Tuesday, October 16, 2007

The necessity of selfhood

A couple readers wrote in response to yesterday's posting about Ego vs. ego, the first being the Divine and the second being what is called in Christian Science "mortal mind." What's I like about the Christian Science teaching is that it clearly states that the mortal mind ego is not us. We're taught to separate out any mortal characteristics and embrace the immortal, which is our true being.

It's important to have that clear, I think, when talking about your own selfhood. The traditional Christian teaching (that I'm reading in the books I'm editing) that selfhood is inherently sinful leads to the teaching that selfhood should be dispensed with entirely. You wind up then with no self at all, which is the part I find disturbing.

So it's bothering me that there's a systemic teaching that is leading people to a limited, guilty conclusion. You're a sinner, so don't even bother to figure out what you want or what's unique about you—just dissolve yourself and do what God is telling you. Serve others without any thought to your own self-actualization.

And for some reason, this is making me think there are political and social ramifications to presenting Christianity in this way. It can stop people in their tracks as far as their own individual progress is concerned. It can lead others to take advantage of this form of "selflessness" for their own gain. Is this making sense?

I just want to put my stake in the ground then for saying I don't believe individual self-actualization and Christianity are incompatible. I think truly following Christ leads to a deeper understanding of the Divine and our own perfect image-and-likeness expression. I believe it's the intention of the Divine that we understand God and thereby ourselves, and that in understanding our own true being we also understand more spiritually. We are not inherently blocked from selfhood—we are made for it.

A bit more on this tomorrow from my artist friend Pamela...

Your ideas and inspiration are welcome! Please comment below or Contact Laura.
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At 10/16/2007 10:23:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

To me, the concept of unique spiritual identity and individuality, as explained in Christian Science have been of IMMENSE value. It gets us past the negative sense of self-immolation "you are nothing, worthless", etc. and allows us to find something much more valuable. It allows us to replace the counterfeit, superficial "me", with something much more real and lasting and of real value: our real spiritual essence, which is fully identifiable, distinct and unique.Our genuine spiritual identity is also good, useful and precious to God and discoverable and expressable by us! What a gift! The alternative to this concept of a clear spiritual identity can sometimes seem to be a kind of nihilistic nothingness, or with a kind of amorphous "absorption into deity". The concept of God as "infinite individuality" is huge!
I am so grateful to Mrs Eddy for discovering and expressing this specifically, as well as everything else!

At 10/16/2007 06:53:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ditto, Amanda!and thanks, Laura!


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