When we get sick, our identity, who we are, our essence might feel threatened.
In “His Dark Materials” trilogy, Philip Pullman says there is no God so we create heaven ourselves. In regards to our spirit, he says we come from and belong to the evolving universe. Perhaps so many have read this trilogy because it openly speaks about our souls. After it won various awards, we could say the man can write. But also that many of us, along with John Milton in Paradise Lost, wonder who our essence belongs to.
Since so much of our culture puts the definition of identity on behavior, it makes it seem that brain patterns define humanness. How do you see yourself? We all agree that our brain is part of our body. The question of soul comes in to play.
Some believe that the soul is a brain pattern. We might not agree that there is a difference between soul and body (or the brain). But if we did, could we even agree that the body is just that, a house for it, as Mr. Pullman says? This inconstant body, this betraying brain, this changing mind? We’ve got more bank than that.
This is important to sus out. In the immediate sense, it tells us where to go if you need help. Temple? Doctor? Gym? It will affect your self-view when you go through physical loss. It will affect your hope when you haven’t felt like yourself in years.
Who are we if we need to take medication to behave like ourselves? The question I often hear is, am still me? Do I grieve the loss in order to accomodate the new sick me who has tremors and fear of public places? Then when I get better and lose an arm in a car accident do I need to change my view of my identity again? Then after I get better and get to know the new me, I get breast cancer and undergo a mastectomy. Now who am I? Now I’m old and eat with a wooden spoon and my kids take away my drivers license. I get dizzy at the hospital I used to work at and fall and hit my head in front of colleagues I once mentored. Who am I?
Many people I talk to think, like Pullman, that when they die their soul disperses amongst all the spiritual and material matter across the universe.
I have become comfortable with my own answer. My spirit belongs to and is in the care of Love, which is stronger than any change that happens to my body.
Self Care Tip #23 – Find your identity. Be a friend to yourself.