There are two forces by which we advance, and the relation between them indicates the level a person is on. The Creator has no problem pushing us from behind and advancing us by sufferings. Then we have no choice but to advance. We will advance in the direction the Creator wants us to advance, but that isn’t considered advancement.
Throughout history and our evolution, the created being has been through the inanimate, vegetative, and animate levels; that is called “nature.” Then in the level of the speaking there are also levels of the inanimate, vegetative, animate, and speaking, but they belong to the human level already.
The inanimate, vegetative, and animate levels develop in us under pressure and suffering. But the human in us develops thanks to awareness, consciousness, faith, and attaining the greatness of the goal, the yearning for bestowal.
For generations, we humans have developed in the levels of the inanimate, vegetative, and animate and now we enter the level of “human” development. The difference is that as humans we can develop only if we ourselves yearn forward by the greatness of the goal.
This means that I have to stabilize the goal and its worth inside me as much as I can, to aim towards it, using every means I can. As it says: “Israel (those who yearn for the Creator, the Torah (the Reforming Light), and the Creator—are one.” The main thing is that I should yearn for the goal and not for someone else to manage me, to oblige me to go, to push me from behind by sufferings.
Thanks to the sufferings, I can be influenced through my egoism and then start moving. But it isn’t because the greatness of the goal, the greatness of bestowal and the Creator are pulling me. Thus, I don’t develop my point in the heart, but simply run away from suffering.
A different force and factor are active here by which I am motivated. So this isn’t development. A person can experience great sufferings; there were many attempts to wake him up, but it doesn’t mean that he has advanced by even one millimeter.
Although it may seem that he has advanced, he hasn’t. This is why it says that the sufferings polish a person’s body (his egoism) just like salt polishes the meat. The sufferings only make us become more sensitive, but they don’t make us start moving. A person can only move if he begins to resemble the Creator.
From the 1st part of the Daily Kabbalah Lesson 12/28/11, Shamati