Answer: The external “race” stops when we include ourselves in a group and start concentrating on its interests. Baal HaSulam and Rabash explain to us that in this world, we should only pursue our immediate needs. That doesn’t mean that we have to limit our requirements to plain biological necessities in our everyday life. The limitations concern mostly mass media.
If we need to get information for further dissemination of Kabbalah or for our professional advancement, then it really is mandatory for us. Nobody forbids us from listening and watching the mass media, nor demands that we isolate ourselves from the world. However, you have to understand how to choose the right information since it clearly affects us.
It is impossible to absorb something and, at the same time, manage to stay away from it. When you let the information flow through you, the impression stays. That’s why we have to protect ourselves from the wrong information. Otherwise, we expose ourselves to the whole world, and it “infiltrates” us.
Maintaining connections with other people is essential, but they have to be thoroughly calculated. The measure that we have to absorb in order to advance spiritually is called “necessary” or “essential.” Of course, no one suggest that you cloister in a monastery or go back to living in a cave, but at the same time, it is not good to expose yourself to the mess that the world around us produces.
In everything else, we have to stay under the right influence of our environment and study the authentic sources. With the correct intention and the help of the group, we will enhance our desire and will view our goal more clearly.
From the 1st part of the Daily Kabbalah Lesson 10/31/10, “The Need for Love of Friends”