Meshivat Nefesh #1
There are two basic motions in life—r’tzo and shov—“running” and “returning.” Up and down, two steps forward and one step back…we have a lot of ways of talking about the phases that we go through.
Rebbe Nachman spoke of those cycles in terms of walking. I need two kinds of expertise to walk the path toward G-d. I need to know how to run ahead when I’m motivated and energetic, when the road in front of me is smooth and everything comes together. Forward motion then means that I have to keep moving forward, that I can’t get complacent. I have to stay aware that I’ve hardly even begun, that the closeness with G-d that I seek is still far ahead of me. “If I would fly up to heaven, there You are…” When I’m “up,” You’re there, still ahead of me, beckoning me to keep moving forward.
But sometimes I feel so far, I’m caught in the backward pull of “return.” At that moment, the expertise that I need is to know that G-d is right here with me, accessible to me exactly where I am, and I just need to hang on and be patient until the road opens up again before me. “…But if I was to lay my bed in the grave, here You are.” When I’m down, here You are at my side, supporting me and strengthening me until I’m ready to move forward again.
(Based on Likutei Moharan I:6)