Question: It is written that inner work has to become a habit. But on the other hand, one has to leave one’s world and all of his previous habits, and enter an unknown place, the way the Creator sends Abraham off, or like crossing “the Red Sea.” How can I break through to this new path, because I feel that if I remain the way I am, I will stay in the same place?
Answer: This is a very wise observation. Habit is good for attaining the current level. But in order to rise above it, one must leave his land, the way Abraham did.
Leaving an old habit means wishing to acquire a new one. But we are always acquiring a new habit, a new nature, a new degree.
If I want to learn something, then I take an example from a specialist. To him, this science has become habitual, but for me—it hasn’t. He has a habitual understanding, attaining, and behavior, whereas I do not. But I want to become the same as he. That is why I have to leave behind my habits, which I acquired in the past and which I have on the current level. Once I finish mastering this level, I cleave to something higher.
However, when I do this in spirituality, I have to look at the inner behavior of the upper one, rather than the outer behavior. I won’t see anything by looking at the externality. I must somehow discern what I have to cleave to inside of him, what quality I have to reveal in him, how to use him in order to rise to his level and learn from him.
I have to demand for him to elevate me because I am held back by my old habits like by brakes. On one hand, they support me on my level, but on the other hand, they cling to me and don’t let me rise higher.
I have to receive a special force against these bonds, against the habits, which will pull me out. These habits are like the earth’s gravity, like a weight that does not allow me to tear away from the ground. If I weigh 100 pounds, then I need a force greater than this weight in order to elevate me. It has to be at least 101 pounds. Otherwise I won’t go up.
And the same thing happens in spirituality. I have to ask the upper one to apply a greater force to me than my current habits and force. These are very simple mechanics.
How can I ask Him to cancel my entire previous nature, which I have gotten so used to!? We are like little children who are so attached to their old blanket or pillow that they cling to it and don’t agree to let go of it for anything. That is why I need an environment to enable me to leave behind my dear habits and acquire something new, something higher!
It’s as if you are hearing an inner voice telling you, “Go forth from your land”—this is an awakening coming from Above. This is what the Creator says to Abraham. We are buried inside of our habits and are unable to even think about leaving them. Inside of my habits, I feel confident and better than ever. If a person feels any aspiration to leave his habits, this is coming to him from Above.
From the 1st part of the Daily Kabbalah Lesson 8/19/11, Shamati