Why do I want something more or different than what everyday life offers? Kabbalah phrases this question like this: How does the desire for the higher force emerge?
Humanity has developed over many lifetimes; first resembling beasts, with desires only for food, family, sex and shelter; then developing through stages of wealth, power, honor and knowledge.
At the first stage of development, desires for food, family, sex and shelter are a person’s only desires. Even a totally isolated individual has these desires and tries to fulfill them. Desires conditioned by society’s influence (desires for wealth, power and honor) emerge at the next stage.
Afterwards, the desire for knowledge appears. Sciences flourish as we set out to discover where everything comes from, to find our roots. This desire for knowledge, however, still only resides within the framework of our world.
Only at the next stage does a human being desire to know the real source, one’s essence—the meaning of life. “Where do I come from?” “Who am I?” “What am I?” These questions cause discomfort and trouble a person.
Human beings are naturally egoistic. All of our desires are self-motivated and crave fulfillment. They pressure us, literally controlling our every move. The height of egoism in our world is the desire to be filled with knowledge about something above us.
What is the source of desires and how do they appear? The source of desires is suffering. Passing from one type of desire to another happens only under the influence of suffering. If I am in a balanced state, then I feel comfortable and everything is just fine. A new desire then appears, and I feel that something is missing. Now I want to experience something new, so I start trying to fulfill this desire…and this process keeps repeating itself. In other words, I am always running after new pleasures.
We are born on this planet, we live and we die trying to satisfy our countless desires. Only after many lives do we reach the state when one desire is all that remains: the desire to attain our source, the meaning of our lives. Once this final, ultimate desire appears, everything else seems unnecessary and meaningless. A person gets depressed, feeling emotionally and spiritually empty, as if nothing in this world can bring happiness. Life seems pointless and lacking something real…“What is the purpose of my life?” “Why do I exist?” These are the questions that bring people to Kabbalah.