I was reading a book recommended to me by Avraham Loewenthal, a wonderful Kabbalistic artist in Tzfat, Israel, as well as a Kabbalist in his own right, when I was struck by two particular pieces of information. In Chapter 3 of “In the Shadow of the Ladder” by Rabbi Yehudah Lev Ashlag, the author explains that the Kabbalists believed that God created the world to give pleasure to His creatures. Thus, the purpose behind creation necessitated the creation in the soul of God’s creatures of the will to receive. My own focus on how the Kabbalistic creation story can be used to teach us how to create what we want in our lives made this Kabbalistic teaching of great interest to me.
When we have a desire, inherent in that desire lies the will to receive it. Most people would argue that, of course, we must want to receive what we desire. Yet, so often our desires go unfilled. Why don’t we always receive what we desire? I believe we create mental scenarios where we see ourselves as not good enough to receive what we want. In addition, I believe that our habitual negative thoughts, which tell us we won’t or can’t receive what we want – and offer proof of why this is so, stop us from allowing in what we want. The Kabbalists would agree that what we think is what we create as would such sages as Rebbe Nachman of Bratslov. He taught, “You are where your thoughts are. Be sure your thoughts are where you want to be.”
Esther Hicks, channeling “Abraham,” teaches the “Law of Allowing.” She says many of us don’t “allow in” what we desire. When we think negative thoughts that generate bad feelings, feel negative emotions in general or pine for what we want rather than enjoying the wanting of it, we disallow the fulfillment of our desire. However, when we feel good, we allow what we want to manifest into our lives.
So, how does this relate to the will to receive? The Kabbalists are telling us that it is in our nature not only to desire but to receive that which we desire. God created the world so that we could experience pleasure, so that we could receive those things that make us feel good. And He created within us a huge desire to receive all of those things and the inherent ability to receive them.
In other words, we should want, and we should receive. We are given total permission to receive. What a freeing thought! I have long believed that desire represents a good thing, not a trait that must be shunned within us. I’ve heard the teaching often that one of the primary reasons for our existence lies in creating desires – and fulfilling them. Yet, these teachers say the desire itself remains more important than the fulfillment of that desire.
Now, I see that the most important thing is the actual fulfillment of our desires, the receiving of that which we want. Not only has God given us permission to have what we want, this receiving represents the purpose of our soul.
This begs the question: If we aren’t receiving all the good God’s world has to offer us, if we aren’t manifesting our desires, if we aren’t getting what we want, are we somehow not doing what God wants us to do, what we were created to do? There’s a scary thought…For so many of us, we’ve been taught that we shouldn’t want so much, shouldn’t expect so much. We tell our kids at the store that they can’t have this and that, and they shouldn’t be so greedy or materialistic, when in fact, it is in their nature to be just that. Their souls – our souls – are simply trying to express their nature, which is to receive all the goodness God’s world has to offer. Suddenly we have the freedom to want and to receive whatever our heart desires – a new car, a trip to Europe, financial security, a loving mate, a more fulfilling job, a piece of chocolate cake, a nap, peace, happiness…
Now, I’m not saying to rack up a huge credit card bill while justifying the debt by saying, “God wants me to have all the goodness in the world.” What I am saying is that we have to give ourselves permission to receive all this goodness. We have to be okay with receiving. And that is, for some of us, a tall order, a difficult task.
We have to learn to put aside the old lessons that desire is evil and the negative beliefs about not being good enough to have what we want. We have to stop the self-defeating thoughts that we don’t deserve to have all that we desire and the guilt at having more than others. We have to fulfill our destiny to not be without and to experience good.
Jesus taught this same lesson: He said, “Ask and ye shall receive,” “Ask and it is given,” “Knock and the door will be opened.” Simply ask, in other words, and you will receive, you will be allowed into the realm of answered prayers, manifested desires.
What would that look like, to really be able to receive all that we want, all the goodness the world has to offer? It’s an overwhelming picture…yet a phenomenally appealing one.
I’m left feeling, first, a sense of awe…that this is our “job” – to receive so much good…and, second, a sense of overwhelm…that I must find a way to allow all this good into my life. I must figure out how I block myself from receiving my desires so that I can fulfill God’s purpose in creating the world and his creatures – me, you, all of humanity.
Imagine a world where we had all removed the blocks we have against receiving the goodness of the world! We would be living in heaven on Earth!