Hold On! The Annoying Neighbor
Meshivat Nefesh #34
It’s inevitable that my lower self—my yetzer hara—is going to try to get me on board. That’s its job. And it will keep on coming back to make its offers again and again—never getting tired, never getting bored.
So Rebbe Nachman taught me to look at those repeated efforts like I would on an annoying neighbor who comes to disturb me time after time. He’ll come and knock once, twice, three times, four times… As long as I don’t answer the door, eventually he’ll give up.
It doesn’t mean I get a permanent dispensation. But I can buy myself a good temporary reprieve. As soon as I show some interest, he’ll keep coming back doggedly. But if I can just hold my own and not respond at all, the temptation is going to pass.
This is also true of thoughts that come to distract me during prayer. If I engage with them, I’m a goner. But if I just cultivate the art of ignoring them and going about my business, I will find myself freer and freer of their annoying interruptions.
Please help me to develop the necessary talent
of ignoring the knock when my yetzer comes calling.
(Based on Likutey Moharan II:51)