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Am I the only one around here who struggles, or does this scenario sound familiar to you too?  Let me tell you about a position I have found myself in more than once, and let me know if you can relate.

It’s a cold, dark, winter morning and the last words I heard before going to sleep were my wife asking if I could get up in the morning and help our son get ready for school.  The alarm has just sounded, I can hear the icy wind howling outside, and as my eyes begin to open I hear myself grumbling. Suddenly, I’m struggling. I’m conflicted and torn.  On the one hand, I want to jump out of bed, whisper into my wife’s ear that she should enjoy an extra cozy hour in bed, fill my sons bowl with cereal, his morning with smiles and his heart with a healthy dose of self-esteem. On the other hand, I feel like turning off the alarm, curling up under the covers like a hibernating Grizzly, and gently apologizing to my wife for not being able to get up. So you see, I’m clearly conflicted. I love my wife and son, I want to do what’s right, kind, loving and generous, but I sure don’t feel like it.

Does this sound familiar to you? Have you ever felt the tension between what you want to do and what you feel like doing? Come on, I know you have—we all have.

Want to hear a secret? I can tell you the source of that tension. Listen to this:

Every human being has both a body and a soul. We are both physical and spiritual beings. And therein lies the tension. Our souls want to do what is good, kind, giving, idealistic, spiritual and deeply meaningful. Our bodies, on the other hand, feel like taking a nap, spending an extra day at the beach and generally doing that which requires the least amount of effort. To live a life of meaning and integrity, to strive for profound spirituality and to attempt to make a difference with our lives takes a lot of effort, and our bodies aren’t thrilled with exerting lots of effort.

This week, Jews around the world will be celebrating the holiday of Passover. You have probably heard of Passover, you may even be attending a Passover Seder, but did you know that the core theme of Passover is freedom. And I’m not just talking about the fact that the Jews were liberated from slavery in Egypt, I’m talking about deep, inner freedom. The kind of freedom we all long and yearn for. You see, the essential inner tension that we all struggle with is the tension between what we want to do and what we feel like doing. When we are unable to live life on a higher plane—when we allow the body to overwhelm us and deny us the achievement of what it is we truly want to accomplish in life, that’s called slavery. However, when we are able to put our soul’s agenda front-and-center, when we are able to overcome lethargy and the willingness to settle for mediocrity in life, when we learn to focus on what we want in life—that’s the key to freedom.

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Comments icon April 5, 2009


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