Baal HaSulam, The Study of the Ten Sefirot, Part 1, “Table of Questions and Answers for the Meaning of the Words”: Question 26: What is “above”? Hishtavut ha Tzura (equivalence of form) of the lower one with the upper one is a “rise above.”
There are no rises and falls, nor movements to the right or left. All of this is evaluated only relative to qualities, and we are talking about their transformation, reaching the similarity of properties of the lower one and the upper one.
However, what happens when the lower one “rises” toward the upper one and becomes the same? Does it disappear completely and turn into the upper one, or does the lower one exist next to the upper one?
Each one is left with their desires, aspirations, and natural qualities which do not change. The matter of the will to receive remains unchanged. It is said: “The way their faces differ, their souls differ as well.” Nothing changes in a person besides the intention with which he uses all of his desires and qualities.
If we are the same in our intentions, in their level and strength, then this means that we are on the same level. If one is lower and the other is higher, this means that the intentions of one person are still weaker than the intentions of the other.
The lower one is rising toward the upper one, “becoming like Him,” but not Him Himself. Of course, the difference between them remains.
When I ascend toward the Creator by the 125 steps of the ladder of equivalence of form, I feel Him on each step, even on the smallest one, and I become attached to Him in some form. With each following step, I connect with Him and come to know Him more and more. Nevertheless, the Creator and the creature remain, as well as the connection between them, Dvekut (adhesion)—one does not disappear inside the other.
So, a “rise above” is the equalization in terms of the qualities of the lower one to the upper one. They are equalizing only in terms of their form of bestowal, while each one remains with their natural qualities.
From the 3rd part of the Daily Kabbalah Lesson 6/22/2011, Talmud Eser Sefirot