Answer: There are two approaches to everything, the approach of Malchut and the approach of Keter, either from a deficiency or from wholeness.
I can approach the love of friends from blows and deficiencies, from feeling despair of attaining anything by myself, having understood that I need partners. I can’t understand anything by myself and I need the friends to help me understand, to give me power, to spur me. The more I know myself, the more I see clearly that I cannot accomplish anything, that I cannot sustain myself, not in my thoughts and not in the right feelings that are necessary for attaining spirituality. There is nothing spiritual in a person except for this point, and this point cannot provide any filling. So I begin to realize that all my abilities, my whole vessel, my capacity, and my power, are revealed only as a result of connecting with others.
After all, what can a single cell do in a person’s body? A person discovers that no spiritual power, neither the power of reason nor will power can be sustained and have a hold in him, because a power can only exist and have a hold in the connection among foreign desires. This revelation leaves him no choice but to look for a connection with others.
It is a very long way, because this is advancing by the way of suffering. But there is another way, the “way of the Torah.” Following the way of the Torah a person knows in advance that he must connect with others; he is told that connection is for his own good, and he is given different examples, just like a child. Imagine that a small child was allowed to do whatever he wanted to, how much suffering and how many blows would this poor child have to experience in order to find the right way in life. It would be absolutely terrible.
But the world is built so that a child is surrounded by people who love him, protect him, care for him, explain things to him, don’t allow him to do bad things, and push him towards the good. Thus the child advances. This is a quick and safe way to grow as a human being, and this is what we wish for our children.
It is the same when it comes to spiritual advancement, we can learn everything from nature. Therefore, there is one way for spiritual advancement, except for learning from bad experiences and bitter mistakes. Instead we can learn from a teacher and from books, from the advice of Kabbalists. If we really accept this advice as a law, as operating instructions, (“Torah” comes from the Hebrew root “instruction”), we can advance relatively easily. Eventually, however, a person advances somewhere in the middle, in the way called Derech Eretz, (Middle Way). The ideal way is not only in following the advice of Kabbalists, and it isn’t only by suffering, but between these two ways.
The group can set an example for a person as to what he should do and how to advance. It empowers him, supports him, and pulls him forward. Many don’t understand this or understand it theoretically, but are unable to implement, listen to, and accept it. The repulsion from others is so strong that it hides their common sense and obliges them to look for different excuses and come up with theories for their reluctance to connect. Yet all the work is done only in the group.
From the 1st part of the Daily Kabbalah Lesson 4/26/12, Writings of Baal HaSulam