S.O.S School Of Spirituality, Theology, Talmudic Philosophy,
Hebrew Meditation & Mysticism, Practical Kabbalah, Prophecy & Miracles




What is spirituality?

Soft-spoken, white clothing, preferably made of linen (or another natural fiber), lots of hugging - these are the immediate associations most people make when they think of a spiritual person, or at least someone pretending to be. However, in actuality, spirituality is completely pragmatic; one needs to totally and unequivocally embrace it.

There is nothing within materialism that sustains or advances spirituality. Inherently, the two are complete opposites. In materialistic lives, we can see the lack of spirituality. Therefore, there is no such thing as "spiritual garb" or "looking spiritual".

Likewise, the way a man speaks is no indication of his spirituality or lack thereof. If he shouts, for whatever reason, as long as it is controlled and not from the heart, then he can still be considered spiritual and his holiness is not diminished.

A spiritual person is one who is in control of his thoughts, speeches, actions and reactions and does not give in to his urges. This is not to say that a spiritual person is a robot without emotions. Not at all. He is simply one who chooses to feel his emotions or to experience them, without necessarily capitulating to them. The anger doesn't disappear, but the outrage and violent reactions do. The desire for a married woman doesn't disappear, but acting upon that urge is resisted even if the opportunity is there.

Whether we are aware of it or not, 90 percent of the time that we are awake we operate in a state of unawareness, driven by automatic reactions. Approximately 10 percent of our responses are in our control, when we think about our response before acting. This lifestyle is the central reason for the "shortage of happiness" in our lives and our almost chaotic lack of control.

The point of departure for understanding spirituality is the word "automatically". We are not really aware of it, and even if it was pointed out to us we might not notice, but around 90 percent of our waking hours we function on "auto-pilot"; we are almost completely unaware of what is going on around us.

Anger and sadness are good examples of automatic responses that occur daily, and about the smallest trivialities - traffic, a spilled drink on a new pair of pants, a parking spot that someone took while you were waiting for it. Any of these situations can cause us instant anger. Yet, if we were to think about it before reacting, we would realize that our reaction is beyond all proportion.

Will it really help to get annoyed about the traffic? Why do we have such a strong need to "educate" someone with verbal violence, or worse, when someone takes our parking space? This behavior only increases our suffering in the moment. Even though there is no benefit or purpose to it whatsoever, we still react in the same way to the same stimuli over and over again.

The venomous reaction spews forth from us without any self-control whatsoever. Most of us, along with uncontrolled rage, have a sense of self-righteousness about it as well: "Aren't I justified in yelling at him? Look what he did! He's an animal! Wouldn't you react similarly?!"


The robotic rules most aspects of our lives: relationships, sex, food -- almost every facet of our existence is subject to reaction without thought or control. From overeating because it is "just so yummy" to endangering our families with "just one more" betrayal. In other words, we are slaves to our urges and to satisfying them.

Realize this: we are working off a "menu" of reactions that we have used throughout our lives. If we stop and pay attention to our thoughts in a serious way for the first time, something amazing will happen. We will realize that even the tiniest thing, like saying "good morning" to a colleague, is part of the robotic. We usually don't even wait for a response to "good morning, how are you?" It is essentially a rhetorical question, since we don't really care about the answer. Even the answers - "fine", "great", "never better" - are part of the "menu" of choices in our arsenal.

Try an experiment: come up with an original greeting. Something you have never heard before. Very quickly you will realize that you're mentally blocked, almost on the verge of paralysis from the effort, and nothing new pops into your head. It really isn't important to come up with an original greeting, but it's a good way to point out the power of the automatic in our lives.

On a deeper level, let's examine mourning and the sense of loss. Losing someone close to us sends us to dark places of mourning and sorrow. Sometimes we sink so deeply into depression that we cannot pull ourselves out and back into life. Bereaved parents can sink so far into the abyss that they can neglect their remaining family members. Even when they know they have to go on living, they sometimes feel that the depression has a will of its own and they feel powerless to exert control over it. Instead, it rules their lives.

We suffer unbearably from the subjugation to our urges. Anger, rage, hate, hurt, jealousy - all these emotions indicate how we are slaves to our urges, which we sometimes believe are "stronger than we are." Yet every time our automatic reactions kick in, it almost always leaves us suffering and in pain.

The automatic is comfortable, familiar, and doesn't force us to think up a new behavior pattern; we just go with what we know, and react. We choose from a reservoir of cultural norms and life experiences; we react based on how the people around us expect us to react; and we react without forethought and mainly in order to satisfy an immediate urge and feel the rush of "release". All our reactions happen automatically, without thought or awareness. We generally think about something we said seconds after it leaves our mouths, or sometimes much later. Only ten percent of the time do we consciously consider our actions, reactions, and thoughts.

There is no reason to accept this situation blindly. In fact, just the opposite. A critical step in revealing the path to spirituality is an accurate and exacting examination of our lives and our actions, in order to understand how much we are slaves to our desires, both good and bad. This insight is critical in order to fully appreciate and comprehend the meaning of spirituality, and to fully grasp the experience.

Our desires are materialistic, corporeal. When we are controlled by our desires, we automatically lose our awareness and our ability to choose.

A spiritual person is one who is conscious, aware, and in control of himself, whether he wears white linen, Prada, Armani, or shops at the Gap. The length of his beard, his general kookiness, his head covering, or any other externalities do not have any bearing on his spirituality and his connection to the Divine.

Some Kabbalists and Zen priests have been known to be unfriendly, rude, and harsh toward their students as part of their teaching methods. Nonetheless, they were still thought of as spiritual mentors of their time, because they were always in control of their inclinations and not reactive in their behavior. This indicates that there really is no connection between a person's external traits and his spirituality, which is the essence of a person's internal being.

As such, the clear definition of spirituality is awareness and control of one's urges.

The next stage in spiritual development is control of one's inclinations. This brings about a state of constant awareness and new heights of consciousness. Raising one's consciousness actually wipes away the "blindness" which materialism imposes upon us.

As a result, a whole new world of insightfulness, vision, and sensation is opened to us. We see in a completely different way, past the lies of materialism. We see people beyond their clothes, makeup and game playing. We see past the labels, the self-absorption and the quest for glory. We see and sense life as if someone opened a valve and the rush that follows is clarity, consciousness, beauty and truth. The spiritual man expands his awareness to the extent that his senses are more alive; it feels almost otherworldly.

Most importantly, and very surprisingly, he senses that there is something beyond the illusion of his separateness from other people and from Nature. He "sees" and feels deeply and profoundly the unity of everything around him - the clear connection between him and his fellow man, friend or foe, between him and the environment, and with the entire Universe. He doesn't understand this intellectually, but he feels it to the depths of his soul.

Air pollution or other damage to nature physically hurts the spiritual person as though it is he who is injured; a blow to another human being hurts him in the same way and at exactly the same time. He has developed so much that he senses he is part of something bigger, embracing him and the Universe in a rational unity. He doesn't lose his individual identity; rather, he feels connected to the Universal identity. His entire way of thinking changes; the forces that drive him are now based on a consideration of how his behavior will affect not just his immediate circle, but the entire Universe. This is a developmental process with detailed steps that have been documented for thousands of years.

The path to spirituality begins with awareness and control over one's urges. This is the basic definition of spirituality itself. But defining it is the easy part. Spirituality in general, and spirituality according to the Kabbalah specifically, requires learning, study, and in-depth understanding of the inner workings of our inclinations, as well as the physics of happiness in our lives. Only then can we integrate practical spirituality into our daily lives.

Kabbalistic spiritualism gives us insights into our internal mechanisms for happiness and suffering through a deeper and more intimate self-awareness, along with practical tools to integrate spirituality and coping skills into every aspect of our lives. Beginning with relationships and parenthood, and covering a myriad of topics - including the environment, politics, business, fears, lack of confidence, and relationships with friends - Kabbalah is intertwined with Judaism, but it is not religion.

Kabbalah is actually a several-thousand-year-old "User's Manual" that allows us to raise the level of happiness and control in our lives. Kabbalah has the power to improve and change our lives completely.

As a spiritual guide, Kabbalah can give us genuine tools to deal with any issue or problem that faces us. However, it is important to understand that there are no shortcuts on the path to spirituality. Whoever chooses to work on his Divine spirituality in a serious manner must commit himself to this change over the course of many years. Superficial changes and slogans will not help; and they might actually harm the spiritual seeker and hinder his process of elevation.