The Book of Zohar, Chapter “VaYeshev (And Jacob Sat) ,” Item 125: Anyone who delved in the Torah in this world is rewarded with engaging in it in the next world.
This is talking about two degrees or two states in the desire. In our world we exist only in one quality: the desire to receive or be fulfilled for our own sake. In the spiritual world we also exist in the desire to receive, but we don’t use it. Our intention there is “bestowal for the sake of bestowal,” Hafetz Hesed, also known as the desire to receive for the sake of others.
The desire always remains since it was created by the Creator. It is the invariable building block of creation. However, it can have two different intentions. The intention to use it for ourselves is the natural intention we are born with and through which we perceive this world. The spiritual, corrected intention in which we perceive the Upper World is the intention to use it for the sake of others
Our spiritual development occurs when our corrupted desire evolves, but we correct our intention from “for my own sake” to “for the sake of others.” Thus, we continually discover new states inside the new intention. Our desires need to change so that we can have the opportunity to change the intentions over them. We don’t have access to the desires themselves, as they are foundational matter and not in our hands.
Even if we are successful on the present degree, when we enter the state of an embryo of the next degree, we don’t know what happens there and we are unable to orient ourselves.
In our world a person’s desires also grow, but they always have the same intention – for the sake of oneself. Therefore, the states one experiences in different desires is similar because the intention is always the same: for the sake of himself. However, in the spiritual world since the intention over our desire to receive is “for the sake of others,” the feeling of fulfillment entails a contradiction: We fill ourselves, but we do it for the sake of others and we feel the world through others. Therefore, each spiritual degree is completely new with unexpected desires and sensations.
Our efforts in a given degree provide us with a good beginning for the next degree, in spite of the fact that the new degree always begins from the absence of realization, meaning a very limited understanding of our present actions. However, the efforts in our present degree are necessary in order to prepare for the next degree. After all, everything we actually attain in the next degree comes from our attainment in the present degree. This is from the perspective of preparing our matter, the will to receive.
Let’s say we finish sixth grade and begin seventh grade. In seventh grade we learn about new subjects which we never studied before or heard about. However, since we prepared ourselves well in the previous grade (degree), we already have experience and various forms of perception that dressed over our matter.
We know exactly how our matter perceives new forms. We know that we can work with the group and receive help from it. We can influence our friends and they will influence us, and this mutual influence will enable us to take on new forms. We know how to work with the books, with the study materials, and with the teacher.
In other words, the work in this world – the degree in which we are situated and which we perceive now, prepares us for the “world to come” – the next degree or perception. Of course, it doesn’t give us any understanding of what will happen in the world to come, but after all our efforts, we become worthy of its revelation and have a foundation upon which to continue our path.