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July 24, 2024

How to Navigate Your Spiritual Advancement

How to Navigate Your Spiritual Advancement

Assessing Progress Along the Spiritual Path

Our path is to lead us to a gradual alteration of our qualities until they are exactly like those of the Creator. The only quality of the Creator that defines His Essence is the complete absence of any trace of egoism.

This is followed by the lack of any thought about oneself, or one’s condition and power—a lack of all that comprises the essence of our thoughts and our aspirations. But since we exist in this world in a specific outer covering, we must care for the bare essentials to maintain this casing. This is not considered to be a sign of egoism.

In general, we can determine whether a thought or a desire of the body is egoistic by a simple test: If we want to be free from a thought, but our survival depends on it, then such a thought or action is considered to be involuntary, not egoistic, and thus does not separate us from the Creator. The Creator advances us towards our goal in the following manner: He endows us with a “bad” desire or with suffering, which can be compared to moving forward with the left foot.

If we find within us the strength to ask the Creator for help, then the Creator will give us a “good” desire or pleasure, which can be compared to the forward movement with the right foot. Once again, we receive from Above an even stronger bad desire or doubts about the Creator, and once again, with an even greater effort of the will, we must ask Him to help us.

The Creator will help by giving us an even greater good desire, and so on.

In such a manner, we move forward. There is no backward motion. The purer the desires, the farther a person is from the initial point of absolute egoism. The motion forward can be described in many ways, but it is always an alternating advancement through all the feelings.


Developing a Desire for Spiritual Advancement

After a feeling of something spiritual, a subconscious sensing of the existence of the Creator, it is followed by a feeling of trust, which then brings about a feeling of joy. Afterwards, this feeling begins to fade away, indicating that we rose to another step of spiritual ascension, which we cannot perceive because of our lack of sensory organs with which we could fully experience it. Since we have not yet achieved the next level through suffering, toil and work (have not built the appropriate vessels), the perception of the next level has not yet been born.

The new sensory organs for the next stage (the desire for pleasure, and the feeling of suffering due to the lack of this pleasure) can be developed in two ways:

1. The Way of Kabbalah: Here, we begin to perceive the Creator, then lose our connection. In its place appears suffering because we cannot feel pleasure.

The suffering is necessary in order for us to eventually feel pleasure.

In such a manner, then, are born new sensory organs to allow us to perceive the Creator at each consecutive stage. As in our world, without a desire for a goal or object, we are not able to experience pleasure from it .

The differences between people, and between man and animal, are determined by what they choose to bring them pleasure. Therefore, spiritual advancement is not possible without first feeling a lack. We must suffer from the lack of what we desire.


The Way of Pleasure or Suffering

2. The Way of Suffering: If one were unable through effort, studies, appeals to the Creator, and entreaties of friends to elevate oneself to new desires to love and fear the Creator; if one displayed shallowness of thought, disrespect for the spiritual, and a pull towards base pleasures, then that person would descend to the level of evil powers.

In this case, the person would step along the left lane in the corresponding levels of the evil (egoistic) worlds ABYA (Azilut, Beria, Yetzira, Assiya). However, the suffering would become a vessel into which a new perception of the Creator can be received.

Progress made through the way of Kabbalah differs from the way of suffering, in that we are given the Light of the Creator. This is a feeling of the Creator’s Presence, which is then taken from us.

When we lack this pleasure, we begin to long for the Light. This longing is the vessel, or new set of sensory organs, through which we can try to receive a perception of the Creator. These goals pull us forward until we receive the desired perceptions.


The Reward at the Path’s End

When we advance by means of suffering, we are pushed from behind by the suffering, unlike the path of Kabbalah, where we advance by way of the desire for pleasure. The Creator directs us in accordance with His Plan—to bring us, to transfer each and every one of us and all of mankind, in this life or in coming lives, to the final point of this path at which He is found.

This path represents steps we will take to draw closer to Him as we take on more of His characteristics. Only by merging our qualities with those of the Creator will we gain a true perception of the creation of the world and see that nothing else exists but the Creator.


Attaining the Worlds BeyondHow to Navigate Your Spiritual Advancement” is based on the book, Attaining the Worlds Beyond by Dr. Michael Laitman.

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