וגם מי שהוא נקי מחטאות נעורים החמורים ישים אל לבו לקיים מאמר זהר הקדש: להיות ממארי דחושבנא

Even he who is innocent of the grievous sins of youth, but yet wants to attain a broken spirit, should set his heart to fulfill the counsel of the holy Zohar1 — to be “a master of accounts.”

This means that he should do the spiritual accounting described below as a “master”, a proprietor, to whom each set of figures represents either a profit or a loss that directly affects him — rather than as a “servant”, a hired accountant, who can view whatever bottom line eventuates with academic detachment.

דהיינו לעשות חשבון עם נפשו מכל המחשבות והדיבורים והמעשים שחלפו ועברו מיום היותו עד היום הזה, אם היו כולם מצד הקדושה, או מצד הטומאה, רחמנא לצלן, דהיינו כל המחשבות והדיבורים והמעשים אשר לא לה׳ המה, ולרצונו ולעבודתו, שזהו פירוש לשון סטרא אחרא כנ״ל פרק ו׳

This means that he should take stock with his soul of all his thoughts, utterances and actions that have come and gone since the day he came into being and until the present day. Were they all of the realm of holiness, or of the realm of impurity (G‑d forbid)? This latter realm includes also any thought, utterance or action not directed toward G‑d, His Will and His service even when they are not actually sinful, since this is the meaning of the term sitra achra: not necessarily “evil”, but simply “the other side” — the “side” (realm) that is not holy; thus anything that does not contain holiness belongs to the realm of impurity, as explained earlier, in ch. 6.

ומודעת זאת כי כל עת שהאדם מחשב מחשבות קדושות נעשה מרכבה בעת זו להיכלות הקדושה, שמהן מושפעות מחשבות הללו

Now, it is known that whenever a person thinks holy thoughts he becomes, during that time, a “chariot” for the “chambers” (heichalot) of holiness whence these thoughts originate, or, more precisely, whence their vitality originates.

Becoming a “chariot” means that he becomes completely subservient to these heichalot, to the same degree that a vehicle, having no will of its own, is completely subservient to its driver’s will. 2 When he meditates on the love of G‑d, for example, he becomes a “vehicle” for the supernal “chamber of love,” and so on.

וכן להפך, נעשה מרכבה טמאה בעת זו להיכלות הטומאה שמהן מושפעות כל מחשבות רעות, וכן בדבור ומעשה

Conversely, when he thinks impure thoughts he becomes an unclean “vehicle” for the heichalot of impurity, whence all impure thoughts originate. So, too, with speech and action.

Thus, even one who cannot call to mind any past sins can humble his spirit by contemplating how often he has become a vehicle for impurity through his thoughts, words and actions which, though not sinful, were still of the realm of the sitra achra — since they were not directed toward G‑dliness.