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A national bestseller in hardcover (The Wall Street Journal and USA Today) and chosen by One Spirit Book Club, The Way is helping countless people discover the sacred wisdom of Kabbalah. The spiritual way of Kabbalah has grown from a hidden treasure into a widespread mainstream movement that has helped people from every walk of life, all around the world. With this book, Michael Berg of the Kabbalah...
A national bestseller in hardcover (The Wall Street Journal and USA Today) and chosen by One Spirit Book Club, The Way is helping countless people discover the sacred wisdom of Kabbalah. The spiritual way of Kabbalah has grown from a hidden treasure into a widespread mainstream movement that has helped people from every walk of life, all around the world. With this book, Michael Berg of the Kabbalah Centrethe leading educational institution on the subject of Kabbalahshows readers how to recognize and understand the key spiritual laws while learning how to use them for self-improvement. At once groundbreaking and so clearly written that it is accessible to anyone following any spiritual path, The Way provides the power tools to attain true fulfillment and happiness.
* * *
Can a person's nature be changed by words on a page? Canletters and words on paper so deeply influence our consciousnessthat we are literally not the same person after we've readthem? I believe—I know—that the material we are about tocover can have this effect. I have heard it over and over again,and I have discussed it and taught it on literally hundreds ofoccasions, and I discover something new every single time.
Let me preface this key topic with some brief observations.In recent years a number of books have tried to bring the wisdomof Kabbalah to a general audience. The great majority havebeen incomprehensible to most readers, and consequentlythey've failed to have a widespread impact. Not one of thesebooks has discussed the concepts we will be covering in thissection—which is puzzling, since they are absolutely essentialkabbalistic teachings, and they're are also quite easy to understand.
Right now, before you read any further, please think for amoment about why you're looking at this page at this particularinstant of your life. Are you browsing in a bookstore on yourlunch hour? Perhaps you've been given The Way by a friend, oryou're thinking of giving it as a gift yourself. Whatever theapparent reason, I would ask you to open yourself to anotherviewpoint—to the possibility that this is the exact momentwhen you are most ready to discover these teachings and takethem to heart. Itis said that Rabbi Isaac Luria, named the Ari, orlion, was so attuned to the state of people's souls that he couldoffer the precise teaching that any individual needed to hear atany given point in time. As you read this chapter, be aware thatthis ability on the part of the Ari was an expression of the overarchingintelligence of the universe itself. There is a purpose—thoughperhaps a concealed one—to your reading aboutKabbalah at this moment, just as there is a purpose to my writingabout it. I believe from the bottom of my heart that theteachings, you are about to discover can vastly—immeasurably—changeyour life for the better, and empower you to helpothers in the same way.
For each of us, life is a search. It may seem as if we're searchingfor different things—some for material wealth, others forknowledge, still others for fame and recognition—but theseobjectives are really just the outward expressions of an essentialinner experience of well-being and joy. Kabbalah refers to thisexperience as fulfillment, a highly significant word.
Although many people gain brief moments of fulfillmentover the course of their lives, few of us know it as an ongoingreality. It's here and then it's gone, like the flame of a match thatburns for a moment and then becomes a little plume of swirlingsmoke. So our real search is not only for fulfillment, but for away to somehow keep it a presence in our lives. On the verypractical level of our daily experience, the purpose of Kabbalahis to make that happen—to make fulfillment a constant, not justfor each individual, but for the world.
The tools of Kabbalah presented in this book don't need tobe completely understood at the outset. They just need to beused. But as you use them, be sure to return again and again tothe principles that underlie them, which will also be presentedin these pages. These ideas should be constantly rethought. Aswe'll see, complacency is one of the greatest dangers to realgrowth. If you feel that you've thoroughly understood the conceptsand that there's no need to revisit them, take it as a signthat revisiting is exactly what you need to do.
I think it's worth mentioning that I didn't make any of thisup. Rather, I am privileged to have studied the wisdom ofKabbalah that has evolved over many centuries, and the purposeof The Way is to share that wisdom with you. There aremany books on spirituality that derive from their authors' lifeexperiences and gain their power from the authors' charisma oreloquence or depth of thought, but this is not one of thosebooks. I do consider myself a reasonably intelligent person andan honest one, but I am not the incarnation of Kabbalah. As theperson who is introducing you to this wisdom, I will try to doso to the best of my ability, but I really want you to focus onwhat I'm saying rather than how I'm saying it. For the few hoursthat you leaf through these pages, I am the medium, but themessage is much larger than me. And I think you'll see justhow vast that message really is as you proceed through thebook.
God is a word that frightens many people, for many differentreasons.
Over the centuries, a multitude of different meanings andemotions have been attached to the word, many of them decidedlynegative. The word God has been used to strike fear in childrenand to create guilt in adults. It has been used to justifymilitary aggression and political ambition. It has come to signifya powerful and unpredictable entity that exists somewhereacross a vast metaphysical divide—a being about whom it's difficultto say anything definite except that he, she, or it is verydifferent from you or me. We've even heard fear of Goddescribed as if it were a good thing, as when someone is calleda "God-fearing man."
In short, God is a word that carries a lot of baggage, and youmay be surprised to learn that it's a word used rather sparinglyin the kabbalistic teachings. One reason is the imprecise natureof the word itself. The first sentence of the Torah, for example, isusually translated, "In the beginning God created heaven andearth." A great deal has been written about this sentence, and Iwill have more to say about it soon, but for now let's focus onthe word for God in the original Hebrew text. The Hebrew wordis Elohim, which refers specifically to God's judgment—as distinctfrom God's mercy, or from a more all-inclusive sense ofGod as an omniscient presence. In general, Kabbalah refers toGod as the Creator, or as ein sof, which can loosely be translatedas "the infinite."
In keeping with this preference, we'll rarely use the wordGod in this book, and most often we'll speak of the Creator.Although we will occasionally use the personal pronoun "He"when referring to the Creator, this is only for the sake of grammaticalefficiency. Kabbalah teaches that a distinction does existbetween male and female energies, but that the Creator transcendsthese gender categories. "He" encompasses both formsof energy. The Creator is an infinite force of positive energy,without beginning or end; the essence of all hope, peace, contentment,mercy, and fulfillment; the source of everything inCreation that opposes the forces of confusion and chaos andsuffering and pain; an endless source of Light; and an unnamabletimeless presence.
But these are attributes of the Creator, in the same way thatjudgment and mercy are attributes. They are the Creator'screations—but the whole of the Creator is unknowable andbeyond our comprehension.
The energy of the Creator is carefully and lovingly distributedin our world, because the Creator's deepest intention is toshare with us peace, joy, kindness, and love.
Kabbalah teaches that this sharing permeates the naturalworld—in physical things such as apples and airplanes, as wellas in intangibles such as affection, loyalty, and kindness.Through these and all the other infinite varieties of matter andfeeling, we catch a tiny glimpse—and only a glimpse—of theCreator's nature.
The Light of the Creator
Kabbalah refers to all these manifestations as the Light of theCreator. The Light is not only knowable, it is something weencounter in one form or another virtually every day. When welook into the eyes of children and are overwhelmed by theirinnocence and perfection, this is an aspect of the Light of theCreator. When we take pride in a job well done, when we treatothers with respect, when we marvel at natural beauty or at abeautifully realized work of art, we are encountering the Light;conversely, sadness, loss of hope, and negativity in our lives areexpressions of our separation from the Light. Kabbalah tells usthat the feelings of peace, joy, and understanding that we gainfrom experiences of the Light in the physical realm only hint atthe infinite fulfillment that is the Creator's essence. Andwhether we realize it or not, it is union with this essence thatwe're all searching for.
Unfortunately, the real meaning of this union and of the fulfillmentthat it brings are difficult concepts for most people tounderstand. Very often they're misconstrued as money, fame,power, or other tangible and temporary attributes of everydaylife. Many of us are searching for those things, and we takepleasure in the excitement and satisfaction that they bring. Butwhat if there were a way to make fulfillment a permanentpresence, not just in your own life, but for literally everyone inthe world?
The principles of Kabbalah introduced in this book guaranteethat fulfillment. They just need to be used, and they canbe used even before they're fully understood. Intellectualunderstanding is not the ultimate goal. Thinking about the concepts—andespecially putting them into action in the realworld—are what counts.
Kabbalah gives us the tools to stay connected to the Creator'sLight, and we accomplish this by drawing out the Lightthat is already within us.
We don't have to reach out to acquire anything new. Weonly need to take control of the power that has already beengiven to us. In fact, this power, the Light of the Creator, is thevery stuff of which we are made—and deep down, we know thisto be true. We feel that there's something transcendent withinus, if only we could somehow make contact with it.
Much research has demonstrated that the overwhelmingmajority of us believe in some form of higher power, and manybelieve in God in a very traditional sense: God is all-powerful,and God is good. But how can an omnipotent, benevolent Godallow the obvious pain and suffering that afflict our world tocome into being, much less continue and even intensify? Is itnaive to declare that this just doesn't make any sense?According to Kabbalah, it's not in the least naive. It's a majorrealization, and it's also the first step toward understandingwhat the Creator really intended. By revealing the Light of theCreator in ourselves and in the world around us, we can at lastrealize that intention. We can bring peace, joy, and fulfillment toall mankind.
The rocky path to transformation
Not long ago a student at the Kabbalah Centre in Los Angelesadopted a baby from China. Lori was nine months old at thetime of her adoption, but her physical development was that ofa child at least four months younger. She had spent almost herwhole life lying flat on her back in an orphanage crib. She couldnot sit up or even roll over by herself. The back of her head hadactually begun to flatten out due to her lack of mobility, andthere was a large bald spot where her hair had been unable togrow.
When she arrived in America, for the first time Lori had achance to move around on her own. Following the instructionsof their pediatrician, her parents put a blanket on the floor andgently placed Lori in the center of it. At first she was so terrifiedthat she seemed to enter a sort of trancelike state in order toescape the new and completely disorienting situation in whichshe found herself. And if any attempt was made to turn herover or stimulate her, she cried bitterly and quickly returned toher "comfort zone" on her back. To her parents, Lori seemed tobe making no progress at all—yet Lori's doctor was surprisinglyconfident. There was no evidence of underlying neuromusculardamage, and, as the doctor put it, "Lori will eventually learn towalk because that's what she is meant to do. She's also meant toexperience difficulty in walking, so that by overcoming thosedifficulties she can become stronger."
Before long, day by day, Lori began to make progress,though at first even the smallest transitions seemed terriblypainful. If she managed to turn over, she immediately cried outin pain and again rolled onto her back. But later—sometimesafter an hour, and sometimes after a full day—she would tryagain. Gradually progress happened more quickly, and withinsix months what had once seemed impossible had become reality.Lori had caught up. She could do everything that was to beexpected of a child her age.
Why did Lori not simply give up when her first attempts atgrowth were so painful? Why did she not behave in accordancewith a behaviorist model of pain avoidance? Why did this child,in her small way, choose to transform herself from one mode ofexistence to another? The answer, as her doctor pointed out, isthat it was in her nature to do so. The difficulties she experienced,however painful they may have seemed, were simply ofa different order of magnitude than the deeply ingrained objectiveof learning to walk.
On the path to transformation, you will undergo exactly thissort of experience. The path includes many obstacles, but theobstacles themselves are opportunities to renew your journeytoward joy and fulfillment. It's misleading to speak of Kabbalahas difficult or demanding, because that places emphasis in thewrong place. Again, the obstacles are of a different order of magnitudethan the objective. When you learned to walk, to speak, toread, or even to ride a bicycle, there were certainly mistakes andscraped knees and perhaps even a broken bone or two, but itwas in your nature to accept and even to seek out those experiencesas the price of positive change and ultimate fulfillment.
This—not sorrow, pain, or death—is your true destiny. Butyou are not just a recipient of this fulfillment. The Creatorintends for you to be an essential participant in bringing itabout, using the spiritual tools of Kabbalah that have beengiven to all mankind.
The Way is a user's manual for those tools. But it is not aquick fix. As we've discussed, transformation is not easy, nor isit supposed to be easy.
Excerpted from The Way by MICHAEL BERG. Copyright © 2001 by Michael Berg. Excerpted by permission. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Copyright © 1998 Ron S. Dembo and Andrew Freeman. All rights reserved.
|The night fear||4|
|Using this book||7|
|Questions to keep in mind||8|
|Part 1||The Way of Kabbalah|
|Chapter 1||Creating Fulfillment||11|
|The Light of the Creator||16|
|The rocky path to transformation||18|
|Accomplish what you came here for||20|
|Chapter 2||Kabbalah through the Ages||24|
|Abraham created a portal||25|
|The powers of the letters||26|
|Rabbi Luria and tikkun||29|
|Opening to the Light||30|
|Chapter 3||The Light and the Vessel||35|
|Light and Vessel: The metaphysics of creation||36|
|Reconnecting with the Light||43|
|The four central principles of the Way||45|
|Our own best interests||46|
|The intention of sharing||47|
|The story of one people--and of all people||49|
|The inner creation||51|
|The death of death||53|
|The Rabbi and the Landowner||53|
|The Upper Worlds||57|
|You have to earn it||58|
|Part 2||Getting Ready for the Light|
|Chapter 4||The Work of Living||63|
|The one-directional pathway||65|
|Proactive versus reactive||66|
|Going against our nature||68|
|Positive and negative, light and dark||70|
|We're all in the same boat||71|
|Take action in the real world||73|
|Put together the jigsaw puzzle||73|
|The source of pain and suffering||75|
|What is evil?||76|
|There are spiritual laws||79|
|The element of choice||80|
|Wheels of the Soul||82|
|Use your time well||85|
|Chapter 5||Building a Relationship with the Creator||88|
|A Great Gift, Well Disguised||89|
|Ask for it||91|
|The Master Builder||93|
|When you believe it, you'll receive it||94|
|It is never too late||94|
|Higher than the angels, lower than the worms||95|
|The Hell Within||96|
|Chaos and the meaning of angels||100|
|Without the Creator we are less than nothing||103|
|The Dark Angels, the Light Angels, and the Gray Angels||105|
|Chapter 6||The Twelve Spiritual Laws of the Way||109|
|1.||Know that every day is an opportunity for transformation||110|
|2.||Hear the Voice from Above||110|
|3.||Understand that we are all mirrors||111|
|4.||Trust in the Creator--emunah||112|
|The Rabbi and the Train||112|
|5.||Ask for divine assistance||116|
|6.||Realize that we are always being tested||117|
|7.||Repent with joy||121|
|Cleaning the Barn||122|
|8.||Be never satisfied||123|
|The Three Judges||123|
|9.||Walk like the blind||127|
|10.||Use death as a motivation||128|
|11.||Experience the pain as our own||129|
|12.||Don't judge others||131|
|Part 3||Spiritual Transformation|
|Chapter 7||Understanding Our Thoughts and Feelings||135|
|Live with joy||136|
|Appreciation brings joy||137|
|Realize that envy is a constant temptation||139|
|Know all the meanings of fear||142|
|We are truly not alone||143|
|Always be aware of anger||144|
|Chapter 8||Using the Spiritual Tools||149|
|Our Inner Nature||150|
|Sharing in Action||154|
|1.||Be before doing||154|
|2.||Be ruthless and without mercy||155|
|3.||Realize that difficulties are more apparent than real||156|
|Charity in Action||160|
|1.||Give every day||160|
|2.||Know what to give||160|
|4.||Keep it quiet||163|
|5.||Remember that money isn't everything||164|
|An Open Heart||169|
|How to Pray||172|
|1.||Love your neighbor||172|
|2.||Replace doubt with certainty||173|
|3.||Pray the way that works best for you||174|
|4.||Pray for others||175|
|5.||Understand the answers||176|
|Practice Shabbat, the Sabbath||177|
|1.||Wear something special||183|
|4.||Sing Shabbat songs||184|
|Celebrate holidays and miracles||185|
|Making Miracles Happen||189|
|1.||Shift your perspective||189|
|2.||Pay attention to miracles||190|
|3.||Borrow on your tzaddik||191|
|Study in Action||202|
|1.||Know where you're starting from and where you want to go||202|
|4.||Scan the Zohar||204|
|Practice introspection and mediatation||205|
|The Near-Catastrophe and Its Lesson||207|
|Kabbalistic Meditation Techniques||211|
|1.||Practice breathing meditation||211|
|2.||Meditate on sacred verses||213|
|3.||Practice spiritual conversation||214|
|4.||Practice listening meditation||216|
|5.||Practice creating love and forgiveness||217|
|6.||Practice music meditation||220|
|7.||Practice proactive visualizations||221|
|Go into daily life||225|
|Chapter 9||Sharing the Way||226|
|Kabbalah's answers to the fundamental questions||227|
|A call to action||230|
|The Envelopes Slipped under the Doors||232|
|Bibliography and Sources for Further Reading||240|
Posted September 26, 2001
This is one of the most meaningful and important books I've read in a long time. The lessons of Kabbalah are so simple, yet so incredibly important to realize in order to live a life filled with purpose and spirituality. So happy to have found this book and the teachings of Kabbalah!
1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted June 1, 2007
Posted December 29, 2004
Not as easy to read as the Technology of the Soul series from Yehuda Berg of the Kabbalah Centre. His brother, Michael, has written an amazing book which gives insight to resisting our innate nature of selfishness in order to transform into someone who shares. Great meditation and prayer techniques, and traditional Kabbalists Shabbat practices included, too. I reccommend for the committed Kabbalists, might be too overwhelming for a simple gift.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted August 26, 2003
Posted November 18, 2002
This book isn't as great as these other reviews claim - many of the notions it entertains are somewhat childish and difficult to accept without laughing out loud. I posted a few months ago about this book, and it was here for a few weeks... and subsequently deleted, probably at the reqeust of the publisher. Look at the brevity of the other reader reviews, and their timing; its obvious they are clearly plants from the author and/or publisher. This book is not worth 5 stars. This book is not an accurate depiction of what Kabbalah really is, it's more of a "lite" version that borrows heavily from new-age nonsense. Santa Claus and the Tooth Fairy are more plausible than Micheal Berg's "The Way".
0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted September 13, 2001
This is the best spiritual book I have ever read. If you have ever been interested in spirituality you must read this book.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted August 20, 2001
A Brilliant book - I can confidently say it has changed my outlook on life. Never thought spirituality could be so practical, efficient and down to earth. The book is beautifully written and softly touches your soul, you won't put it down until you're done.... I strongly recommend!Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted August 19, 2001
You can start to read this book a see how it takes you through a journey that teaches you in a very simple way how to change the way you thinking & your point of view. I have many self-motivation, philosophy, religious & spiritual books. This is the best one I read until now.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted August 14, 2001
I had heard of kabbalah but was under the impression that it was difficult to understand and not really practicle. This book clearly explains this beautiful ancient wisdom. I was surprised at how practicle this wisdom can be. I highly recommend this book to every spiritual person.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted August 16, 2001
After reading this inspiring book, I feel a sense of my connection to the Creator. The Author, Michael Berg, relates a clear message about spirituality, filled with warmth and love. The Chapter 'The 12 Spiritual Laws of The Way' has changed my life. Read this awesome book to learn how the Kabbalistic Tools, which have been given to us by the Creator, can change YOUR life! I highly recommend it to anyone who has questioned the Universe.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted August 16, 2001
It connected Kabbalistic knowledge together with our daily lives in a way that was very easy to understand. It showed me how to bring Kabbalah with me to work, home, even with my family.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted August 16, 2001
This is an inspiring, touching book that makes you realize how much better your life could be if you understand even the basics of Kabbalah. With just a few small changes in your life, you can find more happiness and fulfillment immediatelyWas this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted August 16, 2001
At my vacation in Miami I bought this outstanding book, it's a must for every human being to improve his life's quality and to understand what's the purpose in this world. Please translate it to Spanish ASAP the whole Latin world is craving for this knowledge!Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted August 16, 2001
I am studing Kabbalah for some time, but this book is really a wonderful tool to teach us to use the wisdom Kabbalah offers us. Michael Berg made it easy for me and you to study and use this knowledge.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted August 16, 2001
It took great time for my friend to make me read this book, as I'm very pessimistic for that kind of stuff.. What can I say - can't regret for any second I've spent. I don't remember any other book or experience to be such an eye opener for me. Totally new world - all my life changed! You can't not read it, you won't know even what you missed...Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted August 16, 2001
A real genuine tool about really understanding who you are and how to accomplish a change in your life. I found it so real and so related to my personal life ¿ it came exactly in the right time. If you really look to change yourself, and tired of other ways ¿ this is THE WAY !Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted August 16, 2001
To read this book really gave me what any book never gave me before. Inspirational, very deep and at the same time very easy to understand, can practically help us improve our lives. Everyone should wish to have a spiritual teacher like him. I highly recommend it to anyone that has interest in any kind of spirituality.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted July 6, 2001
This is the greatest spiritual development book I have ever read. It is highly recommended! Buy it now, and use it.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted August 16, 2001
Looking thru seas of spiritual sites and literature it¿s a hard decision to make about what path to take. This book showed me how simple it can be to connect to what I am and where I¿m going. How can I know I¿m going forward to my ultimate goal and not in the opposite direction? ¿The Way¿ taught me so many great lessons and so many revelations about myself and everybody around me. Many thanks for this great book!Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted January 10, 2010
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