In order to go from one form to another, one must first completely stop using the previous desires. And only after that can one decide how to use them in a new way. Rabash gives the example of an alcoholic who must first give up drinking completely, and only later will he be able to set a new norm for himself.
In spirituality, every new level is built anew, from zero. Rabbi Shimon, the author of The Book of Zohar, fell to the state of “Shimon, the merchant from the market” before he ascended to the highest level of the final, corrected state. There is a law that states: “The height of one’s ascent is equal to the depth of one’s descent.” And we will never attain success unless we adopt this attitude towards spirituality.
Therefore, one cannot drag all the baggage from the past along with him. We must always erase everything completely, and then build a new attitude from scratch. If we retain anything from the past, then it won’t be new and we won’t be successful.
In our world this is not obvious and that is why it seems as if it’s possible to build something new on an old foundation. However, the same law operates in our physical matter as well, and we still end up failing, but we don’t know why. It’s because everything has to start from the level zero, from a new attitude. There has to be a total break from everything that came before. If we don’t internalize this principle in spirituality, then time will trickle away without any purpose.