“As humans we are all looking for something; ourselves!” That is where we left off with the first article of this 3 part series. You have had a few days to muddle over that statement; to think about what you think. What is it we are really searching for when we make the statement, “I need to find myself?” Obviously we are not talking about our physical self, because if you think that you have lost your physical self my suggestion would be to stand in front of a mirror; you are “Right in Front of Your Nose.” What we seek is our spiritual self; that part of ourselves that holds the key to many of life’s most important questions. “Why am I here?” “What purpose do I have?” “Why do I exist?” “Who am I?” the so called “mysteries of life.” We can never find the answers to these questions in the physical, yet many of us (Christians as well) desperately attempt to find the answers in the physical, or what we Christians call “the world.” Again if you are looking for yourself in the physical world stand in front of a mirror; the chances are good that you are already there anyway staring at the wonder or the disappointment that is you.
The ancient Greeks separated man into two distinct parts. The first word psyche we could call the physical, it refers to the mind, human activity, or personality. The other word used by the ancient Greeks to describe man was the word pneuma; the word refers to will or soul; we can call this the spiritual man. Unlike the Greeks the Hebrews did not separate man into parts and therefore the Hebrew concept of spiritual includes the heart, soul, and mind. The Hebrew word for spirit is ruah and literally means “breath.” This, of course, is in reference to the ‘breath of God” which was breathed into man, by God, and gave him life – Genesis 2:7. We are all created in the image of God; “So God made mankind in His own image, in the image of God He created them; male and female He created them.” - Genesis 1:27. God is Spirit and therefore we, our true self, is spirit as well. Now that we understand what it is we are looking for we can begin our search to “find my “self”.”
There are hundreds of different tactics, practices, and tools offered to help us with our search. We have the “old wives tales” like astrology, horoscopes, palm reading, tea leaves, mediums and the like. There are the more modern tools; Psychology, psychotherapy, psychiatry just to name a few (did you notice psyche). Then there are the Strategies; the “Retrace your steps” intentional plans; I call these Religion. The point is that there are many different options offered for us to “find my “self”.” Our success or failure is determined not by the effort or work we put into our search, but the method we choose. When choosing one of these three paths to take; what should we take into consideration? We must determine whether the method is spiritual or physical?
Are the “old wives tales” spiritual? Many people believe that there is something spiritual or mystical about the “old wives tales”; often seekers of “self” loosely refer to this method as being spiritual, but there is nothing spiritual (as we have defined spiritual) about this practice. Astrology has to do with stars, a physical creation; horoscopes are written by men who interpret the stars, a creation. Palm reading, tea leaves and the lot are physical and use a man’s interpretation of the physical. Mediums claim to speak to the spiritual; as much as I want to I cannot debunk mediums there is biblical documentation that they are real; so maybe we hold on to the “old wives tales” for now. That was long enough; since spiritual is a God thing then we must dismiss the mediums because they don’t work for God. Don’t shoot the messenger! The Bible clearly states that mediums power is not of God; "'A man or woman who is a medium or spiritist among you must be put to death. You are to stone them; their blood will be on their own heads.'" – Leviticus 20:27. Do you get the point?
The modern methods; are they spiritual? NO!!! Psychiatry, psychology, and psychoanalysis have to do with the mind, hence the root psyche. The mind is a powerful gift from God and can be used to do many incredible, dare I say miraculous things once we are able to use it properly (which is a topic for another article), but finding one’s self is not one of them. Take into consideration the “fall”. Adam and Eve were frolicking in the Garden of Eden, totally reliant on God (as we should be); they had minds that they were able to use (they were not robots). Along came the devil, the first psychiatrist (I am not comparing psychiatry to the devil) who employed a little reverse psychology on Eve; “God did not really say.” From that point on man had to begin to try and find himself. We cannot find ourselves within the confines of the mind, so maybe we should not us this method either.
If you are using one of these methods to find your “self” you probably feel like a dog chasing his tail. These methods can only keep you searching because there is nothing “spirit” about these practices; these are physical and worldly. We can come closer to finding “self” when we employ the practice of the Strategies or Religion, but as with the “old wives tales” and the “modern tools” there are many strategy choices, many belief systems or religions. In the next installment we will take a look at some of the more popular of these “strategies” and finally discuss the only true way to find your “self”; and it is “Right in Front of Your Nose!”