12 Cheshvan 5782 / Monday, October 18, 2021 | Torah Reading: Vayeira
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University of the Trail    

University of the Trail

We take so many wonderful gifts in life for granted, because we fail to observe. Look at a fresh red apple. Exquisite, isn't it? Do you know the...


We now begin Chapter Two. After learning about the levels of anger in the previous chapter, this chapter will show us the two main causes of anger. Before we move on, take out that slip of paper that you wrote your initial anger-tranquility estimation. How accurate were you? No matter what your present position is, you'll soon feel your initial progress up the trail to tranquility.
* * *
Welcome to the University of the Trail. In this chapter, the allegorical wooded foothills of Mount Patience will serve as our classroom. We'll be searching for natural phenomena that teach us about the causes of anger. Learning in the outdoors is an exhilarating experience.
Rebbe Nachman of Breslev teaches that a person should search for the underlying wisdom behind every creation - mineral, plant, animal, and human. The Almighty instills infinite wisdom in the design of every being in the universe. Therefore, by carefully observing each creation, we absorb God's wisdom. Divine wisdom heightens our perception and deepens our insight.
We take so many wonderful gifts in life for granted, because we fail to observe. Look at a fresh red apple. Exquisite, isn't it? Do you know the old expression, "an apple a day keeps the doctor away?" The malic acid of an apple does wonders for the human body - it's a natural antibiotic and antioxidant. Eating a crisp apple is equal to brushing your teeth - not only does it rid your teeth of trapped food particles, it invigorates your gums and sweetens your breath. The vitamins, energy, and moisture of the apple are readily available to the body. The apple tastes good too. Consequently, each crispy apple is a compact doctor, dentist, dietician, and dining room.
The more you gain spiritual awareness, the more you'll notice the seemingly simple things around you. There's so much to learn. Appreciating the treasures of life is a key to happiness. People who take things for granted never achieve inner peace. They're always angry, because they think that they deserve more than what they have.
This chapter illustrates the two main causes of anger - arrogance and lack of spiritual awareness. By observing the environment, we'll hopefully gain an interesting insight as to why people suffer from anger and lack inner peace.
By overcoming arrogance, a person attains wisdom, happiness, longevity, faith, and understanding of Divine secrets. -- Rebbe Nachman of Breslov.
* * *
Let's view an example of nature's classroom, the Divine wisdom within each creation. Look at an anthill. Ants teach us three main lessons - honesty, faith, and diligence. Observe closely, and you'll see why.
Ants are invertebrates - they don't have a spine. Most invertebrates overheat and dehydrate in full sunlight; therefore, most of their activity above ground level is either in early morning, in late evening, or in full shade. If an ant tells a lie, his peers execute him immediately.
In bright sunlight, we don't see any ants crawling around. If we were to cast a shadow over the mound, a leader ant would poke his head out of the main entrance and walk around freely in the shade. Then, he'd return to the edge of the hole to call his buddies to come outside and join him. Meanwhile, if we were to remove the object that cast the shadow, and the emerging ants would not find shade, they'd kill the leader ant for lying to them. Ants don't tolerate the slightest form of dishonesty.
An ant lives for approximately six months, yet a grain and a half of wheat is sufficient food for its entire lifetime. If we were to dig down to the central warehouses of the anthill, we'd find about three hundred grains per ant. Each ant gathers enough food for two hundred years!
An ant never stops working, because he has faith that the Almighty will grant him a lengthy life. An ant never steals. The moment he takes a bite from a grain, the grain acquires the unique odor of its owner's saliva. No other ant will dare touch the grain of a comrade. So, by observing ants, we learn about honesty, diligence, and faith. That's what the University of the Trail is all about.
To be continued…
(The Trail to Tranquility is available in the Breslev Store.)   


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