“First of all, hold a magnifying glass & focus the sun’s rays on a leaf,” said my teacher, “then take it out of focus & see how quickly the leaf burns”. “But not much is going to happen”, I responded. “Exactly,” he said, “and that is what you are doing with your energy”.
We may be seduced by false representations of power, be it cars, homes or cashflow, but the Masters stressed that true power is being able to control one’s emotions (Ethics, 4:1). Ultimate strength is the ability to harness your passions like the laser-focused sun under a magnifier.
The principle of Strength/“Gevurah” is the essential quality of the forefather Isaac. He appears nondescript at times, meditating in a field or performing the apparently unimaginative act of re-opening the wells that his father Abraham had previously excavated. He follows his father in so many other ways (moving to Egypt to avoid a famine, pretending his wife is his sister to avoid trouble, even getting married at 40) that we can wonder if he has any strength at all. Rather, the strength of Isaac is the potential strength of all of us: to use our available energy with the best possible focus.
A common objection to beginning meditation or yoga is “I can’t focus my mind”, “I’m just not good at meditation” or “I’m not flexible enough”. The logic makes initial sense, but it’s similar to a five-year-old child saying “there’s no point me trying to learn a bicycle because I’m not good at balancing. I’m not a bicycle-riding kind of person”. Rather, we work at it. We take the magnifying lens, practice & focus the sunbeam of our energy. Therein lies true strength.
This principle extends to our health, our relationship, our career & our business. If we strip away another layer, we see that everything we do is magnified anyway: Time is The Great Magnifier as the years go by quickly and we see the results of our behaviour, be it good or bad. Do you want to be a laser-focused or for life to go by in a blur? Harness your sunbeam!
Based on Parsha Chayei Sarah & Parsha Toldot.”