The self is like a seed that has been planted in this world, whose task is to give itself up, to break, disintegrate, and allow itself to dissolve into the greater life of all things, which it does not know. That’s what life is for.
But so little are we taught this these days that awareness of it is all but lost. We assume life and the world in some way belong to the self, are its theatre of operations.
It’s like Gunther Grass’s The Tin Drum – the boy who doesn’t grow up. The years roll by but he remains a small boy. So we take our self to be all it appears to be; we trust it, cleave to it, and do all we can, even at times at others’ expense, to make and keep it happy. Like a world of caterpillars that don’t know they have to give up and become chrysalises, we keep groping around as if incapable of the next step in our growth.
Some people are seriously seeking immortality these days – one day maybe brain function and content will be downloadable into data storage devices, some people hope, that could in effect keep our sense of self alive. But what is it that would be kept alive? It’s analogous to the old “schlemiels of Chelm,” the fools of Jewish folklore, who tried to trap the moon by putting a lid on a barrel of water in which they’d seen the moon reflected. When they opened up the lid in the morning, instead of finding the moon there, there was just water.
Message from Henry is from our September 18, 2017 Newsletter.
Image: Boat by Raheel9630, Public Domain CC0 from Pixabay.com