Thursday, May 22, 2008

Attaining Perfection is a Must, According to Kabbalah

By: Bnei Baruch

"Nothing’s perfect" – is something we all hear and say pretty often. We grow up knowing that no matter what we do and where we go, we will always see defects in everything and everyone around us. But if things are really built this way, then why do we have this longing for perfection?

When I worked for a large international corporation, I once had to write a so-called "360 degree" report on my boss – a description of his attitude at the workplace, intended for the higher executives of our company. When I got to writing about his negative features, I went and asked him what I could actually write. Smashing the phone on the wall or destroying computers in front of the employees—wasn’t really something I wanted to share with our headquarters.

After some thinking, he said: "Write that I am a perfectionist. It's not as bad as my other problems, but at the same time, HQ people consider it a defect in a leader."

I remember being both surprised and confused at the same time. Surprised at how graciously one can conceal one's disturbing attitude and habits, and confused at a thought that occurred to me many times before: "Why is perfection so unattainable? Moreover, why do we long for it so restlessly? And usually, the less perfect we are, the stronger we long for perfection."

The fact is that we rarely pay attention to that voice inside us that encourages us to accomplish something that looks absolutely perfect. More or less, that little voice is telling us: "There is perfection out there; you just have to find it. Just look a little harder and you will."

However, that voice will always be followed by another one that says: "Even if there is perfection out there, it’s a waste of time to try and find it in our severe, defected world, full of envy, hate, blood and tears. It probably isn’t till we die that we'll be able to experience real perfection…"

Yet at the same time, this "horrible world" around us is also breathtakingly beautiful. It inspires us, heals us, entertains us and cares for us. And if you think about it, the only thing in it that’s out of order – is ourselves. But why?

Nobody gives us answers to these questions. We are born with them and die with them, never managing to disclose any part of the truth. We get used to thinking that "we do not deserve to know," or that "such small and flawed creatures as us simply weren’t meant to reveal what’s hidden to us." But our children, don’t they have the same questions? And their children? And all the people that ever lived? And if so, how can it be possible that it was all made without any purpose?

Reaching Perfection – Miracle or Vital Need?

The wisdom of Kabbalah says that these "rhetorical" questions are perfectly normal and all people have them within. They emerge from what the Kabbalists call "the point in the heart"—the initial part of our soul that causes this much-said-about longing for perfection. Kabbalists explain that this longing is nothing less than our inborn desire to reconnect to our spiritual root, the Creator.

And the most interesting part of it all is that we have to achieve the state of perfection and eternity, and we have to do it while living in this world. In other words, there is nothing to be discovered after our death. And moreover, after we die, there is neither hell, nor heaven. In fact, Kabbalah puts it even simpler: We already are in hell, living our lives the way we do now. There is nothing worse than this, because we don’t feel our connection with the Creator even by a hair’s breadth. Now isn’t that a refreshing viewpoint?

So Kabbalah says that there is room for perfection in our life—when we work towards perfection by connecting to the Creator. Once we learn how to do that, our perception of the world will also change, because we will reveal the Creator’s perfect plan and purpose.

Bnei Baruch is the largest group of Kabbalists in Israel, sharing the wisdom of Kabbalah with the entire world. Study materials in over 25 languages are based on authentic Kabbalah texts that were passed down from generation to generation.

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