Question: Were there any other methods before the teaching of the Ari beside the method of suffering?
Answer: No. Mostly, it was about the method of suffering, which allowed people to rise above egoism, because we feel bad in it. A person even deliberately drove himself into egoistic suffering in order to force himself to rise above the ego, run away from it, and thus awaken altruistic qualities within himself.
Question: Does it mean that suffering softens egoism and it is easier for a person to run away from it?
Answer: Yes, but only at very small levels of egoism because this method does not work at higher levels.
Question: Why? If I have a high level of egoism, will suffering not affect me? Or on the contrary, does a person with a huge egoism become more sensitive?
Answer: No, you cannot force yourself to approach such suffering. Previously, people consciously approached them. That is why it was said, “Eat bread with salt, drink plain water, sleep on bare ground, and study Kabbalah, and then you will succeed!”
But there is a limit up to what level of suffering a person can go against himself. This does not mean simply to cut yourself into pieces. This means that he must live this way.
From KabTV’s “Spiritual States” 8/2/22