The darkest time of night is before dawn. Likewise, the authors of The Zohar stated that humanity’s darkest time will come before its spiritual awakening.
Kabbalists Rav Isaac Luria (the Ari) and Rav Yehuda Ashlag (Baal HaSulam) both pointed out the time The Zohar was referring to as from the end of the 20th century, and into the 21st century.
Baal HaSulam referred to our era as “the last generation.” The phrase describes a lofty spiritual state, which is the final and highest of all spiritual states, and not as it might sound, i.e., as a time of apocalyptic tragedy.
It is in our era, Kabbalists asserted, that we would enter the beginning of spiritual ascent, and eventually reach the final state of human evolution.
However, in order for a positive spiritual transformation to take place, we need to also apply ourselves voluntarily to a spiritually transforming process.
It is as if we currently experience the labor pains of emergence into a new era and generation, and as with any birth, the process is quite difficult and challenging.
Until our era, we had been developing according to corporeal desires for food, sex, family, money, honor, control and knowledge, and in our era, we start feeling a new desire that we cannot pinpoint like the other desires. Instead of feeling drawn to a new and higher state, we rather feel increasing dissatisfaction in our current state, that the desires we have fail to fulfill us. We become more and more divided and resentful of each other the more we find it difficult to fulfill ourselves.
Such is the awakening of a new spiritual desire among our corporeal desires. Ultimately, such a desire emerges in order for us to seek how to fulfill it, but in order to do so, we require educational and social influences that guide this desire to its fulfillment.
Until we discover and implement a method to fulfill this new desire, then the more we try to fulfill it with our past approaches and teachings, the more we will encounter crisis.
This is why our initial spiritual awakening is so painful—because we feel a growing need for spirituality without guidance for how to relate optimally to this new need.
Without the guidance of a new method for our newly emerging spiritual desire, we find ourselves experiencing more problems and crises across the board, on personal, social, economic, ecological and global scales.
The wisdom of Kabbalah was developed specifically as a method for fulfilling this newly emerging desire. Although it first appeared 5,000 years ago, Kabbalists kept it mostly secret over the generations as they knew that humanity had not yet ripened in its need for the wisdom. However, major Kabbalists such as the authors of The Zohar, the Ari and Baal HaSulam specified our era as the one when humanity en masse would become ready for the wisdom, and would be open to the teaching that it provides.
In other words, our era is characterized as the darkness before the dawn, and we need only learn how to guide our newly-emerging desire in a spiritually-productive direction in order to invert the overriding sensations of our era from those of troubles and crises, to higher states of connection and sublimity that we have never experienced before.
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