Monday, January 7, 2013

From Darkness to Light

Very often in life, we face situations that make us question ourselves: Are we doing the right things? Are we behaving correctly? Are we treating others as we, ourselves, would want to be treated? What can we do better?

R' Nachman of Breslov equates the yetzer ha'ra or evil inclination, that inner devil within you who wants you to make all the wrong decisions even though the real "you" knows he's wrong, to one's imagination. Our imagination is capable of taking us to places we don't want to be. It can persuade us to make the wrong decisions, and focus our attention on the wrong things. It can be a very dangerous factor.

Some extreme cases of this phenomenon can be found in individuals suffering from paranoia and hallucinations. There are people who imagine that they're constantly being "watched" or "followed," or that there's a conspiracy against them. But these are the extreme cases. Everyone suffers from one sort of paranoia or another, however.

What helps?

For one, constantly being busy, working helps a lot. When one is focused on the imortant aspects of life, they forget about "finding the next date," or the latest sports or social media news.

Being focused on your goals goes hand in hand with working. When you're focused on what you want to accomplish either short--or long term, you forget about the meaningless chatter in your head.

And how do you go from being "down in the dumps," from constantly being depressed and laying around the house all day to being a productive member of society? It takes a lot of effort, a lot of perserverance, and a steady commitment. I've done it, you can too!

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