My Answer: A person cannot rise above his environment. He totally depends on it. Even if his environment consists of simple people and he is a great Kabbalist, they will nevertheless influence him.
Imagine that you take a magnificent fruit bearing tree, pull it out of the ground, and plant it in the center of the desert. What will happen to it? Will it turn the desert into a blossoming garden? Similar to the tree’s dependence on its environment, our soul depends on our environment.
The goal of the creation, the group, our personal work, and the Creator are positioned inside one point. Imagine that your whole life depends on this one point that you have to clarify. It determines your life and death every given moment. To draw an analogy, say you can’t breathe unless you push an oxygen button. If you don’t do it (and connect with the others), oxygen is not supplied for you.
From the 3rd part of the Daily Kabbalah Lesson 4/18/10, Article “The Freedom”
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Video: The Power Of The Environment – 5 Minutes Of Light (6:07)