Unfortunately a person often defines exertion incorrectly and wastes a lot of energy doing things that don’t help him advance towards spiritual revelation and to bringing contentment to the Creator. He initially takes upon himself different difficult tasks, but by that, only fights windmills, fighting imaginary enemies and unreal forces that stand in his way.
It is not easy to unveil the forces that stand in a person’s way. They are very close to a person, and he cannot discern them since he thinks that they are him, himself. They cling to him so strongly that they force him to think as if they are an inseparable part of him. He cannot keep them away from him in order to see that they are his enemies, as it says, “The enemies of man are living in his own house.”
The main thing is to locate the enemies that stand in your way to the Creator. When a person begins to locate this and gets closer to the real discernments, he sees that all he has are his enemies. He has nothing of his own, no allies that he can trust and count on for support along this path by relying on their help in a pure correct way. It is because all the close forces are revealed as opposite from him.
Some of his desires, thoughts, and attributes laugh at him now; others intentionally place obstacles along his way, making his future path more difficult, but at the same time they disguise themselves so cunningly that he believes that they are doing him a favor. Others weaken him by holding him back, putting spikes in his wheels, thus inserting a force that operates against him and makes him stop. Thus they operate against a person under different masks, disturbing him in different manners both directly and indirectly, cunningly and by using terrible tricks.
Eventually a person discovers that he cannot count on any of his attributes, desires, or thoughts. So on whose help can he count, with whom can he advance? It turns out that there is no one! Only if he turns to the group from the point in the heart will he be able to come up with the right thoughts and forces on which he can rely along the way.
He turns to the group from his point in the heart since it is the only pure point in him, and he tries to use it only with regard to the friends, realizing that there is nothing more he can invest in them except this spark. He is careful not to turn to them with all the other thoughts and desires, like a person who is ill and is afraid to infect people who are close to him with his virus.
Then he receives from the environment everything that the others have for advancing towards the right goal. By his self-analysis he has already clarified what his real perception should be, which includes only the right attributes that were received from the environment. By that, the environment becomes a “burial society” that helps him bury all his natural egoistic thoughts and desires and receive from the environment, and actually from the Creator, new attributes.
By lighting the spark in his heart with their help he begins to build his spiritual vessel. This means that he absorbs the powers and desires of the society, of all the others, and thus attains his first correction.
Unless a person totally changes all his attributes to the attributes of the society, he will not be able to build the vessel of his soul. We should understand this since we know that the desire to receive is not refined and does not change, but a person restricts his initial desire to receive and its natural form.
When he receives a desire from the environment, he acquires his first ten Sefirot, the attributes of bestowal. To the extent that he annuls himself, he receives from Above attributes that come instead of the ones he has stopped using. Thus instead of a restricted vessel he receives a new vessel.
From the 1st part of the Daily Kabbalah Lesson 2/11/13, Writings of Baal HaSulam