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Principle of the Soul: #6 - Don't Wreck Your Life

Principle of the Soul: #6 - Don't Wreck Your Life

When you are caught up in your ego -- whether you are scared, angry, nervous, or frustrated -- you are incapable of making a sane decision.

by

Once upon a time there was the primordial couple. His name was Adam, hers, Eve. They were a very happy couple living in a very small village -- a veritable garden.

One day God tells Adam he can eat from any tree except for one. Adam doesn't take that too seriously and eats.

God goes looking for Adam the next day.

Realizing he's blown it, Adam does what many of us might do in a crisis -- he makes a run for it, diving behind a bush.

God asks him rhetorically "Where are you?" Adam answers something like, "I heard You walking around in the garden, and being naked, I hid."

How did Adam think that hiding from God could possibly be a good idea?

Trying to hide from God? How did Adam come to think that this could possibly be a good idea?

Thus, in its early passages, the Torah teaches us: When you are caught up in your ego -- whether you are scared, angry, nervous, or frustrated -- you are incapable of making a sane decision.

 

INSANE DECISIONS

 

Think about when most people quit their jobs, break up in their relationships, or decide it's time to make a career change. Usually they have just had a huge fight with a colleague or partner.

It is fact that human beings have been created such that, when they get upset, their IQ starts to plummet.

To the degree that you get upset, you get equally stupid. You are incapable of making a good decision.

How many times have you looked back on what you said or did out of an upset state and wanted to crawl under a large rock and pretend that it never happened? Remember that feeling of utter regret?

It's the ego's job to make things appear bigger than they are. The total distortion of reality -- coupled with the ego's sense of urgency and lack of perspective -- makes for the worst decisions.

It's insane to think you can hide from God, but when you are in the clutches of the ego, you ain't thinking.

It's insane to think you can hide from God, but when you are in the clutches of the ego, you ain't thinking.

The Talmud actually says that we would never commit a destructive act were it not that we were caught up in a state of insanity. When we get upset, we all go a little insane.

The trick is to recognize that when you are really feeling compelled to make a decision right away -- and you are upset about it -- it's only your ego's machinations and not reality that you are experiencing.

The story is told of a great rabbi who stored in his closet a special suit used only for special occasions. What were those special occasions? Whenever he felt himself getting angry he would step into his closet, take off his regular suit he was wearing, and change into the special one. By the time he had gone through the process of changing, he usually calmed down. He knew that making a decision in anger was never the right thing to do and he had a technique to change to a calmer mood on the spot.

 

FLOWING WITH THE SOUL

 

It is usually when you are calm -- and flowing in synch with your soul -- that you get real insight and perspective in your life. That's when you should be making decisions of importance.

The challenge is to be aware in the moment that you are incapable of making a decision, and make a conscious choice to doubt what your ego is telling you.

The humility of seeing that what looks so real in the moment is an illusion will allow you to turn your awareness back to your innate soul wisdom.

Let's say you have a fight with your spouse. You raise your voice to tell your spouse the things that will really hurt the most. Suddenly you realize that at this moment you're not totally your happy, well-adjusted self. You bite your tongue. You excuse yourself into the bedroom, where you scream into your pillow (or change your clothes). You go for a walk, slowly beginning to cool off. As you begin to calm down you realize that what you were fighting over wasn't actually so earth shattering or important. You cool down some more.

You bite your tongue and excuse yourself into the bedroom, where you scream into your pillow.

Now you can't understand why you got so angry. Out of the blue it occurs to you exactly what is needed to solve this problem.

When you're acting out of ego, you have got the communication skills of an idiot. When you slow down and access your soul, your wisdom bubbles to the surface bringing with it the wisdom you need.

It’s not easy to catch yourself in the moment and realize that only your ego is thinking, but its devastating when you don’t. Let’s go back to the Garden. What happened just prior to Adam lunching from the forbidden tree? (By the way this could be the source for the first “traif” restaurant in human history.) Adam was communing with none other than God Himself! How could Adam go so quickly from having this divine experience to completely losing his cool and trying to bury his head in the proverbial sand?

That is exactly the point: The reason why we are get seduced by our ego into thinking that whatever it sends us is real is precisely because it so quickly transforms our mood. We can go from happy and relaxed to angry and enraged in a nano-second.

This simple principle of the soul, learned from the Garden of Eden itself, can elevate our lives.

 

Published: March 11, 2000


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Visitor Comments: 3

(3) Rachel Bald, May 25, 2000 12:00 AM

Truer than True

It's a bit awesome seeing real personal experience written down on paper!

I've learned much about this the hard way.

This article is about as clear as crystal!
Take heed and you can avoid much damage!

(2) Efraim Lujan, March 18, 2000 12:00 AM

Very wise.

May I use your thoughts in a sermon? I found your page very interesting and thought provoking. This article is very well written and says much about the ego and our responsre to G-d and each other.
Efraim Lujan

(1) Anonymous, March 12, 2000 12:00 AM

Toobad I learned this 50 years later than needed!

I learned so much from this article. My life could have been more meaningful had I not acted out of ego so often. How fortunate for young people to have the opportunity to learn how to live their lives with more purpose, because they now can learn from this blessed web-source

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