Answer: It is hard to imagine this at the moment because for us even an action of bestowal is because of the desire to receive. But this is also good and it is called “Lo Lishma,” (not for His sake).
If I bestow in order to gain more, then it is a big and developed ego in our world. An undeveloped egoist simply takes for himself, like a robber who threatens you with a gun and takes everything for himself like the simplest naïve egoist operates.
If the bank steals from you by seemingly helping you by giving you a loan, you later see that they made a big profit at your expense, but this is already a higher more developed ego. Even throughout human history there were many wars and stealing at first and people had to hide behind city walls.
But later people got wiser and learned to lie to one another and to steal cleverly, legally. People already calculate things and see that there is no point using weapons and shedding so much blood if it can be done differently by making deals that will bring greater and safer profits. However, all these calculations stem from the same desire to receive.
But when I attain a desire to bestow, my actions are called “Lo Lishma,” because although I do them egoistically, for myself, I try to do it not for myself. I simply have no choice because I am in exile, enslaved to my ego, and so I have to listen to it and to think about myself.
Sometimes I want to bestow so much, to connect with others, but later I see that I did everything for myself. If it weren’t in my interest to do so, I couldn’t do anything, not even think about it. But I already disagree with that and try to do at least something in order to bestow, this is why it is called “Lo Lishma.” It is 100% spiritual work because it isn’t a person’s fault that he is in exile, under the domination of his desire to receive.
He has no choice, and he must go through this process, by building up a high enough speed in order to attain a full deficiency, a whole vessel for bestowal. We still have to operate in “Lo Lishma” by trying to imagine all the states in which bestowal itself is fulfilled “Lishma,” (for His sake), to actually try physically, mentally, internally, with all our heart (desire) to take part in this action, by forcing ourselves to be included in it.
Even if I succeed to some extent to think about bestowal and everything else is egoistic, I still tried. Therefore, it is called “spiritual work,” because even if I know that I am working for myself, at least externally, I do everything in my power to act in order to bestow. This is why it is called “Lo Lishma.” It is already spiritual work and not just false altruism as we see in our world.
From the 1st part of the Daily Kabbalah Lesson 4/15/12, Writings of Rabash