A person cannot acquire a spiritual vessel, the desire to receive the property of bestowal from Above without annulling himself before the group. Without this, he will study but to no avail. Moreover, if he puts himself above others, then his study will become “the potion of death” and turn him into a “bat in the night.” Conversely, if a person puts himself below the friends, then his study will make him a “rooster greeting the dawn.”
Therefore, everything depends solely on one’s attitude to the group and the friends. Furthermore, it’s not what one does outwardly; most important is what is happening inside one’s heart. Namely:
1) To what extent he feels (still egoistically) that without the friends he will not achieve the goal;
2) How much he works in order to see them as greater. In reality, it is very difficult and one should at least understand that the Creator has chosen these friends for him.
Until one starts relating to the others like to his own family, who are important and necessary for him, the Light will not affect him positively.
I ascend the first step if I perceive everyone as “1” and myself as “0”; that in relation to them, I am proportionately “0.1,” meaning that I perceive myself as 10 times lesser than them. But at the second step, egoism brings me the “burdening of the heart,” and I will have to perceive them 100 times more important than me; and at the third step, 1,000 times. Otherwise, I won’t be able to ask the Light that Reforms to affect me. Every time I wish to ascend, I must first descend even deeper. Thus, every time one feels a greater gap between himself and the society (10, 100, and 1,000 times more).
This advancement is impossible without the support of the environment and the common objective burning passionately in everyone. By this, everyone gains motivation, inspiration, importance of spirituality, as well as the understanding that this is the only worthy occupation in life.
We begin with the love of friends which helps us draw the Surrounding Light, which corrects us and gives us a genuine love of others, whereby we come to love of the Creator. Therefore, this principle applies throughout our whole spiritual ascent, in every action, from start to finish along the path.
From the 4th part of the Daily Kabbalah Lesson 5/30/10, Article, “According to What is Explained Concerning ‘Love Thy Friend’”