One reason to study Kabbalah is so we can go about our way not struggling and searching to find the meaning of life but rather, we study Kabbalah in order to bring meaning to life. The sign of being a good student of Kabbalah is not necessarily how long you can meditate or how many names of God you can mull over in your mind. It’s easy to experience God when you are enwrapped in devotions, but how one experiences God, and is then compelled to be righteous, in our work, in our relationships, and in all the mundane details of our lives, that is the essential point.
Our emotions are like the wind. They pass through us and are constantly replaced by newer emotions. Like the wind, they are not seen but their effect is evident. Some emotions come and go and others linger until we act on them. Sometimes our emotions have physical consequences such as the rapid heart beat of anxiety. Emotions can often be the excuse for poor behavior and can cloud judgement and thought. Emotions can cause “good vibrations” or “bad vibrations” that are detectable by sensitive beings.
It’s difficult to see and hear the Torah [truth] clearly and understand its meaning with emotions in a state of imbalance. Contemplate the reflection of the full moon in a still pool of water. If the water is disturbed the reflection is jumbled. But when it is still the reflection is clearly seen. In the same way it is not possible to receive a pure and clear revelation of Wisdom from God or glean new interpretations of Torah unless one first purifies and stabilizes their emotions. “’Shiviti – I have set God before me at all times.’ Psalms 16:8 Shiviti is an expression of hishtavut (equanimity)” Tzaavat HaRivash
We mitigate the effect of the bad vibrations of our emotions by letting them pass through us without acting upon them, only observing them. “So his brothers envied him, but his father observed the matter.” Genesis 37:11 When we give power to our negative or positive emotions we create angels. Angels are messengers, entities that carry out specific missions. Our emotions are the basis of their missions. Whether we realize it or not, it is not just our actions or words that make an impact on the world. Our very emotions have consequences whether we act on them or not.
One reason to practice Kabbalah is to learn equanimity or equipoise. When we are balanced with our emotions and thoughts we have a better chance of seeing the reality of every moment. When our emotions are in imbalance or our thoughts are distracting us we are in a lack of harmony and it is challenging to perceive the “bigger picture.” This imbalance is the root of much suffering and can be corrected. Various traditions of Jewish mysticism deal with this imbalance.