As we ascend 125 spiritual degrees, we return to an “embryonic” state again and again, at deeper and higher levels. This is the special ladder in which every level of self-annulment takes its own form, with its unique characteristics.
And this is why the embryo submits to constant changes throughout its growth until it becomes similar to the upper one in its self-annulment, thereby completing the first stage. In this stage, the lower one is carrying out only its first self-annulment: It accepts everything that the upper one does, sends, or says to it as something perfect, even though it may seem to the lower one that it’s against it, that it’s repulsive to its mind and feeling.
Then when it completes the stage of conception, it actually begins to nullify itself by constructing the head of its Partzuf. It is born with its head turned downwards, that is, in self-annulment, and it begins to raise it, that is, to accept the mind of the upper one instead of its own. In other words, now it works actively against its own mind and feeling, and not only nullifies itself, but checks with the upper one at every step.
And even if it doesn’t agree with the upper one, whose words seem to him absolutely illogical, contradictory, and inadequate, it still it accepts them; this is already actual self-annulment. Before, in the stage of conception, it acted without examination, and now it accepts the mind and feeling of the upper one in defiance of its own.
This way, gradually, it constructs the head of the Partzuf and becomes similar to the upper one in terms of its inner program, its vessels (desires). Eventually, on a certain stage it is able to replace the upper one in all acts of the latter.
This is the order of the degrees, and we rise in them through the power of resistance. Baal HaSulam tells a parable about a servant and the ministers, when the king wanted to place the servant as head of the ministers. In order to do this, he told one of them who was skilled in buffoonery to pretend that he was the leader of the enemies and the bandits so that, through fighting with them the person could examine himself as to what degree he could “protect the king,” meaning to adhere to the mind of the upper one. After all, when the king’s assistant dresses like a criminal, it is not easy to recognize this. On the contrary, a person always thinks that he is right, and he needs a strong power of overcoming to rise above reason, not like it was on the first stage.
And this is the state that we call the “second conception.” After all, even though the person matured, came out of the embryonic stage and infancy, the conception continues even here: the actions are the same but on a new level. Now he actually nullifies himself in order to be similar to the upper one in practice.
From the Men’s Convention “The Next Step” 4/26/13, Lesson 2