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"Becoming Like God" By: Michael Berg

PROLOGUE: An Open Letter

  • This book is a letter addressed to the inmates of a prison. It’s a strange prison, because within its walls lie mountains and rivers and sunsets. It contains rare birds and rare diseases, mini-dramas, maxi-dramas, melo-dramas, and the latest dvds. The prison has no name, but over the years its inmates come up with one and it stuck. They call it life. No one gets out for good behavior, and in this facility everyone is sentenced to die.

INTRODUCTION: The Rock and The Mountain

  • At the level of the soul, humans have exactly the same essence as god. In essence humans are like god.

  • So, how did we become rocks?

  • Its called desire to receive for the self alone. It is also known as ego nature, a state virtually all of us inhabit virtually all of the time. And it is the source of all our pain and suffering.

CHAPTER 2: God Disguised as you

  • Man was created in God’s image, in God’s image man was created.

  • I don’t just measure myself against myself. I measure myself against god.

  • The great are simply those who have risen to meet their destiny.

  • My judges would say: “Where are your thousands of students?” “Where are the dozens of books you were supposed to write?”

  • So this is the measure: Where am I, not in reference to others, but in reference to myself? Where am I on the road of my own potential?

  • If our thoughts and actions are not taking us toward God, we need to change.

CHAPTER 3: Certainty

  • In order for the light of the creator to be revealed, there must be a vessel to receive it. The name of that vessel is certainty, and the level of light revealed depends on the strength of that certainty.

  • The opponent is the sower of doubt, the restrictor of the vessel. In the opponent’s paradigm of insignificance, we don’t become like god because we believe we can’t become like god.

  • But wanting to believe is not the same as certainty.

  • With certainty as a foundation we can approach what follows: an extraordinary set of statements that will change our lives forever.

CHAPTER 4: The God Formula

  1. The world is the war of two opposite forces: Light and Darkness.

  2. The source of light, better known as God, is the wellspring of all joy, fulfillment, and life. The force of darkness, better known as ego nature, is the source of all pain, suffering, and death.

  3. We create our lives by whichever force we connect to.

  4. We connect to the two forces through the law of similarity of form: we connect to and become what we become like.

  5. We become like God by systematically destroying the ego, because the desire to receive for the self alone is the opposite of God. He does not receive from anyone.

  6. We become like God by transforming into beings of sharing, because God is a force of infinite sharing.

  • We won’t dread embarrassing and humiliating situations anymore; we will welcome them, because they help us destroy the ego and realize our true nature.

CHAPTER 5: Your Life Changes Now

  • Right now, this minute, as you read these words, you’re either heading for eternal life or you’re committing suicide.

  • We begin with ruthless honesty about our present state.

  • We share with others so we can truly give to ourselves.

  • Transforming the desire to receive for the self alone into the desire to share is actually a supreme act of self-interest.

  • It is observed that we use only 4 percent of our brain (on good days). Who knows how much of our heart and soul we’re using?

CHAPTER 6: And Death Shall Have No Dominion

  • Kabbalah comes to us from a world to come, inviting us to a new courage: not the courage to die, the traditional measure of bravery, but rather, the course not to die. The courage to confront physical immortality.

  • Physical immortality is possible because we have the power to create it.

  • If kabbalist Rav Shimon bar Yochai had the power to turn back the angel of death with a simple act of will, why do we invite death into our bedroom so willingly? Why is the inevitability of death off the table, marked NOT FOR DISCUSSION? Simply because it has always been that way? Just because we’re driving through history with our eyes on the rearview mirror instead of on the road ahead?

CHAPTER 7: The Opponent: The Stuff That Death is Made of

  • Desire to Receive for the Self Alone means permanent war with the physical world.

  • And now we never need to be fooled again by anger or depression or fear. Because every time we’re about to act, or react, we’ll ask, “Is it me or is it him?” and we’ll know it’s us if it’s moving us closer to becoming like God.

  • A person’s name is his or her essence

  • Focus and clarity are the opponent’s mortal enemies. We must fight for clarity every moment: clarity about the importance of clarity, clarity that we’re in a prison, clarity that there’s a God formula to be applied, clarity that we’re destined to be like God.

  • You: (You - Ego + Sharing = God)

  • What we don’t see is the correlation between an act of selfishness two weeks ago and a negative result this morning.

  • Time doesn’t heal all wounds, it just obscured their cause.

  • So, whatever victories we win, they’re not opportunities to take a rest but platforms from which to battle further.

  • Ego is the Desire to Receive for the Self Alone.

  • The angel of death. “You have completed our journey to me.”

  • Every time we go after the desire to receive for the self alone, we’re actually attracting death.

  • The Opponent has prevented us from putting cause and effect together, the true correlation between what we do and what we experience. We don’t see that the desire to receive for the self alone leads to pain, suffering, and ultimately, death. This allows us to pretend that a selfish action has no consequence. The venom flows. We can choose the self alone every minute of every day for 80 years, millions of tiny decision over a lifetime, and when our negativity has accumulated to a critical point, we die. Or we can start removing the venon. Drop by drop.

CHAPTER 8: Comfort Kills

  • So if we could seek to become like God, we must seek the uncomfortable.

  • The question is not, and I taking spiritual action? The question is, am I taking uncomfortable action?

CHAPTER 9: “The Heart of Misguided People is Almost”

  • The secret of completion is to eradicate almost.

  • To Rav Ashlag, the greatest pain was seeing people who had begun their journey but failed to complete it.

  • Becoming like God does not fit into our schedules. It’s very inconvenient, in fact.

CHAPTER 10: Weapons of War

  • Recognition

  • Refusal

  • The God Formula

  • Unmasking the Opponent

  • Certainty

  • Vigilance against comfort

  • Completion

  • If people really knew that every time they got angry they were committing suicide, they’d never get angry again.

  • Sharing unreasonably, unexpectedly, when it’s a sacrifice to do so, when it goes against our nature to do so, when someone compliments us on our favorite pen and we say “Take it” - That’s when we start to become like God. B

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