecture presented for the American television channel, Shalom TV
July 21, 2006
- Bold and indented: Original text of Baal HaSulam
- lowercase italics: emphasized words
- Capitalized Italics: transliteration from Hebrew
Hello again and welcome to Kabbalah Revealed. I’m Tony Kosinec.
Last time we spoke about the force of development; the progression of desires;and the way in which reality moves us along the path of development. We spoke about the quality that is the definition of the Upper Worlds, the Spiritual Worlds; the quality that is the definition of the physical worlds and what it is about the way that we perceive that makes the Spiritual Worlds the greater reality hidden from us.
We looked at the progression of desires. We saw that there were four categories of desires that are considered physical, and that because of the Thought of Creation, which is to create a creature and bring that creature to unbounded delight, itmust progress by means of what the Creator finds delightful.
And so, all expression of development from the Thought of Creation is expressed through a lack and a filling. We saw that desires progressed from simple desires (animal desiresfor sex, for shelter, food, and family), and when that was filled, we moved onto greater desire, which was a desire for wealth, which is an accumulation of the first one.When that desire feels empty to us, because we are still feeling something driving us, something that’s pushing us ahead, something that’s pulling us forward, we feel that thing as a kind of a taste, as something that we must have, and we move towards it,and once we have it, we can’t taste it anymore. But this is the force of development moving us on. From wealth, we move onto fame, power. Once we fill that, we are moved on by our emptiness into knowledge. Once we find knowledge empty, we find ourselves in a confusing situation in which nothing from this world can satisfy us. If you recall, it’s at that point at which a completely new level of development becomes accessible to us.
The Path of Pain & The Path of Torah and Mitzvot
When that special desire enters the heart from the spiritual, which is qualities of the will to bestow, it changes everything within the human heart. The human heart—when we hear the term “heart” in Kabbalah, it means the sum total of all desires that a person has—this heartis still filled with desires that come from the physical world. These are still the things from categories one, two, three and four.
This desire, which is a desire to reach the spiritual, is called “Israel,” from two Hebrew words, Yashar, meaning “straight,” and El, meaning “God”—a desire for a direct connection with God. These corporeal desires are called “nations,”“the nations of the world,”in other words, the desires of the physical world.
Up until this point, the force of development, the way in which desire moved us, until we came to a point where we actually needed to feel what was above the physical world, happened in an unconscious way. But from now on it has to happen in a conscious way because this point in the heart is a spiritual gene; it’s like the embryo of the soul. The soul is kind of a desire and it must be filled; the heart must be filled with this desire, it must fill everything despite these corporeal desires. In other words, all of the desires that we have,have to undergo a transformation, a correction. And it’s by correcting these desires that the desire to go directly to God can be fulfilled.
Now why is that? In our original state, at the root of our soul, we were connected to the Creator as “the Creator and the creature.” In fact these are the only two things that exist in creation: the Creator and the creature. And here, we were adhered to the Creator as one being, as one unified creature. But because of the Thought of Creation, which is to create a creature and fill it with delight, that was only the starting point, it was the beginning of the system. And this quality of the creature, which is the will to receive, started to expand purposefully, and as a result of the expansion of this quality, of this desire to receive for myself alone, a greater diversity in quality started to grow between the quality of the Creator(which is bestowal), and the quality of the creature (which is reception).
As this egoistic intention expanded, the first creature, the whole creature, the collective soul called “Adam ha Rishon” (meaning, the first man) descended through a system of worlds, through 125 steps to greater and greater egoism until the soul reached a point in which it became separated into what appears to be physicality. That is, the collective soul was shattered into 600,000 parts,each one of these parts having a piece of the original; each one of these parts a desire. Now, because this is a process—and this is only the half-way point—this broken, shattered aspect of the collective soul in which we experience isolation, separation from each other, a kind of antagonism towards each other, a desire to exploit each other, and an experience of the physical world, is the half-way point and it is going to be corrected. It is going to rise back up through this system of worlds, back into this state of adhesion with the Creator, but it can’t do it all at once. So purposefully, it was broken into 600,000 parts.
Each one of these parts was likewise broken down into 613 desires. That is, each individual desire within Adam ha Rishon consists of 613 desires that can be corrected; the parts are small enough. It’s like dividing a huge treasure and giving a coin to each person knowing that each one will return this quality of bestowal.This point in the heart that’s placed inside of it can be trusted to bring that point back to its origin and put the treasure back together as a collective once again.
Soin the point in the heart of the individual who begins to feel this desire for spirituality, this coin from the treasury of the King, plus the 612 other desires that exist in the heart must be transformed bit by bit to resemble to a greater degree the quality of the Creator, to reverse this process.
Now the thing is, this process of the return of the correction (Tikkun), of the transformation, of the fulfillment of the Thought of Creation, it’s going to happen, and all of us, all 600,000 pieces of the collective soul are going to rejoin, and are going to ascend from physical selfish perceptions and a world of suffering back into a complete and whole interrelationship with each other in such a way that we will reach the goal of creation, which is adhesion to the Creator and the complete filling of the greatest unbounded desire. It’s going to happen. But the question is, will it happen consciously, with our agreement, or will we be pushed to it?
You see, there’s one goal, and the goal is assured, but there are two paths to the goal: One path is called “the path of pain” and the other path is called “the path of Torah and Mitzvot.”
The path of pain is the path that we are all already on. It’s not even really a path. It’s what we see as the slow, grinding, evolution of humanity that we call “history.” It is a kind of clinging to our physical way of perceiving, to the characteristic that we really need to transform.And as a result of this non-conscious involvement with the process of development, we find ourselves being pushed by events. We see catastrophes, we see tsunamis, we see wars, we have personal experiences in our lives; experiences of pain, experiences of suffering, that are caused only by the lack of conscious involvement with the process of the development of desires in their correction. This path can go on and on, and on, and it’s disastrous. Once the point in the heart appears in a person though, it becomes a conscious involvement, and this is the path of Torahand Mitzvot.
Torah means “instruction by the Light,” and Mitzvot means a transformation of a quality of one of the 613 desires from its egoistic expression to its altruistic expression.
Every event that happens in our lives is really a Mitzva, a possibility for transformation being presented to us. Now, when I say the word Mitzva, I don’t mean like the physical commandments where you are instructed to do a certain thing.And there is a list of all these things in the Shulchan Aruch, in the Table of Jewish Law and so on—Do this physical thing now. I’m not saying don’t do the physical thing,but what I mean is that this is an inner correction; it’s a correction of desire. So whether you do the external good deed—whether it’s a religious good deed or whether it’s something that we consider to be something nice for somebody else—you can do any external deed and you can be filled with hatred and selfishness. You can’t measure anything by that. We’re talking about one of these 613 desires that’s presented to us as an event in our life.
Our entire lives are planned in such a way by this process of development to present to us the opportunity to take what we first feel as a desire to receive for myself in a given situation, and transform that into its altruistic form to try to understand what the thought of the Creator is, the Thought behind giving me that situation, because as you remember, the only way that we progress along spiritual space is by altering a quality within me, to resemble that quality in spirituality that I want to enter. Thus, what it is that I want to know according to this new desire, this desire straight for the Creator, is that I want to know the Creator; I want to have a direct sensation. I want to feel in my desires, in the tangible things that occur in my life, what is the Thought of the One, of the Upper One, of that Upper Level that gave me this perfect, structured situation; thatgave me this opportunity, like a birthday present, for me to take it first in its corrupted form, and by analyzing and seeing what it is, feeling what His Thought is behind it,that’s a Mitzva; that’s Tikkun—that’s transformation.
These 125 states by which we descended from our connection to the complete realitydown into our separated status, as individual people and desires, these 125 steps are also completely encompassed by these 613 Mitzvot, so that the correction of these transformations will bring the individual all the way back up the ladder.
Another feature of this is that each and every level of descent is imprinted in us as a gene.Every point by which a greater and greater degree of the will to receive was added is remembered by us, like breadcrumbs on a path. This being the first spiritual gene, this point in the heart, our access to ascent, is actually the entry point on a chain of spiritual genetics called “Reshimot,”remembrances, and all of the events that happen in our lives, that bridge us between these 613 transformations of the will to receive, to the will to bestow that bond us to the Creator.Each event is laid out for us in a perfect pattern so that we have the opportunity to recognize what it is that we need to do.
Now this action of correction and transformation, this Tikkun, is not doneby us;it’s done as a result of a desire that we have to make this contact with Spiritual Light. And as a result of the desire that we have, the work is done by the Light. It’s an action doneon us by Surrounding Light.
The Zohar says:“When a person comes to purify themselves, they are helped from Above.” In other words, it’s as a result of a gut-level need that used to be a need for those four corporeal desires being transformed into a greater and greater need to know what the quality of bestowal actually is. We can’t reach this ourselves. This work is called “the work of God,” not because we go out there like a bunch of nice soldiers and do the job that God assigned us; it’s because the work itself of transformation, purification, Tikkun, is doneon us by the Light as a result of an expanded desire. But don’t be confused by the word “Light.” Don’t think of it as a physical thing. Remember that the quality of the Spiritual World is a quality of attributes; it’s a quality of intention, feeling-states.
If you want to feel the contrast between your intention and the intention of the Light, then you can’t simply have a desire and have it filled directly by some kind of pleasure the way that we do that in the physical world. In order to feel the difference between our state and the state of the Light, the“my intention” and the intention of the Light, it’s necessary to have a sensor, something that can feel the Light. And this sensor must be an intention. It’s called “a screen.” This is what we referred to in our last show as the additional sense, the sixth sense.
This screen acts as a resonator, a contrast point between the desire that sends this which is given by the Light.Rather than having it just go directly in, it hits this screen and it causes a sensation, a sensation of difference between the intention here [Tony points to Kli] and the intention here [Tony points to Light]. And this screen, or Masach, is the tool. This is the way in which we can turn the will to receive, which is our matter and the only tool that we have to work with, into something very different. We can begin to feel and receive the Light only according to an intention that matches the intention of the Spiritual World. We will deal with this more later. But what happens when this can actually occur, when the feeling in here, the intention in the screen, is the same as the intention in the Light. This is called “a corrected desire.” And this contrast creates a need in us, the right need, a particular need. It builds a lack in a particular direction. It makes us want to feel what we don’t have, and that is the sensation of the Light, the Thought, the intention behind the Light. And it moves us in the intended direction of greater and greater correction.
Every time that a desire moves in transformation from its corrupted form into its perfected form—a transformation from its will to receive to the will to bestow—this puts us in touch with eternity.It connects us more and more to the Thought behind the entire process. Not only does it do that for this one particular desire, and for one individual, but as a result of the connection, the interconnection in Adam ha Rishon, that part of person number 1, that desire within person number 1, like a hologram, becomes corrected in each one of the other desires and reconnects them to each other. So, it raises not only the person who does the correction, but their entire world, so that our perception of our reality, the reason that things happen, the Thought behind it, whether or not good and bad things are occurring, this changes. A person can feel the total goodness behind the guidance of the entire system, and is no longer fooled by physical ideas of what’s good and evil.
This perception of the love behind the process is really what enlightenment is. Now we see good and bad events surrounding us, things that we want to happen and things that we feel should not happen. This sense that we do something right or we do something wrong, that we makea certain act and we’re punished for it, that there is a good force and a bad force in reality—this is not reality. This is the way that it appears to the will to receive, and enlightenment means that we can see, despite anything that appears to us, what the real, unifying Thought is behind that.
Join us next time when we look at the force of development, the reason for suffering and how we can rise above that.