Wednesday, 21 February 2007

The Prisoner of I

There comes a moment in all of our lives when we're imprisoned within ourselves. After which, we're doomed to spend the rest of our lives within an illusion that we call "I". Few, if any of us can recall the moment the prison door shut. In fact, most of us don't even realise it's shut at all.

This incarceration happens when we're young. It begins the moment we realise our actions effect the world around us. If we cry, something soothes us. If we move our hands, we'll find something to grip. We might even put it in our mouths to experience its texture. At this point, we begin to think of ourselves as an agent that can change the world around us.

In this moment, we set ourselves apart from the universe. Nearly everything becomes 'It', and what remains is 'I'. All around us are entities that collude in this delusion. The thing that soothed us, smiles when we call it 'Mummy'. We become happy. We get called you.

The experience of growing up could be thought of as a gradual separation from everything else. In our culture, we become adult once this divorce is complete; once we know ourselves fully as an 'I'.

As adults, we find ourselves in a world of other I's. We've learnt to define ourselves by roles such as father, professional, friend, car driver and debtor. We compare these roles against other people. Other I's; better fathers, richer men, bigger cars and larger incomes.

Of course, in these things we find some form of happiness. Being able to say that I have a big car because I'm a productive worker provides for some satisfaction. But it's not particularly wholesome.

For me, this is where the notion of spirituality becomes important. We could consider spirituality to be a reaching out from our 'I' prisons, into a realm where the 'self ' becomes no more significant than the 'other'.

This is where spirituality becomes esoteric and difficult to think about. Most people struggle to truly differentiate between I, Us, Me and Thou. Myself included - I've yet to experience the epiphany of selflessness that many eastern philosophers describe.

However, I know what they're getting at. Much of what we would describe as spiritual in the west, can be thought of as reaching out of one's self. Reaching out to things like love, altruism, meaning & purpose.

I know that to anyone with a basic working knowledge of the ideas of consciousness, this post will represent nothing new. For this you have my apologies. However, it has helped me restate and understand my goal a little better.

I started this blog to explore the idea of spirituality without god. I began without any notion of a starting point. I guess this post is the closest I'll come to it.


Mikayla Starstuff said...

I'm enjoying reading though your last few posts.

Your thoughts on spirituality are a lot like my own. It's all about our relationships with each other and the world around us. And our inner life--which I guess you'd call our relationship with ourself.

It never was about any god, not really.

jamon said...

Hi Mikayla,

Thanks for dropping in. I'm glad you like the posts. Sometimes I worry that I'm disappearing up my own behind with this stuff.

The god bit, in my view, was about swapping a small box (I), with a slightly larger one (God). Both inherently finite & limited.