All posts by Michael

The Dance

One of my most favorite Kabbalah teachers (Karen Berg) said this in regards to this week’s Torah reading…..

“I like Garth Brooks; in fact, I like country music in general. One of my favorite songs by Garth Brooks is “The Dance.“ If you know of it, you may remember these lyrics:

“I could have missed the pain, but I’d have had to miss the dance”

This makes me wonder: How often do we miss out on good things just because we are afraid to face the short-term pain?

Now let me first clarify that the pain I am talking about is not necessarily physical pain.

Rather, I am talking about the times that we want to avoid the “pain” or discomfort of speaking the truth, so instead of speaking up, we stay quiet.

I am talking about the times when we want to avoid our responsibility to say, “It is not right. I am not going to allow this to happen,” because we don’t want people to judge us or our families to be upset with us. I am talking about the times when we sidetrack our responsibility to do or say something that could potentially bring about positivity.

This week, by facing the uncomfortable head on, we can set ourselves on the path to reveal our potential—to become who we can be—which, after all, is our purpose in life.

Sure, we can try to avoid pain (it’s not terribly hard to do), but when we do, it may also mean that we miss the dance.”

The Growth of The Soul

This stage in the physical/material world is The Growth and The Acquisition of the necessary knowledge and reason that enable the person to avoid everything harmful to the body by generally taking care of himself with his own strength, as well as the father’s and mother’s strength; Childhood through adolescent…

What does “growth” mean in the spiritual? Does it mean to become fatter or taller, as in our world? Yes: “fatter” with regard to the light Hassadim means to increase one’s desire to bestow. “Taller” with regard to the light Hochma means that a person acquires an immense ability to receive light for the sake of the Creator.

A person acquires knowledge by receiving the light Hochma. However, he is able to receive this light (Hochma) only when it is clothed into the light Hassadim, meaning into the intention “for the sake of the Creator” or the altruistic intentions.

This way, the light Hochma is able to enter into the altruistic desires, and this is the light that gives us knowledge about how to withstand the impure forces.

What does it mean when we say “impure forces?” We think that our desires are given to us for our benefit, because having desires enables us to receive and perceive pleasures.

Therefore, we think that all the things that “sparkle” and attract us with their pleasures are good for us. And generally, we think that “pleasure” and “good for us” are the same thing.

In reality, however, a person attains the realization (or awareness) of evil when he understands that “egoistic pleasure” and “evil” are the same thing.

In the spiritual worlds the spiritual impure forces tell a person about the great spiritual pleasures he will receive if he follows his desires (that is, the desires given to him by the impure forces as if they were his own.)

Let’s pause here and take a few minutes to become aware of the spiritual worlds. I have two videos for you to watch. Both are very well done and very different. The first one is instructional and I just want you to watch until minute 6. He begins to get in to Tarot after that and the Tarot is not relevant to this inquiry. The second one is just beautiful.

The Spiritual Worlds

If a person is able to realize or see the evil for himself in this, then this realization already becomes a part of the next – higher – state.

On every step of his spiritual path from the bottom up, a person must go through all of the following stages: he must see that the Ego is evil and, for this reason, he must gain the ability to withstand it; he must admit his own weakness or inability to do anything independently; and he must want to turn to the Upper for help.

A person is able to go through these stages only with the help of the Upper light’s illumination or glow on him. The light that comes from the Creator allows the person to perceive that egoism is evil, that he himself is insignificant and that the Upper is the savior.

When a person goes through these states, he feels how his parents (or the Upper Partzuf) watch over him and take care of him. They safeguard him, provide him with everything necessary from all sides and show him what is good and what is bad.

Gradually, the lower realizes that everything he perceives – both good and bad – comes from his parents. He is now able to accomplish certain things on his own, by remembering what his parents have taught him. Gradually, as he acquires more spiritual strength and knowledge, he grows even more.

Spiritual growth consists of at least two stages: whenever a person is able to do something for the Creator, he must do it on his own. Whenever he is unable to – he must ask the Upper for it.

On his current level, a person is able to do everything on his own. However, in order to achieve a higher level he must ask the Creator for everything. This is how he grows.

This stage – growing on account of the Upper and attaining the spiritual nature – is called “Katnut Bet”, or “the second small state.”

The Birth of the Soul

This year – 2024 – is the year of Ascension and The Great Awakening. Sure, that’s my opinion, however this opinion is based on years of study, inquiry and practice in several areas and modalities, i.e., yoga, meditation, spiritual/metaphysical maps, healing practices, etc….

The next few posts I will focus our inquiry on the concept of “The Soul.”

This specific inquiry is based on the Kabbalistic perspective.

REMEMBER: The way which we conduct this type of inquiry is by keeping an open mind. Nothing put forth here is done so for you to “believe” in a particular view or follow a particular path. Try to empty your mind as you do the inquiry. The process of inquiry is a 5 step process. It can be described in many ways. In our yoga practice we sometimes use the Kripalu method called BRFWA: 1. Breathe 2. Relax 3. Feel 4. Witness 4. Allow. The Growth process is: 1. Confront 2. Explore 3. Incubate 4. Illuminate 5. Celebrate.

In this post I will introduce the conditions for the soul’s development and the first stage in the process……..

Conditions for the Soul’s Development1

A person in our world cannot exist without having some basic knowledge about the structure of this world. The more a person comprehends the world around him, the easier and safer it is for him to exist in it.

If we placed a primitive man among us who did not know the laws of our society, its problems, the thoughts of the surrounding people and their relationships with each other, would he be able to exist?

Just as a person in our world cannot exist without knowledge of our world, a person’s soul cannot exist in the spiritual world, having not acquired certain knowledge of its laws and nature.

The knowledge the soul must possess in order to exist and survive include understanding of the structure and functioning of the spiritual worlds, Partzufim2 and Sefirot,3 as well as their interactions called “Zivugim4 and their consequences and actions.

However, in order to gain knowledge of the spiritual world, one is required to have a soul. Only then does it become important to him to understand the nature of the spiritual world, for this is what gives one’s soul the ability to exist in it.

Continue reading The Birth of the Soul

Groundhog Day

It is within the patterns of our life that we find our purpose.

There’s a popular movie from the early 1990’s called Groundhog’s Day. It’s a comedy about a man who becomes stuck in a loop where the same day repeats itself. Each morning, Phil awakens and its February 2nd all over again. No matter what he does, he cannot seem to progress to the following day. At first, he sees this as carte blanche to do whatever he pleases. However, it’s not long before Phil becomes disillusioned with the state of his repetitive life and attempts to end it all. Still he inevitably awakens on the morning of February 2nd.

It is in Phil’s exhaustion and hopelessness that he begins to contemplate his place and purpose in the loop.

He understands that he can use the repetition the universe has provided him to make himself and the world better: He learns to speak French, play the piano, and after witnessing the death of a homeless man, creates a plan to avert this and other disasters from happening. It is only then that the cycle is broken.

It’s a funny and clever film, but perhaps the greatest reason it has become such a classic is because it speaks truth to our soul.

“Once we recognize the moments that repeatedly pop up in our own movies, we can seize them for the gifts they truly afford us.”

Each of us has our own “Groundhog’s Day,” an unpleasant situation that continuously repeats. Maybe we leave one job to get away from our tyrant of a boss only to arrive at a new one where the boss is an even greater nightmare. Many people divorce their spouse only to end up marrying the same kind of person with similar shortcomings years later. What is this phenomenon that sees the universe placing recurring patterns before us? And more to the point, how do we break the cycle?

The kabbalists had a name for these patterns: tikkun, indicating that which we have come back to correct. Each lifetime may afford us several chances to accomplish our tikkun, to learn the lesson and make the inner changes necessary for our spirit to progress along its journey.

Once we recognize the moments that repeatedly pop up in our own movies, we can seize them for the gifts they truly afford us. For instance, maybe the reason one is faced with a tyrannical boss is to find the areas where they themselves lack kindness and mercy with others, or perhaps it is to learn to stand up to an authority figure if that has been a persistent problem throughout one’s life. If someone finds themselves dating or married to the same kind of person time and again, it could be to learn how to accept someone’s shortcomings and love unconditionally, or it could be simply to start looking outside the box! This is a deeply personal spiritual work; only you can recognize the patterns, and only you can decipher what they are meant to teach you.