A person goes through different stages in his spiritual development. At the beginning, while on the still level, a person isn’t capable of independent action, he doesn’t understand where he is; therefore, he includes himself in the group and it begins to effect his development.
A few years go by until a person realizes that his active involvement is required. There’s work for him and he needs to be active. He always has to clarify in what direction he’s headed. From that moment on, he advances from the still to the vegetative level. He begins to grow as a result of taking care of himself, connecting with others, following the teacher’s advice, and paying close attention to the path he’s on.
He submits himself to the influence of the environment because he realizes that a group isn’t just a gathering of people but that it possesses a unique inner force, which he needs in order to develop. He becomes a “plant” and the group becomes his “soil” from which he draws the strength to develop and to further include himself in the group. He realizes that only an adult tree can produce fruit and that a tree can grow only if a person includes oneself in the group.
Upon growing, he wishes to receive the fruits, which are connection, love, and the revelation of the force of mutual bestowal, where the Creator is revealed. For the time being this is all on the vegetative level.
Then there is the animate level. This is when a person can influence things and partially takes it upon himself to care for the connection between everyone. He is no longer a “tree” that’s stuck to the ground and that is passive in relation to the one taking care of it.
The human level within a human is where one takes care of the tree. But the animate level within a human is more than a tree because it also strives to grow and actively participate in the whole system. A person sees general flaws and tries to fix them. He sees not only how to correct himself and to passively include himself in the system, but also sees how to help others; thereby, he enters into general connections and corrections. This can be attributed to the animal level.
The human level is where one adheres to the Creator as a result of his actions. So it turns out that the basis for our development is in caring for the “tree”
Primarily it’s enough to divide your life into corporeal and spiritual. You should give to the corporeal what is necessary, no more and no less, and give the rest to your spiritual work without any limitation.
From the 1st part of the Daily Kabbalah Lesson 2/8/12, Writings of Rabash