Basics in Kabbalah: Bitul

The Powers of the Soul to Experience God

“Self-nullification or Selflessness”

Bitul is the spiritual state associated with the inner experience of chochmah, whereby one’s consciousness opens up to a continuous flow of Divine wisdom and new insight through one’s nullifying his sense of autonomous and self-sustained being. Bitulis the experience of ayin, of being nothing within the omnipresent radiance of God’s infinite light. In general, there are two identified levels of bitul:

Bitul b’metziut (“existential nullification”) constitutes the absolute form of bitul whereby one loses all sense of independent existence. This is the state of bitul in the world of Atzilut, whose consciousness, permeated by the supernal level of chochmah(Abba mekanen b’Atzilut), is solely that of God’s omnipresence.

Bitul hayesh (“nullification of [one’s] somethingness”) constitutes a lower form of bitul whereby one is consciously involved in the process of nullifying the outer layer of self (ego). This is accomplished by the concentrated effort to experience the continual recreation of all reality, including oneself, as “something from nothing.” This impresses upon one’s consciousness that there is no independent reality attached to one’s sense of “somethingness.” This is the state of bitul present within the three lower worlds ofBeriahYetzirah and Asiyah, while its conscious experience is dependent upon one’s Divine service. Divine consciousness in the three lower worlds derives from the chochmah omalchut d’Atzilut, referred to as the lower chochmah, thus giving rise to the lower level of bitul.