Ima is the characteristic of complete bestowal, Hafetz Hesed (absolute mercy). The characteristic of Aba is the higher intelligence, Ohr Hochma, the source of life. These two parts must exist in harmony between them.
There is also Keter or the Creator, the thought, idea, program, prior to some kind of realization below.
Ima must make the infrastructure, a place for receiving the Light of the Creator. But this is only possible to the degree that we, the souls, ask her for this since she is found in a state of absolute Hafetz Hesed and doesn’t want anything for herself.
Both Aba and Ima suffer with overflowing love for the children, but they are unable to do anything because the children are not asking for this. Instead they ask for something else entirely opposite to the parents, something against them.
Just as in our world, if children asked to taste alcoholic beverages, drugs, and cigarettes, a mother and father, by not allowing them to do this, would suffer both because they cannot give a child something good and also because he is asking for something bad.
In order not to cause such double suffering to AVI (Aba ve Ima) in our spiritual advancement, we must specifically ask for what we really need: love and bestowal.
From the World Zohar Week “Integral Education Convention” Day Three 2/4/14, Workshop 5