The desire remains in its place; it does not have the strength to expand and to perform its action. Yet, because one thinks and contemplates on the matter, and the desire asks of the thought to provide some counsel and advice to carry out the desire, the desire thus grows, expands and performs its actual work. (Baal HaSulam, Shamati 153, “A Thought Is an Upshot Of The Desire”)
Suppose I have some small desire. If I concentrate my thoughts and my attention on it more and more, this desire will eventually rule me, determine my actions, and become obsessive; I will only think about how to fulfill it.
What is more, we need our thoughts not just in order to fulfill our desire, but also in order to sort them out, and choose those we think are essential and thus raise them even higher until I reach a state in which my only thought is: when will I be able to fulfill it and to get an answer to it, a filling?
It turns out that the thought serves the desire, and the desire is the “self” of a person. Now, there is a great self or a small self. A great self dominates the small selves.
It doesn’t simply dominate them, but it can also absorb them. Small desires can even disappear under the influence of a great desire. After all, we cannot feel many desires at once. We feel a certain great desire and all the others seemingly disappear from our sight.
The advice to magnify the self is through the persisting with the thought of the desire.
Suppose you have several desires in life: to make a lot of money, to travel the world, to get married, whatever, these are normal human desires.
Alongside these desires there are other desires about the meaning of life, the wisdom of Kabbalah, and you can manage them the more you read and know. Then you will develop inside you more thoughts about the wisdom of Kabbalah, and to this extent you will suddenly feel that all your ordinary desires become secondary in priority while the thought of attaining the meaning of life becomes the leading and most dominant thought. This is how it works.
A person can sort his desires, manage them, focus and guide himself by his thoughts. This is the reason that there is a thought and a desire. We can thus change ourselves by thinking more about one thing and less about another, by having a greater desire for one thing and a smaller desire for another, etc. But we need to control this and thus manage our future, our fate.
Since the thought grows to the extent that one thinks of it. And so, “in His law doth he meditate day and night,” for by persisting in it, it grows into a great self, until it becomes the actual ruler.
Therefore, it is said a person should constantly practice Kabbalah because from such a constant effort of thought, he will increase his spiritual desire so much that it will prevail over all things.
What does such decisive advice to engage in the wisdom of Kabbalah come down to? You should contemplate and think about the meaning of life, about who and how your are managed, how you can begin to manage yourself on your own, and how you can discover the right and most correct, convenient directions in your life. Thus, you get rid of any unnecessary desires, while the desires that determine your fate will become more important to you.
From KabTV’s “Fundamentals of Kabbalah” 4/14/19