The word consciousness is not an easy one to wrap your head around — pun intended. I remember when I first heard Kabbalist Rav Berg use this word back in 1990, I had no idea what it meant in a practical sense. Over the past 23+ years, my understanding of the word consciousness deepened. It became more practical as my own consciousness changed and, hopefully, elevated on this difficult but priceless and rewarding path called Kabbalah.
It’s funny. The Rav always told me Kabbalah is simple. It’s not easy, the Rav clarified, but it is simple. Arriving at the destination called simple is a challenging and hard road to travel. The Rav always said you will know that you have found truth when something becomes simple enough for anyone to understand. If a concept is garbed in complexity and it is convoluted and sophisticated when trying to explain it, the odds are, it’s not truth.
Today, for me, the word consciousness is a far simple a term to grasp than it was 23 years ago.
So how can we explain consciousness in the Kabbalistic sense so that it is practical and comprehendible by almost anyone?
First thing we must do is to learn what consciousness is not!
Consciousness is not intellect or intelligence.
Now let’s take a simple example to explain what consciousness is.
To your childhood.
Intellect is knowing the information necessary for bike riding. For instance, we know we must pump the pedals to accelerate and achieve forward motion. We know we must balance ourselves so that the bike doesn’t wobble or tip over sending us crashing to the pavement, scraping our arms or knees. And we know we must steer the handle bars in the direction we wish to travel.
However, having all that information does not mean that we have mastered the art of bike riding. Even though we know what we must do, the first time we ride a bike, we are unable to maintain our balance. We unable to coordinate the various aspects and moves necessary for riding a bicycle. Even though we want to. Even though we know what we must do. Usually, one of our parents has to hold the bike by the back of the seat so that we don’t have a nasty spill.
Some of us had training wheels on our bikes so that we could practice without tipping over.
FROM INTELLECT TO CONSCIOUSNESS
There comes a moment, after a lot of practice, when we finally master the bicycle and we can ride on our own. Shortly after we literally become one with our bike and we are now bombing around our neighborhood full speed without even thinking about the necessary moves required to ride a bike.
That moment of oneness is called consciousness.
Specifically, it’s the consciousness of “bicycle riding.”
Before bike riding became second nature, it was only the level of intellect.
THE ORIGIN OF CONSCIOUSNESS
Kabbalah teaches that there are two realities — the 1% world we perceive with our five senses. And the 99% realm which is the source of all wisdom, knowledge and happiness.
The 99% is a realm of infinite consciousness. Let’s examine this further.
King Solomon once said, “There is nothing new under the sun.”
In other words, all the songs ever composed, all the inventions ever created throughout history, all the knowledge of mankind, it already exists in the 99% as part of that infinite force of consciousness that Kabbalah calls “The Light.”
For instance, the concept or force of consciousness called a bike, as well as the consciousness of traveling by bike, already exists in the 99% reality. As we practice riding a bike for the first time, we are building a vessel (desire) inside of us, gradually drawing down the force of consciousness called “bike riding” to fill that desire. After a certain amount of practice, our vessel is finally built and that particular frequency of consciousness now pours into us.
Presto, we are riding a bike!
It’s second nature.
It’s a breeze.
Guess what? The perfect world already exists!
But over the last few thousand years, we have been slowly, gradually, drawing down the various forces of consciousness that will bring forth that perfected, blissful world of existence.
We have been practicing the art of human existence for over 2000 years. For instance, in the area of travel, we have moved from horse to horse and buggy, from bicycle, to trains, then buses, then to the automobile. Soon after we invented airplanes and finally we built supersonic jumbo sized luxury jets.
As our consciousness develops we are moving closer to the perfected concept of travel.
The same holds true with the idea of a house. First we lived in caves. Then tents. Then huts. Then log cabins. Then brick or stone houses. Then beautiful homes and apartments and high rise condominiums with air conditioning and luxuries and amenities that would sound like mysticism to the people who lived only 500 years ago.
We can now ask the question: Why is it taking so long to develop and progress towards the goal of a perfected world, where our houses, our cities, our transportation, our energy requirements, our entertainment and our technology and communication and health are absolutely perfect?
Here’s the long-held secret to the unleashing the power of human consciousness. Consciousness, as I said, is not about intellect. It’s really about our purity as a people. Purity means our desire to share and our willingness to love and identify the one blockage that prevents us from sharing and loving and caring.
That blockage is the human ego.
THE POWER OF CONSCIOUSNESS
There are two ways to make contact with the 99% realm. One way is through pain and suffering, as we have done over the last few millennia. This is the slow way to evolve as a people and a world community. This is why the world is progressing so slowly over the last few thousand years.
The second way is to attack our ego and transform our selfish desires. Each time we nail our ego, we connect to the 99% reality. Both ego transformation and pain and suffering in the world helps us evolve. Ego transformation is the path of mercy and pleasantness. Individual and global suffering s the path of judgment and pain.
The only reason the world has experienced more progress in the last 100 years than all other centuries combined, is because the Zohar was revealed for the first time in history at the beginning of the 20th century. There is no other reason why technology and physics suddenly exploded transforming our world over night. We went from horse
and carriage to the space shuttle in a matter of decades.
It’s unheard of.
The reason the Zohar opened up the floodgates of human consciousness is because the Zohar is the primary tool to transform the ego and thus, transform the world. The Zohar is the merciful, pleasant way to transform and evolve and connect to the blueprint of paradise that exists in the 99% reality.
The same way we must practice bike riding using our intellect until that magical moment when we make contact with the 99% and thus bike riding becomes second nature, we must transform our ego by practicing sharing by using the tools of Kabbalah. Rav Ashlag, the founder of the Kabbalah Centre, explains it this way: As we practice being proactive, kind people who treat others with dignity, we slowly transform ourselves until that magical moment when our soul’s desire to share becomes second nature and it rules over our selfish ego. That is when sharing and caring becomes second nature to us. An Israelite will love a Muslim as he does his own brother.
Now we will have mastered the consciousness of Divinity, the God-like trait of sharing, unconditionally, with our fellow-man.
Follow this next idea carefully: When that epic moment occurs, our connection to the 99% will be 100%. This means, all the “ideas” and inventions and cures and technologies for creating a perfected world of immortal existence and bliss will pour into all of mankind and we will erect and construct that perfect world overnight.
All of us who study Kabbalah know we must share. We know we must not get angry. We know we must not be afraid. We know we must have certainty in the face of daunting obstacles. We know death is an illusion. We know the Messiah and the perfect world will soon come. But all of this is only intellect. We have not yet mastered this state of consciousness. When we do, all of this will become second nature in our minds then it will all manifest our lives. We will ride the bike of paradise and never look back.
So for now, we practice. This is why we use the 72 Names of God each day. This is why we scan, read, learn and simply carry around that Zohar. We are building our desire, our vessel and our consciousness. We are harnessing the strength and courage to diminish self-interest and ego.
The Zohar is the absolute most powerful tool and technology that we have for fast tracking our way to the perfected world and the transformation of our intellect into true God-like consciousness.
This is the gift God gave mankind.
Now, take that gift and practice.
Especially this week as Rav Shimon Bar Yochai’s power and Light and consciousness takes hold in the world.
This week is Lag B’Omer, the Death Anniversary (or should we say the “Light Anniversary”) of Rabbi Shimon.
The full, unlimited power of the Zohar is revealed this Wednesday Night on Lag B’Omer.
This is the same power that was revealed on Sinai; the same power that brought immortality to the world when Moses connected humankind to the 99%.
It’s all available this week.
Practice believing it. Practice sharing this week. Practice and work at defeating your ego every chance you get.
Know that Rabbi Shimon is holding the back of your bicycle so that you will not fall off as you pedal along.
Rabbi Shimon will then let go of that bike, and you will ride on your own.
This is the power of Zohar.
Let us strive to appreciate it.