The Prison of Perception: Understanding Our True Reality

Michael Laitman
2 min readMay 13, 2024

Kabbalist Yehuda Ashlag (Baal HaSulam) told a parable about a man who committed a serious crime against the king and was sentenced to twenty years of hard labor in a desolate prison outside the country.

Upon arrival, he discovered others who were similarly sentenced. Stricken with amnesia, he forgot about his previous life, believing this desolate place to be his birth home.

His perception became limited to his immediate surroundings and fellow inmates. He learned the rules of his new living quarters to avoid further punishment, unaware that he himself broke them.

Despite witnessing harsh penalties for rule-breaking, he failed to connect them to his own situation, and afflicted by amnesia, he remained ignorant of his true state, disconnected from his past and the reality of his sentence.

Like the man in this parable, we, too, are sentenced to this Earth. It is not our real place of birth and development. We are aliens and strangers here, and we have not yet been granted the opportunity to know where we truly came from and how we arrived here.

We are not adapted to what is here in our development and in our nature, and we exist in such a way because it is the will of the Creator — the single upper force that created and sustains us — for the time being.

Our existence here, however, is no punishment. It is a developmental stage toward a connection where we adapt ourselves to the higher power, which created and sustains us.

In other words, what we perceive as our earthly existence is not our true reality. Our true reality comes about when we shift our focus away from our usual ideas about nature, ourselves and the Creator, and realize our cosmic nature, one that is entirely unearthly and has nothing to do with our body, thoughts or anything we can imagine to ourselves. If we wish to discover the true reality, then we need to rise above everything in our current perception and sensation. That is, the true reality is “out there” somewhere, above our senses, above everything. It is what we will comprehend later in completely new sensations.

Moreover, such a reality is impossible to describe. Only those who reach its sensation can comprehend it.

If we wish to optimize the trajectory of our development toward the true reality, then we need only wish to unite. For the time being, suffering accumulates throughout humanity in order to urge us to increasingly ask about what will happen to our lives here. The more we find ourselves asking that question, the closer we will come to the discovery of the true reality.

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Michael Laitman

PhD in Philosophy and Kabbalah. MSc in Medical Bio-Cybernetics. Founder and president of Bnei Baruch Kabbalah Education & Research Institute.