Our mind always develops alongside a desire to achieve something. When your desire grows, it produces a mind to procure what you desire. In spirituality, the mind is an acquisition: One has to create it through the force of his unsatisfied desire.
If I really want to achieve the next state, then I carry out various actions which draw the Upper Light. Even a toddler who is trying to put blocks together is affected by the Surrounding Light, which is elicited by his desire. In virtue of this Light, the toddler becomes smarter.
It’s the same with us: the Light, clothed into an aspiration to reach what we desire, brings us greater intelligence. And suddenly, we understand what we have to do.
But at other times, this happens the other way around: we suddenly succeed in doing something, and then we learn from this. These are two types of awakening: from Above and from below.
(From Part 3 of the Daily Kabbalah Lesson, on Baal HaSulam’s article, “The Acting Mind”)