I Do No Understand My Own Actions

The Richard Urban Show
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Numbers 10

On the twentieth day of the second month[a] of that same year, the cloud over the sacred tent moved on. 12 So the Israelites broke camp and left the Sinai Desert. And some time later, the cloud stopped in the Paran Desert.[b]13 This was the first time the Lord had told Moses to command the people of Israel to move on.

Psalm 80

17 But help the one who sits
    at your right side,
    the one you raised
    to be your own.
18 Then we will never turn away.
    Put new life into us,
    and we will worship you.

19 Lord God All-Powerful,
make us strong again!
    Smile on us and save us.

The War Within

The human condition is beset by inner conflict between two opposing inclinations, one good and the other evil. as long as people are plagued by this inner contradiction, they can neither realize their divine self nor achieve a state of wholeness. paradoxically, people immersed in worldly life may not always recognize the war within themselves—except in the glimmerings of a guilty conscience. on the other hand, those who strive to lead a conscientious or religious life are directly confronted by this problem. 
    Father Moon teaches that this inner contradiction is a direct result of the human Fall. it cannot be that God created human beings with such a contradiction, he maintains, or God would not be a God of goodness and humans would have no hope to reach perfection. no, this inner contradiction is evidence of a distortion in human nature, caused by the human Fall. the war between mind and body will never end until the problem of the Fall is solved.

I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate. Now if I do what I do not want, I agree that the law is good. So then it is no longer I that do it, but sin which dwells within me. For I know that nothing good dwells within me, that is, in my flesh. I can will what is right, but I cannot do it. For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I do. Now if I do what I do not want, it is no longer I that do it, but sin which dwells within me.
    So I find it to be a law that when I want to do right, evil lies close at hand. For I delight in the law of God, in my inmost self, but I see in my members another law at war with the law of my mind and making me captive to the law of sin which dwells in my members. Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death?
    Romans 7.15-24
 
I know what is good
but I am not inclined to do it;
I know also what is bad,
but I do not refrain from doing it;
I just do as I am prompted to do
by some divine spirit
standing in my heart. 21
    Mahabharata (Hinduism)
 
Rabbi Isaac said, “Man’s evil inclination renews itself daily against him, as it is said, imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil every day.’ [Genesis 6.5].” And Rabbi Simeon ben Levi said, “Man’s evil inclination gathers strength against him daily and seeks to slay him… and were not the Holy One, blessed be He, to help him, he could not prevail against it.”
    Talmud, Kiddushin 30b (Judaism)
 
By the fetters of envy and selfishness are all bound—gods, men, demons… so that although they wish, “Would that we might live in friendship, without hatred, injury, enmity or malignity,” they still live in enmity, hating, injur-ing, hostile, malign.
    Digha Nikaya 2.276 (Buddhism)
 
All vices are like chains thrown around the neck.
    Adi Granth, Sorath, M.1 p. 595 (Sikhism)
 
Whatever harm a foe may do to a foe, or a hater to a hater, an ill-directed mind can do one far greater harm.
    Dhammapada 42 (Buddhism)
 
Surely God wrongs not men anything, but men wrong themselves.
    Qur’an 10.44
 
The spirit is indeed willing, but the flesh is weak.
    Matthew 26.41
 
Man should discover his own reality
and not thwart himself.
For he has the self as his only friend,
or as his only enemy.
A person has the self as a friend
when he has conquered himself,
But if he rejects his own reality,
the self will war against him.
    Bhagavad-Gita 6.5-6 (Hinduism)
 
The Prophet declared, “We have returned from the lesser holy war (al jihad al-asghar) to the greater holy war (al jihad al-akbar).” They asked, “O Prophet of God, which is the greater war?” He replied, “Struggle against the lower self.”
    Hadith (Islam)
 
What is the life of virtue save one unending war with evil inclinations, and not with solicitations of other people alone, but with evil inclinations that arise within ourselves and are our very own… And when we seek final rest in the supreme good, what do we seek save an end to this conflict between flesh and spirit, freedom from this propensity to evil against which the spirit is at war? Yet, will as we may, such liberty cannot be had in mortal life.
    Saint Augustine, City of God 19.4 (Christianity)
 
 

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