Thursday, July 8, 2010

Brian’s Reflection: Friday, July 9, 2010

Make yourself free from self at one stroke!
Like a sword be without trace of soft iron;
Like a steel mirror, scour off all rust with contrition.


Rumi says, “Make yourself free from self”. Yet, lots of guides today are saying, Be Your Self! Words - they can be so confusing. What’s going on here?

In this case, “self” can be both positive and negative, “spiritually” speaking. Just as “ego” can. The real question, I think, is about healthiness or unhealthiness. And the issue is about “killing” the unhealthy ego or self, and about giving life to the healthy ego or self.

What we seem to be talking about is either the complete Self or the incomplete Self. This is, I think, true of all spiritualities or psychologies. The complete Self is a personal identity that has made contact with and joined forces with the Energy of All Being. Some call this God. The incomplete Self has not made this connection. Complete Selves understands themselves to be related with and one with all things. This creates positive, life-affirming behaviour. Incomplete Selves do not, but see themselves at odds with or separated from the rest of Existence; this creates all kinds of negative behaviour. St. Paul called the former “works of the spirit”, and the latter, “works of the flesh”. (I wish he hadn’t chosen those words – again, very confusing.)

Anyway: we need to be free of the Incomplete Self and the destructive behaviour it generates. There is only one person who can free ourselves from it. Our Self. No one else.

We should do it surgically like a sharp sword, and with determination, like a strong abrasive scouring brush taken to rusted steel. With courage and trust and faith.

Then we are Free.