Just like being aware that there is gravity does not change the realities of gravity, so too being aware of the yetzer hara does not change its persistence and presence in our thinking.
It can be quite frustrating to defeat the yetzer hara one day only to have it pop back the next day, seemingly in its same strength with all its imaginative and logical arguments. And we get a little exhausted. Unless we remember that we are empowered to grab the animating force out of those thoughts to nourish the universe, we could become resigned and think that imagination and the image that we build for ourselves run our lives naturally and we best just get used to that, chas v’shalom.
What would life actually be if all there were in the world were our ego-images and the willful goals that we set in order to accumulate and consume and take pleasure in the natural world? What would the values become? What would success look like? How would speech be used? In what ways would we feel actualized at the end of our lives?
Unless we have Torah, we would not know to search for an upgrade to the operating system of “me 1.0”, which is to develop imagination with a set of values understandable to universal common interests that societies set up and then to apply that imagination to reach whatever dreams and goals we seek. If the values of me 1.0 include reflections of the unconscious or subconscious mind, then we don’t even question that our nature is just who we are and we believe we are good and ask others to love us and to give us what we need, to satisfy us, to hear our cause, our complaints and to honor us! Such is existence where tzelem elokim remains subjugated to the image that we form through intellect and ego of how we should be treated. We may have no idea that we are causing damage, destruction, darkness and pain to others and bringing harm upon ourselves and concealment of Hashem’s presence in the world. We may not even know that what we chose has the potential to create such damage. We may spend time developing goodly strategies that outwardly help us to feel like we are good people, and we are, but in the end, where is our self-esteem? For example, how can a comedian die of depression?
Thus it becomes important to face the truth that we have another image, an inner image, based on tzelem elokim that is our primary identity, our life force, and is here to increase itself through what free willed choices we make to release trapped tzelem elokim from the coverings of our unconscious and subconscious. We surely need a guidebook to do this. And we have it. Torah. Torah is the instruction manual for guiding the tzelem elokim made in the image of Hashem achieve its purpose and eternal reward while in a body in time and space.
We can approach the battle of choosing an image of tzelem elokim over the image of ego. It means answering a question. Where shall I attach my imagination, to the natural feelings and the imagination of the image that I create to project into the world, or to reorganizing energy with emunah out of awe in how Hashem creates us so that imagination attaches to the reality that all there is in the world is Hashem and I desire only to use energy to be a greater moon reflecting His Attributes of Mercy into the world?
We only need emunah to try to transcend our natural selves. We don’t need emunah to demonstrate our natural urges, for they are strong and apparent and persuasive and magnetic on their own by design, to give us real free will.
Imagination must always attach to absolute truth, that all there is in the world is Hashem and we are created in His Image to reflect Him into this world over our natural urges. That is the purpose of the powers of the soul of will and emunah.
Let us declare Hashem Echad in every moment and make porous the grip that our nature has on imagination so that we can reorganize it and glue it to absolute truth.