On one hand, the Creator is always the first to awaken us and any ascent that we feel is an inevitable response to His illumination. On the other hand, what is a person’s work?
Although a person knows that “There is none else besides Him,” he should remember the principle of “If I am not for myself, who is for me?” Although the Creator awakens him, as long as a person is in concealment he should feel that he awakens himself. He mustn’t relax and wait for the Creator to wake him up.
No, we must act. I have to organize an environment and use all the means that I have so that I will not fall asleep, but rather will stay awake and responsive as possible to picking up attributes that are close to bestowal and love. With the help of the environment and other means, I prepare myself so that even if the Creator awakens me I will feel a greater and more powerful ascent.
The final awakening is that we are working together with the Creator, like a horse and its rider who have merged and the horse even wants to stay ahead of the desires of his rider like a faithful servant. So at any given moment I should remember that the Creator will undoubtedly wake me up, but everything depends on the opportunities that I actually take.
We don’t know and we don’t see these opportunities. Perhaps my accumulated efforts will spur the awakening from above after a while; perhaps there are other conditions, such as special spiritual states that belong to the “Sabbath,” to the “beginning of the month,” to the “beginning of a year” or to other holidays that are connected to the work in the “day” and the “night,” etc. The special awakening from above is also concealed in them, but we have to be more prepared for the awakening from below and constantly be sensitive to it.
If a person develops a craving, a need, for not forgetting the upper Providence for a moment, he discovers that this Providence is permanent and it stems from the Creator who is good and benevolent and that there is none else besides Him. A person discovers the truth: that the picture that the upper force draws for him of a person’s whole world, including the person himself and his environment, that it is all done in order to increase a person’s sensitivity to it. The Creator, the only force, has only one goal, that a person should always feel that the Creator is good and benevolent and that there is none else besides Him. So a person has to correct his vessels of perception and that is what matters.
It is written: “Seek the Lord where He is.” One thinks the awakening and the changes come from the Creator bringing him constantly changing states. But when I reach a state of Hafetz Hesed, I discover that there are no changes on the Creator’s part. Behind everything that is sent to me, everything that I feel at any given moment—the concealments and the revelations on different levels, the confusions and even the detachment from the Creator and later regaining consciousness, which means being conscious of the upper Providence—behind all this “scenery” I discover that there are no detachments and that the Creator never weakens His relations with us. On the contrary, He awakens stronger and more corrupt desires and attributes in me time after time, which means that they are opposite from Him, so that by this contrast between the Light and the darkness I will discover the Creator more clearly, the good and the benevolent, that there is none else besides Him.
So we have to strengthen a person’s inner readiness for the correct perception by different means. There is no blind fate or a mechanical nature that plays an incidental game with us. No matter which desires or thoughts awaken in us and come to our mind out of nowhere, it all comes from the upper force. We only have to do one thing, and that is to strengthen ourselves by different means and to respond correctly to everything that happens.
Of all the things going on in my heart and mind, inside me, and in the world (since it is one system), I want to discover one thing only—that everything is operated by one “engine.” The thoughts and the desires that awaken in me and the thoughts about the thoughts and the desires that were caused by the desires, all stem from one source that operates so that I will connect to it and be detached from it time after time and thus will establish a stable, multilayer, multifaceted connection. Thus, we clarify and search for the Creator, “seeking the Lord where he is” and discovering that He is really very near, that He is inside a person.
This means that there are no inappropriate thoughts and no lowly desires, but that everything was meant to help a person understand that nothing separates him from the Creator; the Creator is with him, and the whole world, including the still, vegetative, animate, and man, are elements that make up the connection between them.
From the Daily Kabbalah Lesson 8/7/13, Writings of Baal HaSulam