I was arguing recently against the concept of free will and the expression came to my mind that we are the painting not the painter. In other words, what we are is the product of circumstances.
In thinking about this it occurred to me that this is too simple. We are the painting and the painter, because we are capable of identifying not just with our particular self, but with the creative process of which we are an expression. We can know that we are life itself.
This is why the concept “God” is relevant to me, even though I don’t believe in the supernatural. We are an expression of something universal from which everything comes, and there are advantages in opening up to this reality.
I think what it comes down to is the degree to which we identify with our wounds and the degree to which we identify with the healthy flesh which lies beneath those wounds.
It is suffering, physical or psychological, which temporarily locks us into identification with the wounds. We become ego-embattled or ego-enchained and lose awareness of ourselves as expressions of the creative thrust of life itself. The ego – the conscious thinking self – can be a faithful servant to life. It is perhaps its most wonderful invention. But if its attention is mostly directed towards itself it is liable to just spin in circles, something which is both unproductive and unsatisfying.
Even though I don’t identify as a Christian, I’ve been very influenced by the gospels, because my sense is that the faith which Jesus advocates is a trust in, and opening up to, the creative principle of which we are an expression. To be too concerned with our particular flaws – our “sins” – is to allow ourselves to be drawn away from its healing power.
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