Wednesday, June 26, 2013

The Instruments of Fear - Invasion of the "Thought-Snatchers"

Pardon me if it's a bit rambling. These thoughts contain for me many seminal ideas that have been in formation the last 5 years. They may not be %100 clear here and a work in progress, nevertheless they contain an important part of the tapestry of how we work altogether. Understanding the world of our thoughts is not straight-forward Torah topic yet it is the underpinning of growing in the right direction and serving God. With that I give you more of an impressionist painting.

Thought comes along from the source of all formless energy that animates the entire world at every moment. Thought is like all other matter that is made up of molecules in different combinations of protons, neutrons and electrons etc. Thought, like all other physical and spiritual matter is made up and originates from the same infinite formless energy (from the infinite one).

Although, the infinite, formless energy starts out all the same as it originates all from "one" source, nevertheless, once it travels a path that traverses from the infinite to our world, the one we live in it will appear to all of us differently. In general, different shapes, sizes, colors, textures, densities etc but also we each will see the same thing like a chair but we will all experience the same chair differently.

Formless energy also appears to us as thought. In general it is our consciousness that picks up this "thought" and gives us an experience of life. This is where uniformity ends.

It is through our own unique level of consciousness at any given time (very high to very low), that brings to life our own unique voices inside of us. Depending upon our own level of consciousness at any given time, everything within the spiritual and physical realm will appear slightly different to us, we will all experience the same thing differently. Our thoughts about the same thing will be different.

Our world and how we experience it creates a screen of duplicity, differentiation and multiplicity that we cannot see behind. In reality all the formless energy is one and comes from "the one"
As I mentioned before in an older post, 5 people walk into 1 movie. How movies do they see? Five! Are we doomed? no.

Our 2 main voices in Judaism are called the Yetzer Hara and the Yetzer Tov. The good and the bad inclination. The good inclination wants everything that God wants for you and deep down you want for yourself. The source of the good you truly deep down want is from your soul. The soul is a portion/part/spark of Godliness inside of you. All it wants and what you truly want is: goodness, love, perfection, oneness, truth, justice, righteousness, peace, greatness, harmony etc. This was the main voice we heard inside before the sin of Adam and Eve. All this voice wants to do is to listen to God and be like God. Your soul, although is your original identity before you came to earth, it is nevertheless, only 1 of your identities.

The other voice became your other identity. It is the "I" - the "I" when we say "I" am looking for my true self. The true self is the soul. The "I" has it's own persona -with it's own feelings, desires, and inclinations. Although deep down this identity also wants to be great, it's natural way of operating (and therefore called evil -which really means here the opposite of good not evil per se) is that, it wants to do what it wants, when it wants and how it wants until it is trained in the right way. In Torah vernacular, this voice and inclination is called the body as in the classic Jewish terminology the body-soul struggle. Although just like the physical body in general that is lazy and undisciplined, and doesn't feel like doing what it has to do to work out, eat right and be in great shape - underneath it all, the body truly loves and wants to be in great shape, so too -our 2nd voice-the "evil" inclination wants to be great. It just doesn't want to put the work in ..... at first. Everyone can relate to that if you haven't worked out in along time, it takes a good 3 months before your body says let's go to the gym. Until that it is a day to day battle.

The "I" wants greatness but it doesn't feel like doing it. it naturally wants to do what it wants, when it wants and how it wants until it is trained. And even when it is trained, it is often temporary. This voice is into comfort, escape, a lack of responsibility, accountability and in general exists inside of us as a force that feels like the path of least resistance.

As God sends us (a soul in the heavens) down to earth (no, no say it ain't so) to correct our character deficiencies and thereby create ourselves through our own good choices, earn our own true greatness (become the true millionaire) and receive the true pleasure that we were created for. Our specific character deficiencies are animated and given voice in this "I" persona -the evil inclination and what we call the body in the body soul struggle.

Although we might not be aware all of the time, character defaults like: selfishness, greediness, self centeredness, jealousy, lust (desire) and the pursuit of honor (looking for approval, recognition, affirmation, validation) speak to us all the time.
We might have these inside of us because God wants us to become more giving, loving, more trust in him etc. These character deficiencies are given voice inside of us and many times we don't know. They will skew our thoughts.

It's all very tricky. Each of these negative character traits don't just demand what it wants in straight terms. it will give us a rationalization of why a particular desire is the "right, good" thing"
Remember this "I" also wants to be great but it doesn't want to do the work. It wants the easy way, the lazy way, the drive for comfort and the path of least resistance. It says let's you and I let me appear great. The ability to rationalize is the greatest tool that it has. The smarter and more intellectual you are-watch out. You might be being duped. This misleading voice is expressed to us as thought.

How about our intuition that will necessarily tell us if we are on the right track? Not necessarily. Thought as experienced through our physical senses are "feelings". Thought and feelings are the same thing. One is experienced in the mind and the other within our senses. We could easily feel strongly about something and it could be coming form the evil inclination.

Character deficiencies are "thought snatchers" - when our consciousness is low, it amplifies, voice to are negative character traits and our thoughts appear one way and when our consciousnesses is higher is gives stronger voice to our "good" inclination.

What do we do about this?

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