Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Realizing More Self

Realizing More Self
by Scott Bradley

"The more consciousness of self, the more self, the more self, the more consciousness." -- Soren Kierkegaard

This is not truly a quote, but a paraphrase from my favorite of Kierkegaard's works, The Sickness Unto Death. If you have trouble with this thinking, it might help to substitute 'awareness' for consciousness. But still, the idea of self as a positive value might not sit well with some of you. Yet this is not the egoic self that closes us off from the world, but that human capacity of self-awareness which enables us to open up to the world. It is another way of saying, Know thyself.

I have previously quoted a relatively modern Chinese scholar who made a clear distinction between Buddhism which emphasizes Emptiness and Taoism which emphasizes Vastness. He suggested that the twain cannot meet. Yet I would suggest that they are but two sides of one Reality. Fullness and Emptiness are the same. Emptiness is the realization of boundlessness. Boundlessness is the realization of Vastness.

This applies equally to self, to the emptiness of no-self and the fullness of realized self. Emptiness is liberation from the self that limits. Fullness is the expression of the self that dwells in Vastness.

Stepping back and observing one's self is a recurrent theme in recent posts. This is a prelude to breaking the bonds of the self which cannot see beyond itself. And this is the liberation of self, not its destruction.

And these definitive statements are just my speculative ponderings.

The sickness unto death, by the way, is despair in many forms. And despair, according to Kierkegaard, is the consequence of a failure of the self to realize its relationship with the Whole.

You can check out Scott's other miscellaneous writings here.

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