2. Two Competing Souls

  1. Eclipse 

Throughout our lives the two souls “compete” for control over our consciousness and behavior. There is a constant tug of war. In this sense, the human is at the center of two equally demanding but incompatible impulses with no apparent means of reconciliation.

There is, likewise, an inherent tension between body and soul.  But in this earthly existence, they are stuck with one another. Without the body, the soul cannot impact the world. Without the soul, the body will rot. They must find a way to work together.

 

What does one do with the tension? There are many answers to this question, given by different religions and philosophers. The Jewish approach is not to sever ties with the material but to create a healthy dialogue between soul and body. Both must be nourished. However, finding a tender balance is a challenge. Giving too much attention to the body leads to selfishness and spiritual insensitivity. Too much attention to the soul—neglecting the body—presents another failure: one cannot fulfill one’s mission when the body is weak.

 

“Fatigue makes cowards of us all.” 

—Vince Lombardi

Horse and Rider

A Horse and Its Rider: The relationship between body and soul can be likened to a horse and its rider. The body takes the soul to a place it cannot reach alone and allows it to accomplish its mission.  Ask a wild horse to let you ride it, it will buck. It wants to do its own thing. There is an option to “break” the horse in order to ensure cooperation. But in the end, there can be no true harmony. There is another option—to build rapport and companionship so that the horse becomes an extension of the rider and those feet willingly travel anywhere the rider wishes.

We will introduce a basic principle: Inner peace and harmony can be achieved only through the supremacy of the soul/mind over the body, since in the nature and scheme of things, the body can be made to submit to the soul—willingly and eventually eagerly—but not vice versa. And we will discuss how to accomplish this.