Question: It is said in Shamati #5 that the properties of Lishma (for the sake of bestowal to others and to the Creator) are awakened from Above. If this property appears in us “on its own,” without our participation, then why do we need to apply efforts, i.e., try to awaken this property from below?
Answer: The thing is that without our participation, no changes will happen to our egoistic, receiving nature. We won’t start caring for others, nor will we orient ourselves to serve them.
This mission is impossible in this material world. Any system, even a purely mechanical one, requires some energy to perform work. It always loses a certain amount of energy.
The only exceptions to this rule are low-temperature, superconducting systems in which upon certain conditions there appears a property that doesn’t allow the system to consume energy for its own sake, but makes it give the energy away. This example sheds some light on what “acting for the sake of others” means.
We are constructed in a way that we always have to gain something. Without this feeling, we cannot do anything at all. That’s why changing our nature to its opposite, bestowal, seems unfeasible and incredible to us.
We should learn how to feel other’s desires and how to fulfill them. We have to regard ourselves as a remedy to fill others. It’s not natural for this world, nor does it exist at the inanimate, vegetative, animate, or speaking levels.
That’s why Baal HaSulam raises a question about how to acquire the property for the sake of the Creator, i.e., how can we start caring for absolute strangers with whom we have nothing in common and to whom we don’t have the slightest feelings that even remotely remind us, let’s say, of the relationship between a mother and a child. This situation implies an absolutely clear understanding that we are acting without any feasible possibility to get anything in return.
Unless we acknowledge that our nature is a hundred percent egoistic, we won’t ever understand how it is possible to go through such an inversion. A human brain is incapable of comprehending how this kind of inversion can take place in this material world.
Anything that happens to us teaches us that our work that we conduct on ourselves and things that we are trying to achieve in the group is always done solely for the sake of getting a reward. It can be a “restitution” that compensates us for only 1% of our efforts; the other 99% of our activities we do for the sake of others. Still, anything we ever do is done only because of this 1%.
For example, many steam and mechanical engines have efficiency not higher than 3-5%, but they were created specifically to perform with this level of efficiency. That’s why for us 1% has a huge significance. All we do is just for this 1%. If not for this 1%, we won’t be able to give 99% to others.
The question is: Do we really work to get 1% and for this kind of reward we involuntarily give away 99%? Let’s say, I have a boss who exploits me and pays me the minimum wage, but this wage somehow supports my existence. On the contrary, the work I do for my boss equals 99%, and I get back only 1% even though I don’t approve of this state of affairs. However, I won’t be able to exist without this 1%. If I don’t understand this “plan,” I won’t be able to work for my boss at all.
If we explore ourselves deeply enough, we’ll see that in order to achieve complete bestowal without receiving anything for our own sake, we are unable to make a single move, our body just won’t let us! Therefore, it’s possible to come to a state of absolute bestowal only under a special influence from Above.
Those who are subject to this kind of impact go through the process of internal inversion and relate to themselves in a totally different way. That’s why it is said: “Try and see how beautiful the Creator is” since the property of complete bestowal “outside ourselves” is a quality of the Creator.
If it is so, then we just have to understand why we should apply all kinds of efforts, follow numerous tips, try to reach the property of complete bestowal even if we know that no advice can ever help us to re-arrange ourselves unless the upper force descends and corrects us, thus giving us a chance to work for the sake of others.
In this case, why should we keep trying? The thing is that each one of us has a responsibility to apply maximal efforts and strive to correct ourselves using any remedies that are available to us. Exertions that we make are called “a prayer.” In other words, a prayer is a demonstration of our intentions and desires. A prayer is a manifestation of what in fact we are aspiring to.
From the 1st part of the Daily Kabbalah Lesson 10/8/14, Shamati #5