Hold On! Just a Hairsbreadth
Meshivat Nefesh #29
Sometimes I can feel overwhelmed by my great distance from my spiritual goals. Rebbe Nachman offered encouragement, though, to help me see my situation in the right perspective.
A human being living in the physical universe is suffused by, and surrounded by, the pull of the material at all times. This means that every movement toward the spiritual runs against a powerful physical current. And for the person who is more earthy, more attached to materialism, that current is even stronger.
What this means is that every motion toward God, even if it’s only by a hairsbreadth, is of unimaginable significance.
Rebbe Nachman used a physical model to convey the idea. Imagine yourself at the epicenter of a circle, corresponding to the physical world where we stand. Rays extend outward toward the perimeter, which represents the world of the spirit. When you’re down at the center, an incremental movement can seem minute, but if you extend the point outward toward the perimeter, you see from the arc along the circumference that the incremental change is really much bigger than you thought. And if you were to extend the size of the circle out to infinity, the arc along the perimeter would be correspondingly infinite.
So even though the little act “down here” at the epicenter can seem so small, it’s only because we don’t have the eyes to see it “extend outward” into the spiritual realm. If we could see how many light years we travel on high with a single, hairsbreadth of a motion toward God, we would run to do whatever we could in Divine service, no matter how small it appears.
Be with me so that I will always remember
that my every act is bound up with infinity
through the power of my Godly soul.
The smallest motion I make toward You
down here at ground zero
means light years of travel
in the world of the spirit.
(Based on Likutey Moharan II:48)