The War Inside

One of the lines I repeat to myself all of the time is “there’s a war going on outside no man is safe from.” It’s a piece of Mobb Deep poetry about the darkness of the world. About how once you see the shadows, “you shook, cause ain’t no such things as halfway crooks.”

And I can’t help but think how applies internally too. If there aren’t halfway crooks on the outside, we have to apply the same honesty internally too. Survival therefore requires becoming strong against the resistance. 

I got stopped by a Rabbi Mordecai Finley quote (h/t Steven Pressfield) on this topic. The quote goes,  

“There is a second self inside you, an inner, shadow Self. This self doesn’t care about you. It doesn’t love you. It has its own agenda, and it will kill you. It will kill you like cancer. It will kill you to achieve its agenda, which is to prevent you from actualizing your Self, from becoming who you really are. This shadow self is called, in the Kabbalistic lexicon, the ‘yetzer hara.’ The yetzer hara, Steve, is what you would call Resistance.”

Rabbi Mordecai Finley, in conversation, July 4, 2010

How we face the conflicts defines our journeys. The tragic gap is the acknowledgment of the inner and outer conflicts. The inherent tensions around us, and the resolutions only we can offer. 

Whether we want to complete thoughts to file away in our personal archive, or we’re looking to change the world with the stories we tell to ourselves and others – it all comes back to seeing these patterns, and understanding how to close them. 

Not to solve all the problems. But to know they’re there. And to make peace with the world as it is, and what we must do to survive in it. Together. There’s no shadow without a light. 

These other two lines from the song, I say these to myself a lot too:

When worse comes to worst my peoples come first

Survival of the fit, only the strong survive

Open your eyes and get wise.