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The “Inner Peace” Myth

Wednesday, 21 February, 2018 - 7:01 pm

For a 2 minute audio click here 

People have always wondered what are the forces and objectives that drive humanity

Jewish philosophy teaches that there is no one answer. Rather, two distinct and opposing agendas, which derive from two different modes of consciousness, are what drive us.

It is human nature to be inconsistent. Our desires can be contradictory. At times we seek base and materialistic pleasure, at other times we yearn for meaning and spirituality. Chassidic philosophy explains that this dichotomy is a result of the ongoing inner battle between our G-dly soul and our animal soul, each fighting for supremacy and control. 

The particulars of this struggle are unique to each individual. Our G-dly soul, which is the source of all that is good within us, strives for sanctity and transcendence, looking to use all our resources and talents in the interest of developing a relationship with G‑d and to help our fellows.

Our animal soul, however, fights to drag us down into mundane depths in order to fulfill its selfish desires. It is governed by instinct and impulse. The results of the animal drive range from basic self-centeredness, all the way to self-destructive action. Like competing wrestlers, one drive may be in control at one moment, the other drive in control the next.

In life, many look to attain inner peace and serenity. But when tranquility remains elusive, they feel deprived. This may lead to potentially destructive distractions and escapes - unfortunately even through the medium of artificial stimulants - to avoid inner tension.

In our lifetime on earth, inner peace is not a given. But our goal should be that the force of all that is good within us gains mastery over the animalistic. While the struggle may continue our entire lives, we must constantly be involved with good, plugging in deeper into our G-dly souls.

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