One of the beautiful things about living in the internet age is that we have so much exposure to different spiritual schools of thought. And if you live in L.A. there is a all-you-can-eat buffet of centers and religions that welcome you with open arms and open minds. The Kabbalah Center on Robertson Blvd (yes, the one Madonna made famous) is no exception. But Kabbalah is not a religion – it’s described as a non-denominational school of thought. Kabbalah is a set of esoteric teachings which explains ”that all of the branches of our lives – health, relationships, business – emanate from the same trunk and the same root.” Kabbalah seeks to define the nature of the universe and the human being, the nature and purpose of existence, and various other ontological questions. It’s meant to fit into whatever current faith or path one is following.
Here’s a great read on staying on the spiritual path by Karen Berg, Spiritual Director of the Kabbalah Center Los Angeles:
A Fresh Start
Now, more than ever, people are striving for a spiritual purpose: to be better human beings. But for those of us who are already on a spiritual path where we are connecting, praying, and doing things for others, it is more difficult to find out exactly what we need to change and how we can reach the next level.
Sometimes those of us who have come to spirituality say: “I don’t understand. How come I’m not “there” yet?” We get frustrated. We feel we are behind when we should be 10 steps ahead. But really, who says we are supposed to be there at all? One aspect that we need to work on, even once we have become spiritual, is to not look for the quick fix to Heaven. A spiritual path doesn’t always go straight up. The spiritual tests that we need to encounter and overcome in order to grow may be far more difficult and convoluted.
Nobody becomes a righteous person overnight. It is difficult work, indeed, because included in the study of Kabbalah is the work of being able to truly look ourselves in the eye. Oftentimes, we like to point the finger at what is wrong with our colleagues, our spouses, or our neighbors. But what we really need to remember is that when we point a finger, there are four fingers pointing back at us.
One of the ways we can speed up our process is to look for the negative emotions that play havoc with our lives. As I’ve mentioned many times, what is the punishment for jealousy? It is more jealousy. Jealousy is the consciousness of “no matter what is mine, I’ll never be happy with it.” Jealous is the inability to appreciate what we have. Any negative emotion such as jealousy is like a cancer. The negative emotion itself is the disease! But there isn’t any external cure for spitefulness or hatred. An inner change is required. If we can comprehend this concept and apply it to all the types of negative emotion we experience, then we can begin to build a unity of spirit in ourselves.
With anything we want in our lives, we need to start at the seed level and build with honesty and strength from the root. We can grow a really beautiful tree if we plant the right seed. We are at a time when all of us can take internal action: first, to determine those things that we need to change; then, to draw on our bank of energy to manifest that change. This will require a great deal of soul-searching and spiritual connection. But it is through this searching that we will be moved and guided—not by a teacher that stands in front of us and says this is what we should do, but by the Light that we get from the work that we do and the action that we take towards building the spirituality of ourselves and of others. That Light, for sure, will take us where we want to go.
Have you studied Kabbalah? Share your experience with others below. And if you’ve studied at the Los Angeles Center, recommend it to your peers here: http://glad.is/institutions/kabbalah-centre-los-angeles/
If you’re interested in learning more about Kabbalah, attend one of their intro events – or visit the Kabbalah Center website for great content and video, and if you’re in L.A., the center in Beverly Hills offers Monday night weekly consciousness classes.