We all have things we’re good at. Sometimes they’re thing to be proud about, like prowess with money, math, or words. Others are less admirable and useful, like being great at driving under the influence. We want admiration for the first set of traits, and hope the others won’t end up getting us in too much trouble.
This week Moses gives the Israelites a detailed litany of their failures and transgressions. It’s delivered the way an ex (or soon-to-be ex) might recite them: The time when you blah blah blah. And the time when you didn’t…. It’s not endearing, but it does raise rather interesting questions of why we’re so good at disobedience. Why we’re so good at rebelling, acting out of fear and lack of trust, impatience and desire trumping faith and the higher moral high ground. And also whether we’re happy repeating that pattern over and over or are ready for a change.
Eons ago, at the dawn of my deeper metaphysical work, I was studying higher math. This came after decades of flipping past charts and tables whenever they appeared. It was only intro calculus, but it was enough to show me two of the principles of the cosmic dynamic.
Stay with me because they’re not that hard. Principle One: the universe stretches from one infinitely far away place to its opposite infinitely far away place. Principle Two: the difference in space/time between any one thing and its neighbor can be teeny tiny small, just a nano-breath greater than zero, but any two things that are different are by definition not the same.
I use these principles to illustrate what I call the calculus of the soul. No matter what issue or action you’re thinking about taking, you have a huge range of possible behaviors available to you. Plus an infinite amount of equivocation and rationalization to help you decide where on the spectrum you’re going to land today, this time. That’s an intellectual approach. You may function on gut or emotion, but the outcome is still somewhere on the range between pure obedience and pure screwing up.
In my world, obedience means not eating sugar anymore. Perhaps not to the zero tolerance, not even if it’s ingredient number twelve on a package, level. But between the raw white stuff, honey, agave, date or coconut sugar, stevia, and zero none, I’m sticking to fruit, and whatever’s in a glass of wine, or the occasional slice of bread. It’s a health thing, but it’s also retraining my taste buds. I don’t ever expect to lust for sour, but it would be nice to be satisfied with savory. I’m in day seven, and it’s easier than it’s been the last zillion times I’ve tried.
We trek the same territory year after year. Cycle through Torah striving to become better and better, or at least get it right more often than we did the last time around. You may be trying to become the you that you feel you are in your soul, even if her disobedient clones cause you to stumble on your path.
Eventually though, you will improve. We all do. And you’ll get one step closer to where you wanna go.