The only good news there is about the yetzer hara is that for each of us, it is the same thing over and over again until we are able to pull free from its downward spiraling pull. Wherever our free will point was set in childhood, our traumas, circumstances, education and more, our mind recalls, projects, and relives these throughout our lives. If we had very traumatic events, our lives can be filled with that trauma over and over, as we experience it in current matters in order to be given the opportunity to release the part of our soul and the Shechina in galus with it that got trapped. To do so, we need total emunah, and that takes Torah study, prayer, and time. Without those, we live with our mind as it was formed, struggling every moment to keep our heads above water and not get pulled into the darkness and swallowed up. Much of common sense is designed to help with this.
So what is the rush, really? If we beat the yetzer hara now, what will we do for aggravation the rest of our lives? Isn’t the fact that I keep Torah and do mitzvahs and am fairly normal and successful enough for Hashem to give me olam haba? The default position means that inadvertently, we remain stuck in the taivas and gaivas and feed the wrong forces.
It is important to understand that the opening through which the yetzer hara draws us does not close. That opening is in us.
With a desire to improve, effort and help from Hashem, we can familiarize ourselves to be able to stop, have awe of Hashem, exercise emunah, redirect passion to learning Torah and cry out to Hashem to save us declaring that we desire only to use our total being to reflect Hashem’s attributes of mercy into the world. Each time our life force gets mixed in with our perceptions, intellect and imagination, which is every second, we experience another opportunity, another view, of where and how we can easily be pulled toward the vortex of destruction. It is as the opening in our first moment of consciousness that we can begin to recognize which pulls are from the yetzer hara and what inner strength we have with which to cling instead to Hashem’s attributes of mercy in passionate personal prayer asking to be plucked out of the pull whose potential to permanently damage and destroy is well known.
As a person more and more recognizes the component parts of the subconscious and unconscious in terms of the elements,
Fire/gevurah/tefilla/awe of Hashem/bina/imagination/understanding/emunah/gaiva/arrogance/fear
the more consciousness we have meaning that when the matter arises, we see a free will point where we can choose Torah and emulating tzelem elokim over the natural urges.
This is an infinite path. Hashem is infinite. Although the tzelem elokim that He gives us that is made in His Image, we ourselves are not infinite. Yet aspiring to His Kindness sets us on a path of infinity. Thus it is our effort alone to embark on this journey that merits the pleasure Hashem desires to give us. No matter where on the path we are, the effort gives nourishment to the universe and has a positive influence. No matter where on the path we are, we have the free will, unlimited free will, to make the effort.
Thus the question is not what will we do for aggravation if we get to all our challenges today, but rather what pleasure can we experience through more and more connection with Hashem and what goodness can we add to the world if we embark on the journey? We see this idea when Avraham after his briss mila was in a state of connection with Hashem and broke it off to go do a mitzvah. Avraham knew that by doing so, the joy of connecting with Hashem the next time would include the pleasure of that effort to emulate Hashem’s kindness.
The flip side is, that if we do not embark on the journey to find deeper free will points and ways to prevent our tzelem elokim from participating in the activities that add power to the natural forces of the downward pulling world, inherently and unknowingly in most cases we are contributing to ideas or beliefs that just further trap us and draw us toward that vortex of destruction.
No pressure, but it might be a good season with Elul on the horizon to at least do some exploration to take one more step in finding out how we slip and make a plan for steering clear of it and redirecting.
Women interested in doing so are invited to visit www.becomingdivine.com/elul/