The concealment of one’s spiritual level is one of the imperative conditions of a successful spiritual ascent.
Concealment of this type implies the performance of actions so that they are not noticeable to others.
Most important, however, is the concealment of a person’s thoughts and aspirations. If a situation arises in which a Kabbalist must express a point of view, it must be blurred and expressed in very general terms, so that the Kabbalist’s true intentions do not become clear.
For example, let us suppose that a person makes a large donation in support of Kabbalah lessons, but also puts forth a condition that a public acknowledgment of the donor be printed in the newspaper. Mention would also be made of the large sum of money given, in order for the donor to receive fame and thereby to receive pleasure.
However, even though it seems clear that honor is the main desire of the donor, it is also possible that the donor wishes to disguise the fact that the newspaper article will advance the spreading of Kabbalah. Thus, concealment generally takes place in intentions, rather than in actions.
In Constant Correction of Thoughts and Intentions
If the Creator must send a Kabbalist a feeling of spiritual decline, then, first, He will take away the Kabbalist’s faith in other great Kabbalists. Otherwise, the Kabbalist could receive encouragement from them, and thus never come to experience the spiritual decline.
The multitudes that observe the commandments are only concerned with their own actions, but not with their intentions. It is clear to them that they observe for the sake of the reward, either in this world or in the next. They always have a justification for their actions and they perceive themselves to be righteous.
On the other hand, a Kabbalist who works on correcting innate egoism attempts to control every intention to observe the commandments. While the desire may be to carry out the Will of the Creator selflessly, the body will oppose this, along with constantly obstructing thoughts. Consequently, the Kabbalist will feel like a sinner.
All this is done for a purpose. The Creator wants to prompt the Kabbalist to engage in constant correction of both thoughts and intentions. Thus, the Kabbalist will not remain enslaved by egoism; and not continue to toil for the sake of the self, as do others, and will realize that there is no other way to carry out the Will of the Creator, except for His sake.
Battling for the Creator’s Control
It is from this process that the Kabbalist derives a very intense feeling of being worse than the masses. For the masses, their inability to grasp their true spiritual state is the underlying cause of the physical observance of commandments.
But a Kabbalist is obligated to transform egoistic intentions to altruistic ones—or be unable to observe the commandments altogether.
For this reason, the Kabbalist sees himself as even worse than the masses.
An individual is constantly in a state of war for compliance with his desires. But there is a war of an opposite nature, in which an individual battles against the self in order to relinquish the entire territory of the heart to the Creator, and to fill the heart with one’s natural enemy—with altruism.
The aim of this battle is to ensure that the Creator should occupy the entire being of the person, not only because this is the Divine Will, but also because this is desired by the person; thus, the Creator should govern and guide us because we request this of Him.
In such a battle, we must first and foremost stop equating the self with the body, and realize that the body, the intellect, the thoughts, and emotions—all these are external attributes sent by the Creator to get us to turn to the Creator for help; to ask the Creator to overcome these attributes; to plead for the Creator to strengthen the idea of His Oneness; to reinforce the knowledge that it is He Who sends all thoughts to us; to pray that the Creator should send faith and the feeling of His Presence and His Dominion.
In this way, all thoughts to the contrary will be silenced. No longer will we believe that everything is dependent on the individual, or that in this world there is a will and a force other than the Creator.
Relinquishing Dominion over Ourselves to the Creator
For example, irrespective of the fact that we might know that the Creator created everything and has dominion over everything (the right line), we may still think that a certain other person did something bad to us, or may do something bad (the left line).
On the one hand, we are convinced that all actions emanate from a single Source—the Creator (the right line). On the other hand, we cannot suppress the thought that someone else is affecting us, or that the outcome of an event is conditional on something other than just the Creator (the left line).
Such internal collisions between opposing perceptions occur for various reasons, depending on our social ties, until the moment the Creator helps us attain the middle line. The battle takes place for our perception of the Creator’s Oneness, while the obstructing thoughts are sent to battle precisely these thoughts. We battle for victory with the help of the Creator, and for the attainment of greater perception of His Dominion, that is, the attainment of greater faith.
Our natural war centers on gratifying our egoism and on seizing greater gains, like all wars in our world. However, the meta-war—the war against our own nature—focuses on relinquishing the domain over ourselves to the “enemy”—the Creator. The meta-war attempts to surrender the entire territory in our minds and hearts to the control of the Creator, so that the Creator could fill the territory with Himself, and conquer the entire world, both the little world of the individual, and the greater world as a whole, and endow all creations with His qualities, but in accordance with their will.