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Stiff Competition

Stiff Competition


You’re feeling on top of your game, motivated. You want to do things right, and you idealistically make the time to learn or pray bright and early in the morning. But just as you are all set, your mind is flooded with torrents of distracting thoughts, from the mundane to the downright forbidden.

Can’t your brain ever give you a break? Can you ever have peace from the pesky animal soul?

Not really. Even if you do experience a reprieve, it is only temporary.

Rather than feeling down about it, you should be glad because if your animal soul is putting in effort to distract you, it signals that it’s in trouble. Just as a big business won't reckon with a company unless the CEO perceives it as actual competition, the animal soul wouldn’t try so hard to pull you away if you weren’t involved in something good.

It’s not that you’re a hypocrite. There are two forces trying to corner the market and get the lion’s share of your brain. Your animal soul gets so nervous while you are learning or praying that it tries to make a desperate attempt to counteract these positive actions.

If it felt like it had the upper hand over the G‑dly soul, then it would likely rest on its laurels. If it’s picking up speed in the form of inappropriate thoughts or desires, then it means that you’re doing something right.

So, how should you deal with it?

Simply ignore it. Don’t get busy engaging with negative thoughts or figuring out how to deal with them. Instead of focusing on what notto think about, throw your energy into what you do want to think about. That is the only way to avoid being sucked into the animal soul’s whirlpool.

And if you’re finding it really, really difficult, then humbly ask G‑d to have compassion for you and help you out with your battle against your animal soul.

So that you can go on and pray in peace.

Tanya Bit: When inappropriate thoughts enter your mind at a furious pace, they signal that there is stiff competition. Keep up the good work!

(Inspired from Chapter 28 of Tanya)

Sara Blau is a teacher and extracurricular director at Beth Rivkah High School. She is a wife, mother, and author of several children“s books.
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Anonymous December 26, 2017

My problem is my brain won’t let me sleep at night with all kinds of worry’s and thinking about everything that needs to be done tomorrow.
As to davening, I just whip through it and don’t even think. My problem is check emails before davening which means I’m always starting late. Reply

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