Tag Archives: Incarnation

Simone Weil on the Christian Persona

The “false self” is what the Crucifixion is about.  It is about the persona that we acquire, even the “christian persona” which is the façade that many of us hide behind to keep us from the Jungian shadow that we all fear.  Behind the perfunctory righteousness and platitudes that we have learned, there is abysmal darkness that we refuse to acknowledge, even though simple acknowledgement would free us up to allow the energy of our life-force, i.e. the “Spirit of God,” to flow unimpeded and allow the “enfleshment” which the story of Jesus was about.  Read here how one great Christian Saint of the 20th century put it:

Simone Weil said that we have been given the very gift of our being by God, so everything that comes to us, everything is God’s gift, including our very being. So what can we give God in return, she says. She says what happens, for whatever reason, is that we construct a false self, a false I, a false ego. False because we become attached to it, we defend it, we attribute too much reality to it. We think it’s an end in itself rather than a means, a medium of communication, or a way of service. So the ego begins to predominate in our minds, our feelings, our relationships – in that whole complex business – and that takes years sometimes to unravel. She says the one thing we can give to God is the demolition of this false self, this false I. She uses the word ‘destruction’ which is rather a violent word but sometimes it does feel like destruction. At times when you struggle with your ego, it feels there is a certain interior violence going on. It isn’t really about doing harm to oneself, but there is a real, serious work to do which is at times difficult in the transcendence, or the deconstruction, or the demolition of our false self. And this is the central importance of meditation in the process of finding ourselves.

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The Incarnation in Modern Terms

The writer of Hebrews (10:31) tells us that it is a “fearful thing to fall into the hands of an angry God.”  My interpretation is, “It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of, hmm, ahem…Life.”  For when the vicissitudes of life, those “thousand natural shocks that flesh is heir to” have worked their magic, under the ministrations of the Spirit of God, it is very frightening when the ego begins to feel imperiled.  To that point in our life, our fragile little ego has held full sway without any threats, carefully isolated with a prison of sterile conceptual formulations about life, about who “we” were and who “they” were and what “life” itself was, and even more so who “God” was.  But the ego is scared as hell when its tyranny is threatened and we are on the threshold of coming alive, of being “born again”, and occupying our body for the first time.  The ego, described by the Apostle Paul as “the flesh” has been proud of itself and its accomplishment of preventing this “incarnation.”  Now, it is watching its handiwork under grave threat as the “Spirit of God” is threatening its dissolution.  William Wordsworth offered relevant wisdom:

 

Dust as we are, the immortal spirit grows
Like harmony in music; there is a dark
Inscrutable workmanship that reconciles
Discordant elements, makes them cling together
In one society. How strange, that all
The terrors, pains, and early miseries,
Regrets, vexations, lassitudes interfused
Within my mind, should e’er have borne a part,
And that a needful part, in making up
The calm existence that is mine when I
Am worthy of myself! Praise to the end!