Sunday, May 13, 2012

The Narrow Bridge

"The world is a very narrow bridge... the main thing is not to fear at all..."  
Rabbi Nachman from Breslov
As a child, I watched Superman I. Till today, one of the scenes in the film continues to replay itself in my mind every now and again. When Superman holds up Louise Lane in mid air she asks him, "I know you are holding me, but who's holding you?!"

When one rides a skateboard it is clear that one is guiding the board, but who is guiding the skater?
Yes, the skater is consciously and willingly involved in controlling his board but there are innumerable actions taking place at the time, making the skateboarding act possible, of which the skater is completely - or only slightly- aware. For instance, who is causing the skater's heart to beat, lungs to breath, kidneys to function, brain activity to surge through the brain,etc,? What informs the skater how to maintain balance while skating? How do all the countless memories of learned skateboarding skills flow into the skater's mind?

A person traversing the world is comparable to a young child attempting to walk across a narrow log. He fears that the slightest loss of control on his part would result in a painful fall. Unbeknownst to him, however, his father walks behind him holding on to his shirt, guiding and supporting him, and whose absence would indeed result in the child's immediately fall.

When Rabbi Nachman compares the world to a very narrow bridge and then, in the same breath, encourages us to cross it without fear, he has the above truth in mind. God walks behind us, supporting us the entire way, making what seems impossible to us, possible...

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