“The hurrieder I go, the behinder I get.” —Anonymous

So Much to Do—So Little Time

Cell phones. E‑mail. Video conferencing. The World Wide Web. A couple of decades ago, who could have imagined the world we take for granted today?

With such instantaneous access to information and communication, we can do lots of things at once. Obviously, this means we can accomplish much more in less time. And this, in turn, leaves us with much more satisfaction and fulfillment, as well as more time to enjoy it.


Technological Miracles: A Double-Edged Sword

We try harder, run faster and work longerThese technological miracles have made possible what was never even imaginable before. But, at the same time, they have created an intense pressure to have more, do more and be more.

It used to be that we would compare ourselves to the Joneses who lived down the block. The pressure of keeping up with the Joneses was stressful enough. Now we probably don’t even have the time to get to know our neighbors the Joneses, but we are aware of the Smiths, who built that big, beautiful house a few blocks away. And we notice the expensive cars and flashy careers, and all the other stuff we associate with “the good life.”

The Slavery of Having it All

“You can have it all!” they scream out at you, “and if you don’t, there’s something wrong with your life. Just buy this _____ [gadget, car, self-help book, etc.] and you’ll feel the way you long to feel!” “Just start this ______ [business, diet, workout regimen], and your life will start being what it should be!”

Bombarded from every direction, we can hardly help but respond. We try harder, run faster and work longer, racing at breakneck speed like mad hamsters on a wheel.

No one expects to keep running forever. We all intend to stop—just as soon as we get where we’re going. When we’re satisfied with where we are.

The unfortunate paradox is: the faster you run and the more you do, the less satisfied you will probably be.

Here’s the secret: There’s nowhere to get. It doesn’t work that way. Life doesn’t stand still and let us take shots at it until we hit the bull’s-eye and win the prize. Life is a moving target.

We Live in Unique Times

We live in unique times—times when we actually can accomplish far more, in quantity and quality, than ever before. This is a wonderful thing.

So where are we going wrong?

Within this paradigm, our increased opportunities are turning us into slavesWe have begun to believe that because we can accomplish, we must. That if something desirable exists, and we don’t have it, we aren’t fulfilled. That if there’s some standard out there, and we don’t meet it, we’ve failed. So, first we have to accomplish it all, have it all, “make it,” and then we can relax, kick back, and start to be ourselves.

Within this paradigm, instead of providing us with freedom, our increased opportunities are turning us into slaves.

“Having It All” Is Not the Point

You can work on having the right body, but even if you do manage to succeed in dieting and exercising yourself to perfection—an unlikely prospect for most of us—you will inevitably age and lose the perfection you tried so hard to create.

You can work on making the right amount of money, and you may or may not succeed. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with money, in and of itself, if used in the right ways. But interestingly, some of the people who enjoy the most money and “success”—celebrities—often have the least enduring satisfaction in life, as evidenced by their heavy drug use and high divorce rates.

Or, you can work on finding the perfect love—the kind you read about in novels and see on film. The problem is that in real life, people aren’t always slick, polished, adoring, witty and immortal. They get angry, complain, bore us, and get disillusioned with us, too.

The Secret of Freedom: Manna from Heaven

Between their liberation from slavery in Egypt and their entrance into the Promised Land, there was a forty-year period where the Jewish people wandered through the desert. Those forty years provided a necessary transition between slavery and freedom, between exile and redemption.

In the desert, there was nothing to eat. So, G‑d provided a special food, manna, that fell from Heaven each day. The people in the desert didn’t have to do anything to make the manna appear. All they had to do was go out to collect it.

And no matter how much or how little a person picked up, when he got home, he always had exactly the right amount of manna to satisfy him for that day. No more and no less.

True freedom doesn’t come from outside yourselfThe manna was miraculous. And, unlike many miracles, its miraculous nature was too obvious to mistake. Because it was impossible to collect too much or too little, it was glaringly obvious to everyone that their survival was directly in the hands of heaven.

True, each person had to do his part—to go out and collect his manna for the day—but that was it.

From Slavery to Freedom

We all want to be free. Free from debt. Free from worry. Free from fat. Free from stress. But true freedom doesn’t come from outside yourself. If you are depending on that something to make you free, you’re already a slave.

True freedom comes from the inside, from a deep and powerful connection to who you truly are and why you’re here. From that place, connected to the source, you can create things you never thought possible. You can generate miracles in your own life and in the lives of others.

When you’re a slave, you are dependent on other people and outside circumstances for your wellbeing, for your very survival. You’re full of needs. Without having those needs met, you simply can’t be who you truly are. And since it’s impossible to “have it all,” you remain a slave.

When you’re free, you may still want things. And you can certainly strive to make things happen, but as an expression of who you authentically are.

Like the Jews in the desert, you will still have to go out to the field each day to collect your portion of manna. But you can do it peacefully, happily, confidently, trustingly. Not like a slave, but as someone who’s free.

The Key to Freedom

The key to freedom is to know that you are here on earth as a soul in a body. To know that you are here for a reason, with a mission, one that can be carried out by you alone. And last, but certainly not least, to know that G‑d is lovingly supervising every moment of your life, providing you with the precise circumstances—both gifts and challenges—that will help you fulfill that mission.

G‑d is lovingly supervising every moment of your lifeIf you start from this premise, then nothing can ever be wrong. Regardless of what your life looks like today, it’s simply the perfect starting point for your soul’s self-expression. It’s an opportunity to create joy, power, love, connection, peace, trust, intimacy, generosity, or whatever it is that you crave when you’re authentically you.

And when you live life from that place of freedom, miracles inevitably happen.