I believe that within each of us is an innate sense of knowing that I have long suspected gives us access to something deeper and truer than our minds could ever discern.
I find a hint at this in one of the many metaphors for the Divine offered in the Biblical narrative. Among the many analogies offered for how God interfaces with humanity is that of “Warrior.” God the Warrior is presented as protector of the vulnerable and downtrodden. Yet in other places (e.g. in Parshat Ha’azinu, 32:27-43) the same Warrior is described as fighting against His children when they become complacent, overconfident or rebellious. “God is dependable,” as Rabbi Shai Held puts it in The Heart of Torah, “but God is not a patron.”
One way of thinking about this seemingly draconian metaphor is that God sends powerful spiritual forces to either support or resist our efforts depending on whether we are on the right or wrong track at any given time. Rather than recoiling from the violent connotations of the word “warrior,” we can learn to embrace this as a gift, a forceful sort of GPS to help us navigate our decisions and actions.
Many believe that we all have an innate ability to detect whether the Ultimate Force in the world is saying “You are on the fastest route. Keep going!” or “You’re messing up. Recalculate!” Whether we call this intuition, spirituality or conscience, we can learn to listen to the voice inside irrespective of of our beliefs about its origins. While every spiritual tradition, and indeed every person, will have his or her own approaches to tuning in to this larger voice, I believe it calls to each of us and can be heard if sincerely listened for. The key is to learn to get quiet enough to attune ourselves to these messages.
An important ingredient to success in nonprofit leadership is taking quiet time amidst hectic demands to listen to our hearts. The warrior’s voice may seem faint at first, but the message is ultimately quite powerful, and well worth listening for and aligning with.