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    Natural Consciousness

    Table of Contents

    An Editorial Note:

    An editorial note: “In Kabbalah, da'at (“knowledge”) is known as “the key which includes six,” i.e. the key to the six emotive attributes of the heart (three pure emotions and three action-oriented emotions). Da'at, the connecting power between the mind and the worlds of emotion and action in the psyche, translates the “intellectual experience” into the vessels of emotion and action. Da'at also constitutes the “soul” of the worlds of emotion and action, giving them significance and meaning. In other words, without da'at one is not aware of that which happens within oneself. Without da'at one can neither feel nor experience one's inner world, it remains “closed,” as it is said, as the verse relates: “A soul without da'at is not good.”

    “The existence of an inner world is not dependent on whether one is aware of it or not. However, the ability to experience and develop what happens in that concealed world depends on one being aware”.

    The Torah Science Foundation is pleased to present “Natural Consciousness”, a seminal study on the interplay between self- awareness, da'at, without which humans cannot have a sense of identity, and bitul, self-nullification, the spiritual work described in Chassidism as the essential requirement to find G-d. “Adam performed the first search for God.. Yet, Adam damaged himself and the entire world when he tried to implement his wish to know God (to the level of being like Him) by eating from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil.

    “The Tree of Knowledge was the instrument of Adam's failure, meaning that the Tree is the cause of the damaged state of consciousness that Adam reached in his seeking of God. Seeking of God by the Torah's methods is intended to rectify Adam's sin, leading the Jew toward authentic and complete service of God”

    Natural consciousness also discusses the paradigm shift from the spiritual work “avodat haberurim, the “service of clarification” to avodat hayichudim, “the service of unification.”, the spiritual work that serves G-d in the way of the future.

    Hassidism - an Opportunity to Serve God in the Way of the Future

    People today are restless, living a life of physical superficiality; unable to satisfy the spiritual needs of the higher levels of human consciousness. People, in particular Jews, are beginning to search for a deeper dimension of life. Hassidism offers the true answer to that quest for a more meaningful Jewish life, clearly defining the correct way to reach a heightened sense of the Divine.

    Until the appearance of the Ba'al Shem Tov and his teachings, the world was perceived by Rabbinical sages of each generation as a world of illusion that falsely appears to be an entity separate from God. Acting upon the presumption of such a dark and fallen reality, which is “mostly bad and contains little good,” they taught that all our actions, speech and thoughts must be directed at contending with evil in a never-ceasing battle against our worldly inclinations. By overcoming evil in this way, the intention was to reveal the spark of Divine truth and unity inherent in creation through the dissipation of the illusory deception of plurality.

    In Hassidic literature, this model of religious activity is called avodat haberurim, the “service of clarification.” The “service of clarification” is primarily achieved by the strict observance of the 613 commandments of the Torah and intense study of their laws. The correct way to carry out this service is to perform that which is commanded of us with the sincerity of a devoted servant. One difficulty inherent to this spiritual work is that a blind observation of the commandments can create a state of consciousness similar to that of a slave who performs his master's will, in which the slave feels no identification with the deeds he carries out and is therefore liable to ultimately nurture rebellious thoughts. In Jewish law, “clarification” is defined as the separation and removal of the chaff from the wheat, i.e. extricating the bad from the good (or the good from the bad, as will be discussed). This type of service, however, may often defeat its purpose, for while battling against our evil inclination in order to destroy the illusion it creates, we actually pay greater attention to the existence of evil, thereby giving it apparent legitimization.

    In Hassidic literature, avodat haberurim, “the service of clarification,” is considered the service of our present world in which people are limited in their ability to perceive the true Unity of God in His world. However, the Lubavitcher Rebbe stated that the service of clarification has been completed and now is the time to concentrate on a different model of religious service known as avodat hayichudim, “the service of unification.”

    Through its emphasis on the development of an awareness of God in physical reality, Hassidism and the revelation of the teachings of the Ba'al Shem Tov have opened a gateway to this new type of service. This gateway opens an opportunity for the entire Jewish nation to serve God in the way of the future through the “service of unification.”

    In the following article, we will examine the scope of the “service of unification,” paying special attention to how it pertains to the development of “natural consciousness.” Such a state of consciousness or awareness is an essential part of the “service of unification,” which, as we shall see, is to recognize God in every action we take.

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