Brian Sullivan



Kabbalah Revealed #4
The Force of Development and the Meaning of Suffering

Lecture presented for the American television channel, Shalom TV
Anthony Kosinec

June 29, 2006


The Force of Development and the Meaning of Suffering

Hello again and welcome to Kabbalah Revealed. I’m Tony Kosinec.

Previously we learned about the blueprint for reality, the Thought of Creation, the action of the Creator, the quality of the Upper World, what spirituality is.

This Thought of Creation, which is to create a creature and to fill this creature with unbounded delight, is the only reason that anything ever occurs, and everything that appears in our life is as a result of this; it’s either that it comes from it, and it’s on its way to fulfillment of it, whether we can perceive that quality or not. And this is the problem that we have because we think—and the deepest question that we have about our life, and our inability to feel where we are and where we’re going comes from the fact that we must ask, “If the Creator is completely good, and only does good, then why is it that we see evil? Why are there bad events?”

In order to investigate this question, the Kabbalists set for us a boundary of how we should go about our investigations, in order to get a real answer and not get confused.

Baal HaSulam tells us that there is a rule in Kabbalah and that is “what cannot be attained cannot be named.” What does that mean?

The goal that we want to reach is a direct sensation of the Creator, not an idea, not some kind of an intellectualization because there is no real answer in an intellectualization. You can’t feel confident about an idea. You must be able to feel it within you in the same way that you feel where you’re feet stand, or as you look at something that’s before you. It must be tangible. Only there is there a real change in perception, not in ideas or abstractions.

Man cannot really understand the events in his life because man rejects half of all reality. Half of everything that occurs that is considered by him to be bad, man rejects. And that’s because of an inner programming that we have, which is “the will to receive.” That will to receive functions as a guidance system, that is, we are completely controlled by it, and all that it’s doing is that it’s either attracting us to something that we find delightful that we find as pleasure, and that we consider to be good, or we are running away from something that does not give us pleasure, that gives us emptiness, so we flee from that.

We are constantly looking only for those things that are considered to be good. So, our perception of what the purpose of both of these events are, is faulty because our attention is never on the whole of the picture. It’s always only on a small part of the picture because we are looking at it from within the level of the problem itself. And this is a huge problem for us because all perception, as we can see just in simple nature, comes only as a result of contrast.

We only know cold by its opposite, heat. We only know up when we relate it to down. If we look just at the quality of heat in itself—if there was nothing opposite it, if it had no opposite quality—it would be an essence; we wouldn’t be able to feel anything in it. If there was no movement, no way to measure anything, what could we know about heat? There would be nothing there; there would simply be no sensation. So this comparison between what we consider to be good and why we consider it to be good, and what we experience as bad and why we consider it to be bad, this is the thing that needs to be measured.

We need to have something that is not a sliding scale. And it may not seem so to us, because we’re blinded by this inability to incorporate the greater scope of reality, but all of our evaluation of good and evil from within the will to receive is completely subjective; it’s a totally sliding scale. That is, we can say that certain events that we see are considered to be evil. But if you really look at it profoundly, if you look at what your true responses are (and here, this is what is meant by “only what can be attained can be named”), you have to look at the actual experience.

Take, for example, the Tsunami disaster. There were 400,000 people killed in that disaster and everybody, if you poll them will say “this is horrible.” The loss of life was terrible; the suffering of others was terrible. It’s almost unimaginable the scope of this biblical scope of destruction, evil. But what happens if you happen to be one of the owners of the companies that gets to rebuild the resorts in those areas? It’s the best thing that has happened to you in five years. So, what did you really experience? Can you say according to your idea, that “oh, I should feel this way about it,” and therefore the idea of what’s good is this, and an idea of what’s bad is this. No, you must go by what you actually feel. If you measure something else, you’re measuring something imaginary. Now, sometimes we can see this fact that something that we wouldn’t first take as a bad experience we can understand as a good experience when we look at the levels of life below us.

If we look at something like a forest fire and we see a tremendous amount of damage done, we can look at that situation and we can say, “well, you know, it was bad for the trees, but in the larger scope of things, what’s going to happen is that there was a purpose to this; there is going to be a thicker growth; we’re going to have, you know, maybe there’ll be a more diverse forest, a thicker forest, and the things that were preventing its successful growth are now changed.



And the only reason that we can see a disaster as a good thing is because we look at it as a process; we see the larger arc of development on the levels of life below us.

Below us there are levels of still or inanimate, there’s the vegetative level, there is the animal level and there is the human level that we live on. Unfortunately this level is just a complex animal. In order to be able to see what is happening to us, and the programming and the instinctive level, and the larger scope of what’s happening to us in our lives. Not to see just a single cross-section where we don’t understand the plan or the vector, the way in which things are progressing towards the goal. When we look at this (Tony motions a middle part of the vector with his hand) on the human level, we can’t understand; we can’t pull ourselves up by our own hair to some higher level. We have to be able to view it on a higher level, which the Kabbalists call “the speaking level.”

The speaking level of man is where he begins to be part of the Upper System and view the whole system of guidance provided by the Creator, that One Force that moves us through two prongs through the will to receive, that attracts us toward something good, and repels us from something bad. If we can see it from this level above, we stop seeing the events in our lives as isolated chunks and try to name them at a place in time and space where we really have no perception of the reason for anything.

So what do we do to be able to get ourselves into this Higher State? How do we see from this higher point of view? Well, we can’t do it ourselves. We can only do it with the aid of what’s already there, we have to be able to sense what’s there, and then we can become like it.

Remember that the force of evolution is just the development of desires and this system of Upper Light has arranged that we would be moved along through these desires until we came to desire precisely the right thing. But because we are involved in our development in an unconscious way, that is, “not by our will are we brought into this, and not by our will do we proceed in this,” until we come to the point where the awakening occurs in a person.

The awakening is arranged by these events that we call “good and bad.” In other words, our desires continue to be developed and change so that our question becomes greater. And each of these, what we consider to be blows make us ask the question on a deeper and deeper level: What is the real cause of suffering? Why am I suffering and how can I stop suffering? This force of development moves us along unconsciously until we will not settle for anything else but the answer to this question because the answer to the question can only come from the Higher Level that guides the system, that makes us feel as if there are good and bad events.

So now that this conscious tangible need has happened inside the sensation of the person that no other desire can replace, only the answer to this question, this conscious tangible need—now the answer has a place to go, a person can receive it. But in order to know why we’re suffering, we have to know what’s good and what’s bad and we know that we can’t feel that or measure it against a sliding scale. It can’t be from within the will to receive. It has to be against something that doesn’t change. This we know is the quality of the Creator, which always and only gives. It’s unconditional bestowal, and the quality of the creature is to receive the will to receive for the self alone. It’s the measurement of the contrast between these two qualities that begin to give us a sense of where we are, because the only thing there is to feel and to sense is the Creator. The question is how do I sense it? What do I sense it as?

(Tony drawing) We live in a sea of Light. That means we are always receiving delight into our vessel, our Kli. (Tony points to drawing of Kli) This is our will to receive. And the Upper Light is constantly filling us with delight, that is, with a sensation which is actually a sensation of the Light itself. It is always the Creator, except that it depends on what we say it is; it depends on what the dressing is, what we call this thing that’s happening.

All events of our life are sent to us in a way that we sense them directly, as Direct Light. But if we feel them that way, that means that we feel them through the will to receive, and we don’t know why they’re being given. What we seek to do is to feel the thought inside of it, that is: What is this quality here? What is the quality of bestowal that is the Creator’s intention behind giving to us in this event? How is this connected to the force of development that is bringing us to fulfillment?

If we can understand and get a sensation of this, then we understand the event and we also rise to that level. And all that we seek to do in the events of life is to justify the Creator. This is what a righteous man is, what a Tzadik is. It’s one who, regardless of the events of life, feels the Thought behind the giving of the event, the benevolent force of the Creator’s guidance. And only the difference between what we feel in our Kli, and what the Creator’s Thought is, that is, what our thought is compared to the Creator’s Thought is, this is the source of suffering.

This contrast between my nature—my intention of reception of the Light, and the Creator’s intention of the bestowing of the Light—this discrepancy causes me discomfort, suffering, and so on. This quality of bestowal, the quality of giving of the Upper Light is the general law of the universe, and everything in the universe follows from that. All laws, inner and outer laws of nature all follow from that. And it’s incumbent on all life to find a balance, a homeostasis between what is outside and what’s inside. So the degree to which we don’t keep this law of life, that is to become like it, our world and all aspects of it suffer; not just the man, but his surroundings—his world, his country, his family, all of reality.

One of the ways of attracting the Upper Light that will allow us to raise to a level where we can begin to understand and sense the Creator is by the study of Kabbalistic texts. The only reason to study a Kabbalistic text is to attract the Light that reforms; not for any intellectual knowledge, but for a transformation that happens within.



As we begin to read this text, bring your question, the thing you most need to know, remember it and bring it into the reading, it doesn’t matter what you understand intellectually, it only matters what you need and what you feel.

This article is called There is None Else Beside Him and it was spoken by Baal HaSulam and was recorded by his son, Rabash.
It is written that “there is none else beside Him,” meaning that there is no other power in the world with the ability to do anything against Him. And what man sees, namely, that there are things in the world, which deny the household of above, is because He wills it so.

In other words, it is purposely built that we see a system that we feel that there are good and bad events. And we feel that there is an opposing force to our good; that there is something that prevents us from feeling good. And the reason that this occurs is because the Upper Force itself wants this to happen; there’s a purpose, it wills it so, because there is no other force that can actually make this occur.

And it is deemed a correction, called “the left rejects and the right adducts,” meaning that that which the left rejects is considered correction. This means that there are things in the world, which from the beginning aim to divert a person from the right way, and they reject him from holiness.

He’s saying here that this experience of not being able to sense the Creator directly, of this feeling of this Force pushing us away, this is called “the correction.” This is a Force by which something occurs that allows us transform; it’s part of this system of guidance, and it’s called that “the left rejects [that is, pushes away] and the right adducts” [draws closer to the Creator].

We’re speaking here about a person who wishes to feel the Creator, not just the normal events of life, even though they’re structured the same way, because all of the levels of nature work by exactly the same principle.

But “this means that there are things in the world, which from the beginning aim to divert a person from the right way, and they reject him from holiness.” That means, when a person desires to feel a sensation of the Creator, to know the laws that govern their life, to taste holiness, which is Kedusha, which means to be separated, to be apart; that quality of Kedusha is the quality of the will to bestow. It is completely separated from this world; it is completely above it. So there are things that are purposely in this system that cause a person to be unable to sense this holiness.
And the benefit from these rejections is that through them a person receives a need and a complete desire for God to help him…
This pushing away—once there is a desire, once there is an intention to know the Creator—this pushing away does what we have seen in the whole system of nature: it causes a need. It means that there is a specific need that is being built. Not a need for this or that thing, for cars, for wealth, for food, for sex, for knowledge, for power, no: it’s building a particular need.
…the benefit from these rejections is that through them a person receives a need and a complete desire for God to help him…
The desire that’s being built is the desire directly for God, directly to God (in Hebrew, Yashar Kel) the desire directly for what is above.

…since he sees that otherwise he is lost. [In other words, they need a connection with the Higher Force that guides everything]. Not only does he not progress in his work, but he sees that he regresses…
That is, the more one needs this, the more the Light exposes the difference between his inner condition and the state of the Light. This is called “the revelation of evil.” What do we need this for? We need this because this is our means of measurement. It’s by the contrast that we know something.
We measure the scope of love, the completeness of the Thought of Creation, against the barrier in which we begin to sense our own nature. So not only is the nature of the Creator and the Upper World revealed to us through this process of contrast, our own nature is revealed. And the greater the desire to receive grows, specifically with this desire to receive contact with the Creator, the greater the amount of the sensation of the Creator can fill it.
Not only does he not progress in his work, but he sees that he regresses… [In other words, he sees the difference between him and the Creator] and he lacks the strength to observe Torah and Mitzvot even if not for Her name. [That is, a person feels that not only can they not sense the Creator directly, but they can’t even fool themselves that they’re doing it for any reason in order to reach the Creator. They feel the greatest degree of difference, but this is a blessing, because it’s by the expansion of the will to receive and its correction that we actually progress]. That only by genuinely overcoming all the obstacles, above reason, he can observe Torah and Mitzvot. [That is, not by his strength, not by his knowledge, not by any kind of ideas or theories, but only by the tangible reception of the Light, which has got to be above his reason; this connection is above the will to receive and all the thoughts connected in how to get those things that we want.]
This force, that we experience as good and bad events, are the left and right hand of the Creator, that guide us by means of ups and downs through the normal events of our lives if properly understood once we have this desire to go directly to God. No matter what it is that occurs in our life with this desire, then this one particular need grows until it can eventually encompass and swallow the entire imaginary world and bring us into a complete contact with reality.
This is just a taste of the beauty of these articles. We will continue our discovery of what exists within these articles and within Kabbalah.
Join us again.

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