Attaining the Worlds Beyond – The Work Along the Three Lines

In the left line, which brings about suffering as a result of the absence of the desired, is awakened a need for the help of the Creator, which comes in the form of light of the soul. In the right line, in a state when a person desires nothing for the self, there exists only the Light of mercy (Ohr Hassadim),the joy from the similarity in spiritual qualities.

But this state is not perfect, because it lacks knowledge and the understanding of the inner meaning. In the left line is no perfection because the Light of wisdom can illuminate only if there is congruence in qualities between the Light received and the recipient of the Light.

The congruence results in Ohr Hassadim, which is found in the right line. Spiritual gains can be made only by having a desire. But the right line has no desire for anything. All the desires are concentrated in the left line. However, the desired cannot be received into the egoistic desires.

Thus, it is necessary to unite these two qualities so that the Light of knowledge and pleasure of the left line can enter the Light of altruistic qualities of the right line, and the Light of the middle line will illuminate the created being. Without the Light of the right line, the Light of the left is not revealed and is perceived only as darkness.

Even when we are still enslaved by our own egoism, the work in the right and the left lines still takes place. However, we do not yet control our desires. Instead, the desires dictate our thoughts and actions, and prevent us from being filled with the Light of congruence with the Creator (Ohr Hassadim) and the Light of ultimate comprehension (Ohr Hochma).

Rather, we are only capable of pronouncing the names of the worlds, the sefirot and kelim. In such a state. it is especially effective to study the construction of the spiritual worlds and their effects, that is, Kabbalah, to help us develop the desire to come closer to the Creator. In the process, we begin to desire to resemble the objects that are being studied, and hence, draw upon ourselves grace from the upper realms, though we do not perceive this process, due to the lack of spiritual senses.

But the spiritual forces affect us only if we are studying for the sake of coming closer (in qualities) to the spiritual. Only in this case do we bring upon us the purifying effect of the surrounding Light. It can be observed in numerous cases, though, that without the proper guidance, we may know what is contained in the Kabbalah books, and may even engage in “meaningful” discussions on the topic.

Nevertheless, we may never truly grasp the emotional essence of what we learned. But those who attain spiritual levels through their own work, even the most insignificant, already exist in the shell of our world, and are engaged in the task for which they descended into this world.

On the other hand, the knowledge and the memory of the “smart ones” often increases their egoism and doubts, and thus pushes them further away from their goal.

This is because the Light derived from the study of Kabbalah can be a life-saving medicine (sam hachaim), or a deadly poison (sam hamavet).

Beginners cannot discern between those who truly perceive (Kabbalists) and those who study Kabbalah as just another social science. For beginners, the work along the three lines is focused on analyzing their own states, rather than on attaining the Upper Light, the focus of those who already perceive.

In the right line, also known as the state of “giving,” hesed, or faith above reason, we are happy with the lot that was given to us, with our fate, and with what the Creator has given us, since we regard this as our greatest gift. This is regardless of the fact that we carry out the commandments of the Creator without grasping their inner meaning, but rather based on our own upbringing or the acceptance upon ourselves of certain obligations and self-education.

But this state is not yet considered as the right line because the left line is absent. Only when the opposite state appears can we speak of either one of the lines. Thus, only after we are inclined towards critically assessing ourselves, only after we appraise our own achievements, only after we determine the true goals of our lives, only when we critically appraise the results of our own efforts, only then will we obtain the left line.

What is important here is the goal of creation. We determine that, in essence, our goal is to receive pleasure from the Creator. At the same time, we feel that we have not experienced this even once.

In the course of our studies, we learn that this can occur only when a congruence of qualities exists between us and the Creator. Thus, we are obligated to examine our own desires and aspirations, to judge them as objectively as we can, to control and analyze everything, in order to determine if we are truly moving toward renouncing egoism and acquiring love for other people.

If as students we see that we remain in the state of egoistic desires and have not progressed toward a better condition, we often feel despair and apathy. Moreover, we sometimes discover that not only do we remain amidst our egoistic desires, but we find that they have increased since we acquired desires for pleasure that once we considered as low, petty, ephemeral, and unworthy.

It is clear that in this state it becomes difficult to continue to observe the commandments and to study with our previous joy; rather, we fall into despair and disappointment, and regret the time wasted, as well as efforts we made and deprivations we have suffered. We thus rebel against the goal of creation.

This state is known as “the left line” because it is in need of correction. We have now perceived our own emptiness and must turn to the right line, to the feelings of completeness, satisfaction, and full happiness with our lot. Previously, it was not considered that we were in the right line because we were still in one line, simply because there was no second line, and thus, no self-criticism existed.

But if, after a genuine realization of personal imperfection in the second line, we return to the first line, that is to the feeling of perfection (against our actual state and feelings), then we are considered to be acting along the two lines, not simply the first and the second, but along two opposite lines – the right and the left.

The entire path of renouncing egoism and departing from the narrow boundaries of personal interests is built on the basis of the right line. It is said that we must break away from “our own” interests, which are the ephemeral, petty and constantly changing desires of our bodies. They were given to us from Above not for accepting them as the goal of life, but so that we would renounce them for the sake of attaining eternal, supreme, absolute perceptions of spiritual pleasure, and uniting with the ultimately Supreme that exists in the universe, that is, with the Creator.

But to break away from personal thoughts and desires is impossible, since we do not perceive anything other than ourselves. One thing in our condition we may believe is in the existence of the Creator, in His complete dominion, in the goal of His creation, in the necessity to reach this goal despite the complaints of our bodies.

A faith in that which is not perceived – the faith in something that is above our understanding – is known as “faith above reason.”

Precisely after the left line it is time for us to pass into such a perception of reality as explained above.

We are happy to have merited carrying out the Will of the Creator, despite the fact that as a result of our egoistic desires, we have attained no pleasure or enjoyment from this. However, despite these feelings, we do believe that we have received a special gift from the Creator.

Thus, even though we are in such a state, nonetheless we are able to carry out the Creator’s Will specifically in this manner; and not like most people who do it either to receive pleasure or as a result of their upbringing and education, without even being conscious of their mechanical acts.

We also realize that we are acting contrary to our bodies, that is, we are internally on the side of the Creator rather than on the side of the body. We believe that everything emanates from Above, from the Creator, through a special connection to us. Therefore, we value such a gift from the Creator, and draw inspiration from it, as if we were awarded the highest spiritual perception.

Only in such a case is the first line known as the right line, as perfection, because the joy comes to us not from our own condition but from the relation of the Creator us that allowed us to act outside the boundaries of selfish egoistic desires. In such a state, though we may still be enslaved by egoism, we can receive spiritual illumination from Above.

Although the Upper Illumination has not yet entered us because Light cannot enter egoistic desires, this Light nevertheless surrounds us (ohr makif) and bonds us with the spiritual. It also helps us realize that even the most minute connection with the Creator is already a great reward and pleasure. As for the perception of the Light, we must tell ourselves that it is not in our power to appraise the actual value of the Light.

The right line is also called “the truth” because we can clearly understand that we have not yet attained the spiritual level, and do not lie to ourselves. Rather, we say that what we received comes from the Creator, even our most bitter conditions. Thus faith above reason is very valuable, because there is a contact with the Creator.

We can see, then, that the right line is built on the clear realization of the absence of spiritual perception and on the bitter feeling of personal worthlessness. This is followed by our departure from egoistic calculations toward actions based on the principle, “not what I will gain, but what the Creator desires.”

If we realize that we are the object of special attention from the Creator, and that we possess a special relation to Kabbalah and to the commandments, while most others are busy with petty calculations related to the mundane concerns of life, then our considerations are reasonable.

Still, these considerations are the products of the intellect. They are not above reason. We must, however, tell ourselves that even though we are happy in the present state, we must proceed by faith above reason, so that our delight may be built on our faith.

The left line, on the other hand, is built on verifying the genuine nature of our love for other human beings; on determining if we are capable of altruistic actions, and of selfless deeds. It is also build on checking if we truly do not wish to receive any reward for our efforts.

If, after such calculations, we see that we are incapable of giving up our interests even to a small degree, then we have no choice but to beg the Creator for redemption. For this reason, the left line brings us to the Creator.

The right line gives us the possibility of thanking the Creator for the feeling of His perfection. But it does not give us a perception of his true state – the state characterized by absolute ignorance, and by the complete absence of the connection to the spiritual. Thus, it does not bring us to prayer, and without prayer it is impossible to comprehend the light of Kabbalah.

In the left line, however, we attempt to overcome our true state with our own willpower, and thus come to realize that we do not possess sufficient strength for such a task. Only then do we begin to discern our need for help from Above, since we see that only supernatural powers can help us. Only through the left line can we attain the desired end.

But it is important to understand that the two lines must be balanced so that each is utilized equally. Only then will a middle line emerge, combining the right and the left line into a single line.

If one line is greater than the other, it will prevent the two from merging, since that line will perceive itself as more beneficial in a given situation. Thus, the two lines must be absolutely equal.

The benefit from this difficult task of increasing the two lines equally is in this, that on their foundation a person receives the middle line, the Upper Light, which is revealed and perceived specifically on the experiences of the two lines.

The right gives perfection because one believes in the perfection of the Creator. Since the Creator governs the world, just He and no one else, then if egoism were not to be taken into account, then a person is in perfection.

The left line gives a critical evaluation of one’s state and a feeling of one’s imperfection. It is of critical importance to be concerned that the left line should under no circumstances remain greater than the right. (In practical terms, an individual should spend 23.5 hours a day in the right line, and allow oneself only one half-hour to activate the egoistic deliberations).

The right line should be so pronounced that there should be no need for any other attributes in order to attain the feeling of absolute happiness. This process symbolizes the controlled departure from personal egoistic deliberations. Thus, it signifies perfection, since it requires nothing else to feel joy.

This occurs because all considerations pertain to all that is outside of the body – all that is together with the Creator, rather than to the inner needs of the body. Shifting to the left line involves a transition from the right line to the left, and back. We should consciously undertake it at a certain set time, and with certain preset conditions, not just according to our mood.

We then find that not only have we not progressed in our perception and understanding of the spiritual, but our normal daily lives have become worse than they had been previously. Instead of moving forward, we then withdraw even more to our egoism.

In such a state, we must immediately shift to prayer to correct our situation. On this, it is said in the Bible that the exodus from Egypt (egoism) occurred when they were in the very last, forty-ninth state of impure desires. Only when we completely realize all of the depth and evil of our egoism and cry for help, does the Creator elevate us, and give us the middle line, bestowing upon us a soul, light of the Creator, from Above. This begins to illuminate us and gives us the powers to shift to altruism and to be born in the spiritual world.

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