I’d like to talk more about the idea of crucifying our material selves. Generally, I’m curious about the range of attitudes towards not only the physical body, but the embodied self, the personality, the ego (which also relates Katinka’s distinction between self-confidence and letting go of the self).
Granting that in reality the traditions are more subtle than this, we can nonetheless see a tendency to diminish, perhaps even demonize the ‘lower’ self. In Gnosticism the body becomes a prison, in theosophical circles there is abundant talk of transcending the ego.
I don’t experience my body as a prison. To me it provides opportunity (in the same way any limitations are necessary for creativity), incarnation is a gift, even with the body’s weakness, vulnerability and inevitable collapse. Same with my personality. Metaphysically, I believe my spirit choose this body and self, and its legion flaws, intentionally.
If the entire manifest universe is the ultimate One coming to know itself, then the ultimate aspiration for each of us, for every moment of manifestation, is to be fully our self.
Let me be clear. In the vast, concept defying, vastness of time and space, there will be only one You (insert your name and defining story here). Your atma-buddhi-manas is eternal, but the particular form it chose to take here and now is utterly, radically unique.
That uniqueness includes, essentially, your temporal, embodied self, your body and personality. To negate that is to negate the motivation of manifestation.
The subtlety comes from the fact that we are layered beings. The question, then, is where to locate our uniqueness. I’ve done some incredibly selfish, mundane, harmful and indulgent things in the name of ‘following my bliss’ and ‘being true to my self’.
I keep coming back to Krishna talking to Arjuna about the chariot, where the horses are the senses and the chariot is the body. It isn’t a matter of getting rid of the horses and the chariot, it is a matter of who is guiding them.
This is why theosophy is so important. It gives us a model of the self that can help us identify who, or what in us, is really responding.
To play on the Easter theme, Pablo is correct to say we must crucify our materials selves, but the message is also that this material self is reborn, not discarded. Our eternal, spiritual self acts through our temporal, physical/emotional self.