Question: How do we calm down the ego which demands constant fulfillment?
Answer: You’ll never be able to overcome your ego with your own strength. Even if you think that in the past you were able to do so, that was only an illusion. You were simply fulfilling your desire to receive pleasure.
We are going through a preparation period, and at its first stage we seem to be able to achieve something with our own strength, to advance with the help of knowledge by overcoming ourselves. But it all ends after our desire to receive gets some fulfillment. However, without this desire you wouldn’t be able to study and gain the foundation for the beginning of spiritual work. In other words, at first you are led by your ego, and this is called “seven years of plenty.”
Then you suddenly cool off to studying; you ran out of fuel and feel tired of everything. Now you’ve entered the second stage of the preparation period. You are no longer led by the ego and you need a new stimulus: studies with intention and the environment.
Now you have to advance by receiving strength from the group and not from your own desire. The purpose of your studies shouldn’t be to obtain knowledge, but rather to build the correct intention for your desires, which you receive from the group. You must unite with the group in order to reveal the Creator.
For now you’re doing it for the sake of self. However, by continuously doing this work and as a result of the Light’s influence, you gradually begin to feel that bestowal is good. You receive the desire to bestow from the group and begin to demand this quality from your studies. Bestowal frees you from the ego, from your evil inclination, and elevates you above this corporeal life.
Later, due to the influence of the Upper Light and connecting with friends in the group, you begin to understand that your goal is not to reveal the Creator and the spiritual world, but rather to adhere to Him, to bestow to Him rather than to receive from Him. By uniting Israel, the Torah, and the Creator into one, by striving to give the Creator pleasure, you receive the perfect formula for your spiritual ascent.
From the Daily Kabbalah Lesson 12/3/10, “Introduction to The Study of Ten Sefirot”