Only the Light can reveal the truth to you; you cannot do anything on your own. The advice that Kabbalists give you is: Try to achieve love for your neighbor. As a reward for your effort, you will feel that you hate everyone!
And an even greater reward given is realizing your own evil. Following that, yet another, higher reward will come: You will understand that you are able to act in order for the Upper Light to correct you. We need to go through all such stages and it is impossible to do this alone. This is why we are brought into a Kabbalistic group. After all, we are able to feel all of these things only in the connection with others, by practicing mutual bestowal.
This initial stage of realizing one’s evil is the most important and difficult stage. Everything else, after the realization of evil, is carried out very quickly and relatively simply.
Therefore, the greatest challenge is to overcome the first degree. It is written that “a thousand begin to study and only one comes out toward the Light.” Everyone stumbles on this first degree; they fall, leave, run away, and are thrown off the spiritual path.The most difficult time is the time of preparation because this specific degree of preparation readies us for the rest of the path.
Right now, while we are in this world we are unaware that we are preparing ourselves for the degrees that will come later on, after a thousand different actions. And later when a person has attained high spiritual degrees, he receives freedom of will specifically by virtue of going through the preparation. It provides the foundation for all the other actions and gives us the ability to make those actions freely.
It is impossible for us to have freedom otherwise, while being on the degree of reception for the sake of bestowal.
It is only when we reveal the “transgressions” of the past – from the period of preparation – that we gain the opportunity to feel separate from the Creator, and therefore, free. This is an exceptionally high state where you are situated completely within Him, but in spite of this, you have the opportunity to say, “I can still be independent!” This is why our preparation today is so important.