One of the first things people learn about when they first come to study Kabbalah is a concept called “the point in the heart.” We are told that those who come to study Kabbalah, especially those who persist with it despite difficulties and hurdles, are people with a developed, or a strong point in the heart. Those who have it, kabbalists tell us, are more likely to succeed in their learning and advance on spiritual degrees.
But what is it really? Rav Yehuda Ashlag, aka Baal HaSulam for his Sulam [ladder] commentary on The Book of Zohar, wrote that the point in the heart is really a question. In the beginning of his introduction to The Study of the Ten Sefirot, he writes that the point in the heart is an “indignant question that the whole world asks, namely, ‘What is the meaning of my life?’” Baal HaSulam further asks, “These numbered years of our life that cost us so heavily, and the numerous pains and torments that we suffer for them … who is it who enjoys them?”
These days, many people ask this question, but not many people are driven to search for answers. Many despair and turn to escapism of all sorts. When someone’s point in the heart is strong enough, that person will begin to search rather than give up and sit by the wayside.
Among my students, there are people of all races, faiths, ages, and nationalities. Some of them are highly educated, and some are laypeople; some are sophisticated and eloquent, and some can hardly express a thought. Yet, the one thing they all have in common is a point in the heart, that burning question about the meaning of life. And that point unites them above all differences.
There is a good reason that people with points in the heart easily unite among them. When one studies authentic Kabbalah, one discovers that the meaning of life is found only when connecting heart-to-heart with others. In other words, if we remain confined within our personal space and concerned only with ourselves, we won’t discover anything. This is our initial state of being, and if we don’t develop beyond it, how can we discover anything? Therefore, those who find the meaning of life, find it in their connections with others. When they rise above preoccupation with their own needs and start thinking of others, they discover new worlds, new realms of existence that they didn’t know were there. When this happens, the question of the meaning of life receives its answer. The bonding that people achieve makes them wise and sensitive, and cognizant of all of life. When they achieve this, they understand why they were born, why they live, why they will sometime die, and even what happens afterwards.
In addition, a person who is busy giving is never sad, never dispirited, and is always hopeful and excited about life. Such a person always seeks more people with points in the heart with whom to share that they will find the meaning of their lives in connecting heart-to-heart with others.
Every person has a point in the heart. In most people, it is dormant. But today, more and more people are seeking answers to life’s trials and tribulations. This is why kabbalists have opened the wisdom to everyone, so that anyone who asks, like Baal HaSulam, “What is the meaning of my life?” will find the answer and find peace and happiness.