The Egoist’s Guide to Spiritual Advancement
Placing Complete Trust in the Creator
When the desire for spirituality washes up in a person one enthusiastically jumps into the framework. But if we want to engage in self-improvement and study Kabbalah, then the body immediately poses the question: Why is this necessary?
There are four answers to this question:
1. In order to spite others. This is the worst of all possible reasons because it aims to cause suffering to another.
2. In order to receive a good position, honor, and money; to find a promising match for oneself. This goal is better than the first because it will bring something useful to others. This is regarded as “working for others,” since other people will compensate the person expending the effort.
3. In order to let only the Creator know about one’s studies and efforts to improve oneself, but to keep it secret from others, thus avoiding being honored by others. Only a reward from the Creator is desired. This is regarded as working for the Creator, because one awaits the reward only from the Creator.
4. In order that the Creator will accept all the fruits of one’s labors, while the laborer expects no reward in return. And only in this case will egoism pose the question: “What will you get for this?” There is no reasonable answer that can be given to oneself, so the solution is to proceed contrary to one’s reason and feelings; that is, above one’s reason and feelings.
In this manner, one’s entire task comes down to a single effort to separate reason and feelings from the process of critically evaluating one’s own state. Consequently, one places complete trust in the Creator.
Spirituality’s Greatness Is Built from Longing
All personal efforts should involve concentrating all thoughts and feelings on the Creator and on the grandeur of spiritual life. But should the inner voice of reason challenge one, advancing arguments for refocusing on the issues of daily life, that person should answer. , “All that is required is indeed being fulfilled.”
At the same time, every thought and desire should be for the benefit of the Creator. Moreover, one must refuse to accept the whole criticism of this inner voice, even when one finds oneself as if suspended in midair, without any concrete rational and mental foundation. Such a state is known as being “above reason and feelings” (lema’la me ada’at).
The greater the pleasure received from a certain possession, the more valuable one considers that possession. The more one values something, the more one fears losing it.
How can a person arrive at the realization of the importance of the spiritual without having experienced spirituality? This realization comes to one precisely while in the state of a spiritual vacuum, when one is troubled by the lack of even the smallest perception of the grandeur of the spiritual. That is, one feels far removed from the Creator, and unable to change oneself.
Creating the Conditions to Receive Spirituality
Since the goal of the Creator is to benefit His creations (meaning us, since everything else is created by Him only for auxiliary purposes), then until a person discerns the quintessence of receiving pleasure and stops seeing deficiencies in quality, level, etc., that person still has not attained the goal of creation.
But in order to receive pleasure, which is the goal of creation, one must first undertake the correction of one’s own desire to be gratified. One must be gratified simply because the Creator desires this.
We need not worry about receiving pleasure, since as soon as this correction is made, we will immediately feel the pleasure. Thus, we should concentrate on the task of correcting our desire to receive pleasure—our vessel.
All efforts should be directed towards creating the conditions necessary to receive the Light, not on the Light itself. When we focus on cultivating altruistic thoughts and desires in ourselves; then we will feel the spiritual pleasure immediately.
Converting the Desires of the Heart
It is correct to denote the Higher Spiritual Worlds as “anti- worlds” in relation to us, since in our world all the laws of nature are built on the basis of egoism, on striving to grab and to understand.
In contrast, the nature of the Higher Worlds is absolute altruism—the striving to give and to have faith. The foundations of the spiritual and the material natures are so diametrically opposed that there is no similarity between them.
Thus, all our attempts to imagine what takes place in the other world will not yield any result. Only by converting desires of the heart from “to grab” into “to give,” and changing the desires of the intellect from “to understand” into “to believe” contrary to reason, will we receive the spiritual perceptions.
Both desires are connected to each other, even though the desire to grab is found in the heart and the desire to understand is found in the brain. This is because the foundation of both is egoism.
Exiting Egoism Requires the Creator’s Help
Mere faith in the Creator is not sufficient. This faith has to exist for the sake of the Creator, rather than for an individual’s personal benefit. A prayer is regarded as turning to the Creator in order to arouse a desire in Him to help the seeker, through prayer, attain a feeling of reverence for, and the grandeur of, the Creator.
It is only such turning towards Him that makes the Creator react by elevating the praying person to the Highest World, and by revealing to this person His whole grandeur. In this way, one can receive the strength to rise above one’s own nature.
Only by receiving the Light of the Creator, which provides sufficient strength to overcome one’s own egoistic nature, does a person have the sensation of having reached eternity and certainty.
Nothing can now change in the person. In fact, there can be no return to egoism, but instead, there will be eternal existence in the spiritual world. For this reason, such a person will perceive the present and the future as equal, thus producing the feeling of having attained eternity.