We should always do a realistic, pragmatic check without any illusions to see what nourishes our desires and what means we have at our disposal, while also being aware of their flawed nature and their ability to be corrected. When we have this attitude to reality, we discover that we are between two givens: "I am the first and I am the last," and in the middle we have the opportunity to make a free choice – to attract the force of correction.
We attract it according to the principle "we will do and we will hear," or in other words, we unite in the group and during the study in order to evoke the Light that Reforms. Thus we discover that all our states are programmed from Above from the beginning, from the plan of creation, from the adhesion that is planned for the future. The Light causes these states to reach our desire for pleasure and to act inside it in a specific order, from easiest to most difficult. However, we always have the opportunity to choose.
Sometimes it is concealed from us that there is none else besides Him. Sometimes we are even in total concealment; whereas, at other times, we choose this concealment for ourselves. That is how we advance: from Him who is the first, through ourselves, and to Him who is the last.
At the same time we have to understand that everything takes place only inside the connection or unity of souls. That is where the breaking occurred, and it is also where the Creator awakens the appropriate Reshimot. We have to aim our correction only at this place of disconnection in order to reveal unity precisely there.
Thus, I am always doing practical work, trying to unite with the friends and to evoke the general unity. I thereby bring myself and the whole world toward goodness. The first impulse toward this was given to me by the Creator, but afterward, the Light comes and performs the action to the degree I make efforts, revealing the First and the Last in the same point of unity that we attain.
It turns out that the goal of our efforts is to love our neighbor as ourselves, and the last step on this path raises us to the degree of love for the Creator. Love for others is the preparation of the Kli, whereas love for the Creator means that He comes last and completes the action.
From the 1st part of the Daily Kabbalah Lesson 10/21/10, “I Am the First and I Am the Last”