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March 27, 2023

How You Can Overcome Self-Benefit

How You Can Overcome Self-Benefit

Self-Benefit and the Creator’s Concealment

If we could feel the pleasure of perceiving the Creator in our initial egoistic state, we would never gather enough strength to part with our egoism, to ask the Creator to grant us the willpower to withstand the pull of gratification. Like the night butterflies that rush toward the light that kills them, so we would perish in the flames of pleasure, but still would not be able to resist them.

Only those of us who have experienced the lack of strength in the face of great pleasure understand that we would not be capable of stopping ourselves from deriving pleasure if the enjoyment were greater than the power of our will and our recognition of evil.

The Creator hides from us specifically for our own good in order that we should not be overwhelmed by pleasures and in this way make it possible for us to go in the path of faith, and to acquire vessels of bestowal. If we want to do something that is not for our benefit, then immediately our bodies (egoism) demand an exact accounting as to whether it is worthwhile to do this.


Disregarding The Body’s Complaints against Spirituality

For without a goal, without the reward of pleasure, we are not capable of working, and seek all different kinds of shortcomings, spiritual desires and defects in our spiritual goal or aims. Our bodies first ask, “For what purpose do we need to be involved in this?”

In this situation, the body is called “the evil inclination.” In the stage after this, it disturbs us from accomplishing what we have planned. In this situation it is called “satan” (in Hebrew satan is derived from the verb listot, which means to veer) because it wants to cause us to veer from the path.

After this, it kills our spirituality by taking away all of the feelings of spirituality from our learning and our involvement in Kabbalah, and specifically gives pleasures dressed in the garments of this world—in this situation, it is called “the angel of death.”

There is only one answer to all grievances of the body: “I proceed forward despite what you say to me, on the strength of faith, because so the Creator requires.”

This condition of the Creator is known as “the law of the worlds beyond.” We do not have the strength to hold ourselves back from receiving pleasure unless we first convince ourselves that it is harmful to us. That is to say, we set our minds against our hearts.


Working on Spirituality without Self-Benefit

However, even in this case, it will take no more than a simple calculation of what is for our good: immediate pleasure and subsequent suffering, or avoiding the pleasure and remaining in our current situation. Whenever we reject pleasure, we must give our bodies an exact account why it is not worthwhile for us to derive pleasure from that which came to us.

Thus, we can answer our bodies in the same language that the body understands: either in the language of pleasure, that it is worthwhile to get rid of foolish and occasional pleasures now for the sake of pleasures in the afterworld, or in the language of suffering, to say that it is not worthwhile to have pleasure now, but afterwards endure the suffering of hell. In this manner, we must build the line of defense against our bodies.

We must be aware, however, that in doing this the craving for pleasures can prevent a sensible accounting, and paint a false picture of the correlation between pleasures and suffering. The only sure solution is to tell the body that we have decided to work on spirituality without any gain to ourselves.

In this case, we cut off all the connections between the action and the body, and the body can no longer interfere with its calculations or whether it is worthwhile or not to work. This answer is called “the work of the heart,” since the heart longs for pleasures.

Attaining the Worlds BeyondHow You Can Overcome Self-Benefit” is based on the book, Attaining the Worlds Beyond by Dr. Michael Laitman.


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