Developing “The Person” Over “The Beast”
The person develops only by discovering the importance of the goal. The only choice one has is to reach the value of developing the "man" within, over the "beast," developing the soul over the body. One is willing to exert forces according to the level of importance one has for the goal. The person can receive the value of spiritual development over corporeal development only to the extent of that person's connection to a teacher, a group and books. Moreover, at each stage the person will be given obstacles from above - greater desires and allegedly more important goals in corporeality - for the purpose of demanding the importance of spiritual development upon them. As such, the person will develop, and the choice to properly balance spiritual and corporeal development is always in the person's hands.
There is no need to wait for the revelation of the Creator to discover His value. Just like a person finds meaning in the various goals provided by society in our world - to buy or accomplish something, or to be like somebody - and spends a lifetime chasing them, in the same way, one needs to be excited by the society that values the purpose of life. To the extent that the person approaches the society for the purpose of receiving impressions, enthusiasm and inspiration - forces for development - the force that exists in the society works on him, and he progresses. The person will never receive importance for progressing from himself - he can only receive it from the society.
Baal HaSulam writes about this: "If he has no will power and a desire for spirituality, if he is among people who have a will and a desire for spirituality, if he likes these people, he also takes their strengthening force and the desires and the ambitions, even though from the force of his own character he does not have those desires and passions and force of strengthening. Rather, according to the charm and importance that he considers those people, then he receives new forces." Meaning, a person must approach the society egoistically. We are not required to jump over our head, to suddenly become righteous or saintly people. Do I want to reach something higher than this life? If the answer is yes, then I need to subjugate myself toward the society and receive whatever is "in style" from it, whatever is in it that is important to the friends. Is spirituality important to them? If so, they will bestow to me the value of spirituality. If I am impressed by them, I will have the energy to do something. The envy is an immense force - "Writers' envy will increase wisdom." Therefore it is important to treat every friend as though he is great - he yearns for the spiritual goal, he comes to the society and invests everything in it. And where am I? Then one will have the energy to progress.
Signs Of Spiritual Progress
The first sign of spiritual progress is when one begins to understand the material more, feel it more. Not in the mind, but in the feeling. The heart understands. A second sign of progress is when one begins to feel the importance of the society - that specifically in it and nowhere else can the person discover spirituality. A third sign is that one puts all efforts into attending our congresses and gatherings. What other signs are there? It is when one discovers that one truly wants to study on a more regular basis out of understanding the value of the lesson. These are, of course, external signs, but through them a person develops until, through the connection with people like him, through the society, through dissemination, nowhere else, he suddenly starts discovering how his disrespect changes to consideration. And this is something that takes places egoistically. You think that I am willing to be considerate toward them? Instead, they start becoming important to me. I start seeing them as partners.
Later, out of their importance to me, I start becoming concerned about them. And not necessarily because it receives an external expression, but I begin to feel that I want to bestow to them to a certain degree, like I feel towards something that is valuable and important to me. Again, for now everything still remains on egoistic grounds. But out of the desire to bestow to them, the Light already begins to operate. I begin to feel that I possess qualities that I need to correct, and I want to correct them in order to treat them out of bestowal, truly with love. Moreover, I feel that only the Light can solve this problem, and I yearn for it to come... and then it comes. Where does it operate? It operates in the reversal of hatred to love. And then, in the same attitude among us, I discover the spiritual world. In the attitude among the souls, among our inner desires - there I start discovering the Creator. And then I start feeling and seeing that this corporeal life is not real. This image that was drawn in front of me - there is no actuality in it. It is not the real picture; it's fabricated. This is a fabricated world. And the more I enter these forces, to a deeper and deeper connection among people, I discover the real matter that the Creator created and realize that this is the only thing that exists. And then I discover that so far I have been living in an illusion, in blindness, in concealment, so that out of it I will discover the only situation that exists.
Today, it seems like the relationships among us are not so serious. Where is the certainty in them? They are not guns or canes that I can hold in my hand, or a million dollars that I can put in my pocket. They are invisible, incapable of being felt, and we do not know how to work with them. However, if we only performed in ourselves this psychological change, then instead of progressing through blows we would put the whole of creation into implementation.