The Zohar does not speak about the physical death. It speaks about the desire to receive pleasure which becomes corrected and attains similarity to the Creator. A regular person has not yet reached this.
When a person works in the spiritual world, he has the left and right lines (the two “angels”), between which he builds the middle line. My ego, Pharaoh, stands on the left side, and the Creator, the Light, on the right side.
I create my spiritual vessel (Kli) with a screen to the extent of my ability to transfer this desire to receive pleasure to the middle line and attract the Light from the right line, the intention, toward it.
The screen is the intention to bestow, while the vessel is the desire within it. In this way, I build myself with these two forces, and I am the third one. Then, I begin to exist in a spiritual reality. Once I have built this “third one,” the desire with the intention, it means that I have acquired a soul.
However, if I did not build it from these two forces, then I do not have anything except for one point where I do not feel anything. This is merely a tiny desire which does not depend on me at all, “a desire out of nothing” (Mi Ain).
It is written in The Zohar that you need to kill your egoistic desire. You attract the Light toward it, kill it, and bring it to the intention to bestow. This will be you, a living you.
All of this can be done with the help of the proper environment which is called “the Holy Society” (Hevra Kedusha) because it helps you bury your egoism. This way, you receive an eternal soul, a part that is similar to the Creator.
You make it yourself, and if not, you do not have a soul. You exist below the life line, in this world, where you have nothing but an animate body, matter (Homer, substance, is consonant to Hamor, donkey). This is the most “materialistic” approach.
From the 4th part of the Daily Kabbalah Lesson 11/25/10, “Body and Soul”