All of reality exists in the single thought of Creation. It is unbound by time and ever-flowing. Kabbalists want to access the unchanging, infinite energy that exists in this thought of the Upper system of Creation. Attaining spirituality is the ability to develop a sense of the Upper World, the thought of Creation manifested as the light of the Creator. This goal depends on a properly formed group of people aimed towards unity, oneness and love.
Israel was once in a perfect state of light and connection. The desire for oneness will restore this when humans learn to live in the light of the Creator. Anyone with the right desire has the opportunity to realize this goal, in the same breadth and measure as Adam, Moses and King David.
This seems unreachable in today’s world, which is so distant from divinity. In our desire, everything we do is for our own benefit, because we live in complete darkness. When we achieve spirituality, we awaken the light and our perception is shaped by our ability to “love thy friend as thyself.”
Achieving this perception of the world as a single system of love and connection is done in four stages. Though a simple process to understand, these stages are complicated by the limitations of humankind’s perception. This corruption of thought and desire, is why few people attain spirituality in the world today.
For Adam, this process was relatively easy, as he had a pure and simple desire. He was not corrupted the egoistic development that exists in the world today that distances us from the light of God. In our advancement, it will feel like we are moving backwards and forwards. There are number of reasons for this, but the main obstacle is that as human beings without vessels of bestowal (a desire to give to others without self-concern) a person can’t perceive bestowal. We don’t even know what bestowal is. Whenever we strive to build this desire, our bodies fight us, because our default setting is to receive pleasure only for own benefit.
Adding to the confusion, time is not linear in spirituality. This is the result of all the phases being a single interconnected process. All four phases are dependent on each other, develop gradually and are included in each discernment of the four phases. Everything one experiences in his or her spiritual growth is dependent on how one is tuned that system. This includes all the discernments and levels of attainment, which are processed through the entire system of all five worlds. These worlds constitute the totality of reality, which is only light and darkness that a person in spirituality receives through filters.
This is the system where the Creator’s light flows through man above time and space, connecting man to the reality of God. While many have faith in a Creator, only by accessing the vessels of bestowal and becoming part of the system can one know Him.
This system is only built by a person’s connection with a Kabbalah group, through connection to the original sources and the hearts of others. One cannot overcome his or her own nature by one’s own forces, so a person depends on a group to hold him. More precisely, one becomes dependent on a microcosm of his or her group, “the ten.” A ten is a minion of ten Kabbalists that function as a single body to build the ten parts of each world from malchut (mouth, reception) to keter (crown, bestowing light, wisdom) and back to malchut in an elliptical process.
When one first receives the light, it’s a small opening derived from a spark. One has a point in the heart that compels him or her to want to understand the meaning of the world. This person senses a force is operating them and they want to know that unchanging force of the Creator. He is only infinite light of pure goodness. A person progressively receives greater portions of the light by becoming more and more like the Creator. While by and large the Kabbalists were Jewish, the soul of Creation extends to everyone regardless of race, religion or nationality.
If a person has this desire they are part of the shattering, the broken vessel of the system of Adam HaRishon, one of the 600,000 disconnected pieces born 5700 years ago when Eve ate from the tree of knowledge. While this is the image the Torah provides, she didn’t actually bite from the apple of the serpent. Adam’s desire for knowledge is the meaning of the above-mentioned parable. He was the first person whose knowledge allowed him to split the spiritual from the corporeal. So, though he sinned with his desire for knowledge, he also created the Creator with his curiosity. Before him, life was only animalistic pleasure without free will.
There have been a few times when the shattering Adam instigated was corrected. If you have a point in the heart, your soul has a memory (reshimot) of when Israel was connected as one, as it was in Abraham’s tent, at Moses’ reception of the Torah at Mount Sinai and during the first and second temples of Jerusalem. In all these corporeal forms, the light of the Creator was the same as the people.
Each phase of direct light orients us closer to this state, where we can feel the Creator’s unchanging, infinite force in more flavor and precision. This infinite force cannot be described in words, but we call it Atzmutot (His essence). The Creator is always giving us infinite light, but we are not in tune with it. It’s like we’re receiving empty white noise from a radio and need to adjust to the right station. Together in a single intention we can turn the dial and restore Israel to a state of sanctity. This adjustment happens in four phases of direct light.
The first stage in this process is Behina Aleph, which means first phase. This is the first level of reception from the broken vessel of Adam HaRishon. The vessel receives knowledge (hochma) of bestowal. This is the previously described awakening of the point in the heart, the first discernment that man makes in his will to receive for one’s self. One’s reason tells a person that it is better to give to others than to receive for one’s own benefit.
In the second phase (Behina Bet), like Adam HaRishon, one crosses the machsom, the barrier between corporeality and spirituality. One has knowledge that it is better to bestow than to receive, but the body only has a desire for self-reception. This results in the body rejecting the light of the Creator. This rejection is the source of the conception of the sephira (one of ten sephirot, attributes of the Creator contained in each world) bina (goodness, strength). This is working above one’s nature to the build the quality of bestowal. The quality of bestowal is built in the man by emptying his or her vessel, creating a state of complete darkness in the vessel for the light to enter.
The third phase (Behina Gimel) is where one builds Zeir Anpin (small face), the partially revealed aspect of the Creator. This is where one has awareness of the Creator operating him in his senses, as he or she is illuminated with the light of Hassadim (mercy). Light of Hassadim sorts out the contradiction of the light of bina and the light of hochma, and better orients a person to receive the light, so he or she will eventually be able to bestow it to others through his connection to those with the same desire.
The Creator’s mercy brings the created being perception of the thought of Creation, turning one’s self into a creature by rising above the aforementioned mixed discernments and receiving a small portion of the Creator’s light (20%) in the first world of Adam Kadmon. This degree of light is illuminated on the first world always, but the receiver perceives it differently depending on the differences in klipot (shells that block the Creator’s light), concealments of faith, and masachim (screens, blockages in the purity of the soul).
The reception of the light of Hassadim brings about the final phase of direct light (Behina Dalet). This is the degree of malchut (mouth, reception, king). Malchut is the desire to become like the Creator, to receive the light of the Creator in order to bestow contentment to him by bestowing to his creatures. The creature achieves independence from the Creator by achieving equivalence of form with him, but his or her desire is only for the Creator to feel joy and rid him of the suffering the uncorrected creatures cause him.
When a group of many Assyria’s work for this desire, the result is the foundation of a vessel. This vessel is built to be oriented to the will of the Creator, both for the Assyria and the individual, which become one. A mutual deficiency (hissaron) gives the group the power to inherit the Torah. The Assyria’s and the group itself receives from Him, the ability to receive in order to bestow. The group becomes like the arms and legs of the Creator. This is why the great Kabbalist Baal HaSulam writes, “The Torah (light), the Creator and Israel (the Kabbalah group) are one.”