The Zohar, Chapter “Lech Lecha (Go Forth),” Item 108: The act of Egypt is extension of the light of Hochma from above downwards, like the sin of the tree of knowledge….
However, there is a degree that is close to the act of Egypt and is not the real act of Egypt. He [a person] extends illumination of Hochma from above downwards once, to strengthen and to increase the [lights of] Hassadim that are covered from Hochma…. Hence, this degree is considered close to Egypt, but not the actual land of Egypt.
If a person holds back and does not use his desires, how does he grow in his anti-egoistic screen? He needs to draw some pleasures to himself, but even receiving them, he should feel a lack of pleasure. This is the first exercise. Then, as he allows himself to gradually feel the pleasures, he should still remain in the intention above them.
For example, one could be enjoying something tasty, but using the pleasure to see how much he can rule over it and rousing the pleasure in himself only for the purpose of nevertheless feeling that he is above it. Another exercise: a person consciously brings himself closer to a source of fear or shame in order to feel whether he has power over himself and can hold himself above this feeling.
From the 2nd part of the Daily Kabbalah Lesson 7/22/10, The Zohar