(1) When a person begins serving God, the way is that they show him rejection. It seems to him that he is being rebuffed from on high and they are altogether preventing him from entering into the service of God. In reality, all distancing is nothing but being brought near.
(2) And so one needs very, very great encouragement to keep from dejection, God forbid, when he sees the passing of many, many days and years, and despite his great exertion in serving God, he is yet very distant and has not in the least begun to enter the gates of holiness. He sees that he is still riddled with crudeness and materialism, and with powerful untoward and confusing thoughts. And whatever holy matter he wants to accomplish in the service of God, they thwart him. It seems to him as if God is completely ignoring him and has no desire whatsoever for his service, because he sees that he repeatedly screams and begs and pleads for God to assist him in his devotions, and despite this he is still very, very distant. It therefore seems to him as if God is completely ignoring him and not turning to him at all, because He, God, does not want him at all.
(3) Surely, concerning all this and matters like it one needs great encouragement. A person has to encourage himself very, very much and pay no attention whatsoever to all this, for in truth all distancing is nothing but being brought near.
(4) And all the aforementioned happened to all the tzaddikim, as we heard explicitly from their mouths. It seemed to them that God was not paying any attention or turning in their direction at all, because they saw that despite spending much time pleading, seeking and devotedly serving God, they were still very, very distant. Had they not encouraged themselves very much to ignore this, they would have remained at their original place, and not merited that which they merited.
(5) And so the rule, my beloved brother, is to be very strong and courageous. Get a grip on yourself with all it takes to remain steadfast in your devotions. Do not be concerned about or pay any attention whatsoever to all the aforementioned, or matters like it.
(6) And if you are very, very distant from God, and it seems to you that you are literally always sinning against Him—even with all this, know that, on the contrary, each and every movement which such a materialistic person makes to detach himself just a bit from his materialism and turn to God, is extremely great and precious. Even if the shift from his materialism toward God is miniscule, in the upper worlds he runs many thousands of miles through this, as you will understand well from the story brought in our teachings of the tzaddik who was overcome with depression….
(7) He should greatly rejoice over this and constantly encourage himself with happiness, because depression is very, very harmful.
(8) And know! once a person wants to enter into the service of God, his becoming depressed, God forbid, immediately becomes a great sin. This is because depression is the Other Side (Zohar I, 71a), and God despises it.