Letters to Jesus (Ego, False-self, and Groundhog Day -9
I want to tell You about a theory I have. Percentage-wise, You know that more than any other topic, I write to You about “self.” There are some knotty problems presented by our perceptions or sense of self. It sticks to us like glue and is the source of all spiritual conflict. It is in just this sense that continual reflection on the self has led me to theorize that the “devil” we speak of when we characterize our weaknesses as the world, the flesh, and the devil, may just be the “self.”
In the story of creation man in the garden was, at first, blissfully unaware of his naked self in the presence of God. It was when man asserted his “self” beyond the will of God that he became aware of himself and his “nakedness.” Man became “self” – conscious. From that time on he has struggled against “self” to somehow return to that pristine time before the devil of “self” conflicted our nature. The garden (the world) didn’t change but the devil of “self” makes us change it all the time. The flesh is that which was first given to us. But the devil of “self” is what makes us slaves to the constant whims of the flesh. Our own interior self-consciousness also makes us less aware or concerned with the “self” of others. We would rather assert our own “self.”
Granted, what we uniquely are (the gift of self) is precious, but I think the distinction between self as being and self as willed must be made. Many writers name the two selves the “true self” and the “false self.” The true self is the essence of our individual being which You have given to us. It is, as it were, our “Adam-and-Eve-ness” before the fall. Our false self is whatever we’ve sold ourselves about ourselves – after the fall. Thus, to be self-conscious can be either bad or good depending on which self we are most conscious of. Being conscious of our essence, our true being, is good. In this we become more in touch with our roots – the very ground of our being. Being in touch with the self we’ve created draws us ever farther from our true selves. This false self has all the potential (and some of the actuality) of the “no” uttered to our true selves in the garden.
The soul of my life is the unique spirit (self) given to me by You. What I do can either enhance or disguise that spirit. But for the life of me, I cannot escape the fact that the one be-devils the other.