One’s development begins from the “animate” level, where a person identifies himself with his desires for things in this world. This stage of egoism’s development is called “animate” because all of one’s attention and strength is aimed at taking care of one’s body – and the body is an animal!
On this stage, it is clear what a person is doing. Everyone supports his efforts to provide for himself, his family and relatives and to have a life of maximum comfort.
But how can we convince our bodies – the desires of this world, to step aside and let us also take care of our spiritual development, to strive for bestowal instead of reception? This can only happen if the “point in the heart” awakens in a person. Once it appears, a person has to identify himself with this point. He will then look at his corporeal or animate desires from its standpoint, and will treat those desires as animate.
You have to check who manages and determines your behavior: Is it your animal body, which pulls you down, or your soul, which aspires upwards? Are you driven by the greatness of the Creator (Keter) and the realization of your own insignificance (Malchut), or by your pride and desire for power and fame? You have to observe yourself from the body’s standpoint and from the soul’s standpoint, and keep track of which is making the decisions: your egoism or your soul.
(From the Preparation to the Daily Kabbalah Lesson)