There is a general misconception about the meaning of thanking the Creator. We fall down to our knees and coax the Creator, ready to make any sacrifice, like in ancient cultures, etc. But this is entirely wrong. We should know what it really means.
Praising the attribute of love and bestowal expands our mind and our desires because if we do this, we draw the Surrounding Light (Ohr Makif) upon ourselves and open ourselves to its influence, although we don’t actually understand what we are doing. In any case, even on the lowest level there is an outcome.
Praising the attributes of love and bestowal in the group among the friends, elevates in our eyes the Creator, the upper force, which is called so because it is above us in quality, and so we can come closer to revealing Him. All the beautiful phrases about love of the Creator, praising the Creator, yearning for Him, bowing to Him, draw us closer to the Creator.
Most of us don’t understand this attribute because we are only in the material world, but now we begin to see that it isn’t matter but actually forces that give us the feeling of matter and of its mechanical movement. We realize that the Creator is the only attribute that exists in nature, the attribute of love and bestowal.
Therefore, it’s necessary in the group to constantly keep and raise gratitude, and the greatness and uniqueness of our work. Then we don’t simply raise the spirit of our friends, which is also important, but attract the Surrounding Light (Ohr Makif), which acts on us and corrects everything.
We can even take turns in the group so that every day several people will engage in praising the Creator, the group, the study, etc., that is, both the objective and the means for attaining the goal. Taking turns was common practice in the 17th century in Ramchal’s group and among serious Kabbalists.
When we artificially exalt bestowal and love—although it’s not perfect and the spiritual work exhausts us because it is unnatural for us and we don’t always feel like dealing with it—it is specifically in these states, if we try to praise them a bit, we summon an enormous Light upon us since we yearn for it artificially.
We should understand that it is in these states, when we don’t feel glad and don’t feel the greatness of the friends, the connection between us, the goal of creation, when we feel tired, distant, and detached, they are all guidance! They are all interferences! The spiritual state is continuous and eternal.
If the states we are in change, it is only so we will raise the standard even higher. We actually have to rise above ourselves artificially since otherwise it isn’t considered work. All our work is focused against the ego, against what is revealed in us every moment.
Even if I am suddenly in a state that I laugh with the friends, feel impressed, and a feeling of love and unity erupts between us, I should understand that it is all given to me from Above, so that I should ascend even higher because this state isn’t mine. Like an old man, I should look for: “Where I have lost something? Where I can find an even higher state?” I shouldn’t denounce my current state, but rather look for the penny I have lost here and ascend.
This means that we are never given a certain state so that we should relax and let go! This is clear egoism! The shell (Klipa) immediately begins to operate on us and it is very hard to leave it afterwards. It accumulates like slag, like waste material, which we have to process later, just like we pollute the earth and the oceans and later have to do something about it. Without this we will not reach spiritual life.
In this sense, it is very important not to enjoy what we are given at a specific moment but rather to find pleasure in our efforts! We should get used to this.
All our efforts, all our spiritual life is above the first restriction (Tzimzum Aleph) above the Machsom (barrier). Restriction is a state in which we make our accounts with our ego and begin to calculate only how to exit ourselves and to find pleasure in it.
It isn’t masochism, it isn’t self-beating and self-mutilation but rather accepting an egoistic ascent with great efforts, but this effort is included in the Upper Light. I hope that we will gradually begin to feel this now. Let’s get ready for it.