Baal HaSulam, “Introduction to The Book of Zohar,” Item 44: When he begins to delve in Torah and commandments, even without any intention, meaning without any love and fear, as is fitting when serving the king, even in Lo Lishma, the point in one’s heart begins to grow and disclose its action.
When the point in the heart awakens in a person, he comes to an environment in which he is provided with all the conditions for his inner spiritual development. It is said that “the Creator puts a person’s hand on the good fate and tells him: Choose it.” This is exactly where his free will is: to advance to the center of the group and through the group to the Creator.
Then a person begins to understand the system, the “kitchen” where everything is “cooking.” From that point on, if he looks for how to focus correctly on the goal by using the influence of the environment, subduing himself to the environment, and yearning for the Creator through it, then his point in the heart expands and grows.
Here his basic participation with the intention that is not yet aimed at pure bestowal is enough. Even if a person doesn’t feel sorry about that yet and can’t think about that seriously, it’s still a start. If he already has a “point in the heart” and, most importantly, is already incorporated in the right environment that influences him, that’s development.
Even acts without an aim can purify one’s will to receive, but only in the first degree called “still.”
A person doesn’t have the right intentions yet and he can’t see himself as one who bestows yet, but he can at least choose to “lower his head” with all his might, to annul himself, and thus advance. The greatness of the still level is its ability to subdue itself before the group and the study. This level ends when a person totally annuls himself before what has been revealed to him on the current level. This is the climax of the still level.
Afterwards, on the vegetative level everything changes: If before he only had to restrain himself while rising above his ego, now he has to open up as much as he can. Such a change is typical in each transition from one level to another.
Question: So, it turns out that the still level is not as “coarse” as one may think?
Answer: I may not understand or feel anything and may not be able to participate in real bestowal, but I need to acknowledge the lack of feeling, mind, and the right attitude, the lack of anything spiritual. I am 100% outside the dimension of bestowal. So how can I enter it?
To do that, I have to annul everything that awakens within me. I don’t delete and don’t cover up my attributes, but I know that I can’t enter spirituality with them. So, I cling to the dominion of the environment. They tell me to join something, and I do that without understanding what it means. They tell me to read, to study, and so I read and study. They tell me to do something, so I do it. I do it specifically because I am told to do so. In other words, I subdue myself before the group and the study with all my might. I accept this dominion as I relinquish myself thus advancing to the correction of my still level.
After all, my still level can’t move by itself, and so the only way to do that is to have the friends move me from the outside. In order to do that, I have to be in their hands.
In this nobody has any obstacles. Everyone is capable to perform these actions upon himself. A person just annuls himself before others and depends only on this. Self-annulment automatically puts him into their hands. Later he will be asked to perform actions that are based on interdependence and cooperation, but on the still level he only has to renounce himself. The desire grows, the interruptions increase, there is greater confusion along with disagreement, and the answer to all that is self-annulment. One needs to lower his head time and time again and thus advance. This is the first phase on our way.
From the 4th part of the Daily Kabbalah Lesson 4/17/13, “The Introduction to The Book of Zohar”