Question: Isaac, you have spoken about the horse and rider, body and soul. I think you said the horse – the ego and physical body – produces your physical children. The rider – the soul – produces devotion and connection to God. Would you please say more about this?
In this metaphor the horse is “Nefesh,” the physical body. The Nefesh is sometimes called the animal soul. Nefesh is one level of consciousness or awareness. The body has consciousness, just as you have consciousness.
Many of us assume we own our body. We do not. The body is given to us temporarily, to be our vehicle while we are here.
It is a mitzvah (good deed, commandment) to take good care of one’s body. To exercise and eat healthy foods, to get enough rest.
Some of us neglect our body.
If the body were a pet in our house, we would treat it better than many of us do.
Some of us might be turned in to the police for mistreating our pet.
We should respect and nurture our horse, our body, our Nefesh, appropriately. Comb it down and treat it well. We should not drive it so hard.
We are only borrowing it.
Take good care of it.
The rider is the Soul. The Soul operates in an orderly way.
The Soul has wisdom. The Soul can engage in higher ideas, in devotion to God.
There must be a good balance between rider and horse.
The horse should obey the rider, and the rider cares for the horse.
The Soul directs the body.
The body, the horse, should not be the master.
When the horse tries to run things, that’s when your animal drives take over. You eat the whole carton of ice cream. You succumb to road rage. You follow the impulses of the ego and the body.
We need to master our ego, master the horse, and rein in the excesses of the body.
What we want is a good team, good cooperation between horse and rider.
When rider and horse team up well, they produce good works in the world.
Question: Okay, and the body helps produce our children, if we have any. The admonition to “be fruitful and multiply” does not apply only to having children, is that correct?
Our sages say your primary “children” are your actions in this world.
What ripples have you created by your good actions, your mitzvot? This is primary.
Having children, teaching children, is wonderful of course, but it’s even more important to keep an eye on your actions in the world.
Comment: I’ve also wondered about “be fruitful and multiply” because we are getting so overpopulated.
Yes, many of our religions have handed that advice to us, until we are crammed in shoulder to shoulder here. Sometimes religions say impractical things.
Comment: Isaac, thank you so much for sharing your knowledge with us.
Isaac shrugged, smiling, and said, it’s just information. I’m just a mouthpiece. We’re on an even playing field when it comes to our horse and rider. I have a long way to go in that regard, just like anybody. I often notice people in this community giving to each other so beautifully, and I am deeply impressed. We are all on this journey together.
This is an excerpt from Chapter 21 of Volume 5, Walking the Bridge: to Freedom and Light
(Thanks to FreeSVG for this image.)