Here's what I wrote in response to a post at A Simple Jew, entitled: The Moment Your "I" Disappears. Any thoughts?
Everything you're saying is true.
With that said, you cannot be mevatel your "I" to G-d before you even know who that "I" is that you are being mevatel.
I came to this realization when trying to understand something that Rav Itamar Shwartz, shlita, wrote at the End of Bilvavi Mishkan Evneh, Vol. 2. He wrote there, in the context of making everything that you do "Lishma," i.e. for the sake of giving nachas ruach to Hashem, that one first must clarify to himself why he is doing everything, and only then can he begin to work on being mevatel all of the other reasons and only doing things for the sake of giving nachas ruach to Hashem.
I wondered why this is. If the whole purpose is to rid one's self of all of the external "I's" reasons for doing things, then why not just immediately begin working on davening and working on serving Hashem for Hashem's sake.
The reason, ostensibly, is that until I understand all of the personal reasons why I do various mitzvos, I can't work on being mevatel them. Until I understand what it is that I must rid myself of, I can't target and eliminate those aspects of "myself."
Although you are right that total bitul is the ideal, the vast majority of us will not reach that goal if we skip the necessary pre-condition, which is understanding the self that we are to be mevatel.
(Picture courtesy of kybele.psych.cornell.edu)
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