I am in a battle with my soul. It is private, as many of these lay-down, drag-out fights are. It is a struggle with obedience. I take some comfort in recognizing that the struggle has reached a higher plain than when last I fought the good fight, and lost big-time.
Blind obedience is no longer required of humanity. We now have a responsibility to question, to investigate the truth for ourselves, and choose the System of Laws by which we will whole-heartedly abide. And even as we abide, we must continue to question, to learn, to understand more deeply.
For example, we accept Physical Laws. If we were to fight the Law of Gravity, we would end up bruised and battered in our attempts to free ourselves from its obligation. However, if we accept it, abide by it, study it, learn from it, we can use it to propel ourselves into the heavens and beyond.
As a youth, I struggled with Spiritual Laws. Why should I obey? No one else does! I don’t know how! But I did out of a naive sense of duty and an academic understanding of the social ills of promiscuity and alcoholism. Later, when my sense of identity had been worn down to a nub in a bad marriage, that naivety and intellectual understanding were no match for the ravages of the storms that life can throw. Bruised and battered, I climbed out of the battle-pit and decided to investigate the nature of these Laws.
Chastity suddenly loomed before me as a pillar of light holding the heavens high, keeping them from crushing me. If I abide by, abide in, this law than I will come to understand it. Through obedience, I learned that chastity is the price of a human soul. How much do I value the human soul? If it is cheap or worthless to me, than I can treat the method by which it comes into being (i.e. sex) with the same value. If I recognize its true value, than I am willing to pay the price (sex only within marriage).
Sobriety was not an issue for me in my youth. The destructive behavior of those who chose alcohol as a route to entertainment baffled me. I did not understand until later its seductive numbing powers. Shattered hearts long for relief, however short lived it may be. In my search for relief, some great beneficent Force showed me the power of connecting with my Creator. And in learning to obey that spiritual longing for connection, I learned that alcohol, even a small amount, interferes like irritating static on a bad cell-phone connection. Drunkenness is bliss. But I am cut off and then have to deal with the consequences of going against the inherent nobility of the human soul. Through this genuine, deep obedience I have learned the bliss of compassion and true surrender.
Does this mean that I no longer have cravings? My genetic predisposition to alcoholism is not just an interesting biological quirk. It is a deep thirst that rears its head when I ache to cut out the pain. My passionate nature longs to express its love in all forms – words, images, music, touch. Now I am on a higher plane of obedience. I obey from a deep appreciation for the dynamics of the laws. They are the fortress for my well-being.
But now I struggle in the realms of thought and feeling. I have learned the catastrophic consequences of suppression of thought and feeling. Restrained for too long, they burst the cage asunder and wreak havoc on the psyche. That is not the right path. Is it better to simply acknowledge the thoughts and feelings, and move on? To not dwell, that is, on those thoughts that can lead to disobedience? Or do I dwell long enough to reach some kind of understanding, then allow the thoughts/feelings to fade naturally over time? I have no answers, and this is the battle.
I am reminded of my friend Dave’s blog post on the inner battle – Two Wolves. Which one will win? The one I feed.