Re-Creating Your Self by Christopher Stone
Last time out, I said that “You are more than you know.” I began introducing you to a new, expansive self. This self is not flawed, mortal man, but the perfect, spiritual idea created by the Divinity in its own image and likeness, eternally valid, untouched by sin, sickness and death.
This time around, I’ll continue introducing you to the perfect version of you: explaining why you probably don’t trust your self – as well as why you should.
I concluded, last time, with the story of my student, Mary, who believed herself to be flawed and untrustworthy because that’s how the religion in which she was raised viewed personhood. Unfortunately, I’ve been hearing variations of Mary’s story for the past twenty years. It sometimes seems that the First Commandment of many religions is, “Thou Shalt Not Trust Thy Self!” Consequently, these powerful organizations hide much more than they reveal about selfhood and things spiritual.
Many Western philosophies paint selfhood as inherently sinful and untrustworthy. These world views see humankind as the one flawed, unworthy species in God’s otherwise very good Creation. Earth life is viewed as “a valley of sorrow,” and not a joyful opportunity for development and growth. Even many of the so-called enlightened Eastern philosophies consider physical life to be a second-rate existence – something to be patiently endured until the spirit is free to take up residence on a superior plane.
But if you accept the believe that the physical world is a ghetto, then you’ll create a slumdog life. When you accept a philosophy that selfhood is sinful and unreliable, then you must reject your basic goodness and value; in doing so, you deny your right to personal happiness.
The untrustworthy nature of selfhood taught by many philosophies, including religious world-views, glaringly contradicts these same religions’ belief in a Perfect God. Ultimately, could a Perfect God create less than its image and likeness: Perfection? I think not.
Some Re-Creating Your Self students trace their lack of self trust and self-value to beliefs they first accepted from the Earth Sciences, which have become “religions” in their own right. My student, Jordy, recalls, “My parents were atheists. Science was their God. Mine too, I guess. The problem is, my God told me that the world, and everything in it, was an accident. I was an accident. How could I trust myself? I mean, how can you trust an accident? I felt worthless….pointless….impotent. I feared that another accident might suddenly destroy the world as capriciously as it had been created.”
The Earth Sciences’ belief in selfhood as an accidental, haphazard phenomenon denies the individual’s value as effectively and completely as religion’s belief in the inherently sinful, untrustworthy self. Other “scientific” beliefs only make matters worse:
Freudians believe that selfhood is basically savage, amoral and egocentric. They claim that the inner self, or unconscious mind, is fearsome and depraved, not unlike religion’s devil. The individual’s deepest feelings are labeled suspect; his desires are deemed to be beyond self-comprehension. Freudians view deep self-analysis as risky business, at best. They believe that the individual requires a psycho-analyst to gain self-understanding, the way religion claims he needs the church in order to be saved. (In truth, what the individual really needs to be saved from are these false, self-limiting beliefs).
At about the same time Freud first told us not to trust our minds; the medical sciences were warning us not to trust our bodies. Suddenly, the magnificent physical organism – that temple of our expansive consciousness – which automatically performs countless life-sustaining functions was believed to be incapable of keeping its own house in healthy order.
Today we are blitzed by what I call “public dis-service announcements” insisting that, without endless drugs and examinations, your body will betray you. As if that weren’t bad enough, advertisers use the all-pervasive media to convince you that your body can’t properly perform such basic functions as digesting food or eliminating it without their products.
Considering the all-out assault on selfhood, it’s small wonder that many people have lost their sense of goodness, self trust, value and purpose. Still and all, you need to remember: the beliefs of any organization, Earth science, or business, no matter how much authority it possesses, are simply widely agreed upon theories, not irrevocable facts of life. These beliefs are subject to change. Old “facts” are regularly replaced by new ones. One example: Until the 1960s, tens of millions of Roman Catholics believed that the punishment for eating a hamburger on Friday could be eternal damnation. In an earlier time, the scientific community believed that the Earth was flat.
All organizations, be they religious, scientific, political, financial, or fraternal, have a vested interest in cultivating your dependency on their beliefs. Quite simply, people can survive without organizations, but organizations die without people.
A Re-Creating Your Self Thought: Don’t let anyone, or any organization, define your personal goodness and value. The true nature of selfhood is best known directly through you, the individual who experiences selfhood.
Have a comment, observation, or question about Re-Creating your Self? Please send them to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Next time: the previously announced Explore and Express Your Self.
Copyright 2009 by Christopher Stone