Kabbalah on Life's Secret Ingredient
Have you ever asked yourself why people do the things they do? Whether we are talking about acts of heroism, antisocial behavior, or simple personality quirks, we never cease to be amazed at the variety of ways people respond to life. There are libraries full of books trying to explain psychology and human behavior, but maybe it is much simpler than that.
The first computers were based on a very simple design: they received input, performed a calculation and then produced some output. Computers have gotten far more sophisticated over the years, but this is still essentially the way they operate. Computers are machines, though. They cannot choose which input they want to receive (other than by executing instructions that have been programmed into them) or receive pleasure from their calculations and so demand more of the same.
People are far more complex, but when we get down to basics, they operate in a remarkably similar fashion. Instead of programming, the driving force behind every action that a person takes is a magical ingredient within nature - desire. Desire actually begins as a sense of lack. Nothing is desired without first experiencing its absence. The fulfillment of a desire is sensed as pleasure, while its absence is perceived as suffering. Not a moment goes by that we don't adjust something, even if it's just a slight change in our position, to make ourselves more comfortable.
Once a lack or desire is felt, the human computer goes to work. The five senses - taste, touch, sound, sight, and smell - provide input to the body. The mind then begins to calculate the best way to fulfill that desire. Is the anticipated pleasure worth the effort required to obtain it? These calculations are what compel us to action, the equivalent of the computer's output. Our whole life is a constant pursuit of good things to fill us, surround us and make us feel satisfied.
We are creatures with many desires; they manifest themselves without our knowledge, without any help from our intellects. For instance, there are sexual desires and desires for food. In this way, we are no different than other animals. We see desire even in plant forms -- they turn towards the sun.
As humans, however, the desires grow to great heights. We want all kinds of things that money can buy. We want knowledge. We want honor. We want power. The arts, the sciences, the technologies -- all have been created because of desire. Each person in the world experiences a different combination of these desires, which is what makes us unique individuals. One person might be satisfied with a nice house and comfortable lifestyle. Another might yearn for the political spotlight, while a third might aspire to be the next Einstein. As different as these people may appear on the surface, they are all simply responding to the underlying desires that they feel.
There are some people, though, who cannot find satisfaction in any of these things. These people feel emptiness, but it is a desire for something not found in this world. It is a seed of spiritual desire. It's like the power of life within an apple seed. It holds the potential to become a tree-- it holds the desire to become a tree. This may start out as a very tiny urge, but eventually it cannot be ignored.
The wisdom of Kabbalah provides the methodology to help that seed of spiritual desire blossom and grow. Kabbalists understand that spiritually, like in the physical, no action happens without desire; therefore, they work to build that special desire until it demands fulfillment. Once it is big enough and demanding enough, Kabbalah teaches us how to satisfy it by developing a sixth sense, an awareness of a spiritual world beyond this world. From this point on, our human computer performs calculations of a new and different nature: ones designed to bring us to spiritual fulfillment.
According to Kabbalah, spiritual fulfillment is the reason for our existence. It is the reason that desire was created in the first place, and is the only desire that will bring lasting happiness. All that happens in life is meant to bring us to one point: the awakening of that first spiritual desire.
Desire-- the secret ingredient of life. That which manifests, but can't be seen. Today, human beings are following the next course in evolution that was initiated from the beginning-- the desire for the ineradicable worlds beyond.