We all forget things. In fact, we forget most things. There is simply too much information coming at us all the time for us to remember it all. Our brains are designed to filter out nearly everything except that which is most pertinent to our existence. Today, I want to draw our attention to a certain kind of forgetting. It’s the kind of amnesia which is absolutely devastating because we live as if that which is forgotten never existed in the first place. I’m talking about the amnesia of the soul.
It’s one thing to forget something in our daily schedule or to forget a friends birthday or anniversary, but that kind of forgetting is incidental and for the most part harmless, though it can be hurtful. On a deeper, more personal level, on the level of the soul (psuché- inner self), from which we get our world “psychology“, there is a willful forgetting that is disastrous to our lives and our world. I’ll introduce it to you from common examples and move us toward seeing the deepest kind of amnesia.
Suppose you are trying to make a lasting change to improve your health or life such as lose weight, quit smoking or drinking, stay on budget and save money, or change some aspect of how you relate to others. While such life improvements require behavioral changes, each of us knows that the behavior is not the real problem. We are not unhealthy, in debt, or isolated from relationships because of our behaviors as it seems at first. Behind our behaviors is an aspect of our being which is hiding, running, avoiding, anesthetizing, distracting itself, or is just plane lazy and as a result the behavior has crept in and now has us fat, addicted, in debt, and dis-integrated. The part that is in pain…the part that sincerely wants a change…that is our soul, our psuché, or our true self. The mirror reflects only our false self or our pseudonym…our surface self which is willfully forgetful.
Whenever we would seek to improve our lives and the world, we are immediately met with the amnesia of the pseudonym. “I’m going to quit eating carbs. I’m going to do pushups everyday. I’m going to get and stay on budget.” Then we pass on a few pastries, we go a couple of days and then we throw it all out the window. We binge eat, we plop on the couch, or we shop online. The whole time we are derailing our lives, we are fully aware and yet unaware of what we are doing. We know we shouldn’t do something, because that behavior has a negative impact on our freedom, health, and world, but we forget about it and do it anyway. It’s willful forgetting. It’s also known as succumbing to temptation.
The next time you are in a crowd, look around you. Most of our world is overweight, addicted to junk food, addicted to drugs and alcohol, in debt and overspending, we’re self-indulgent, we are completely self absorbed and yet we have forgotten the voice of the soul or true self which has asked us to be and live better than we do. We are surrounded by others who have forgotten their true self, and now we have a culture that has forgotten and lost its way. The commercial engine and the news propaganda machine succeeds as we forget ourselves and lose our souls. We trade authenticity and health for comfort and distraction. We have so forgotten who we are, that much of our world now has no sense, not even a little perception, of who our true soul is and we think that we are our bodies and our stuff. We even go so far as to claim our forgotten self or soul has never even existed. Every person who is over-identified with some aspect of their pseudonym, does so because they suffer amnesia about who they truly are in God.
The anesthetized and addicted world proudly proclaims: “I love who I am. I’m proud of…(fill in the blank).” The evidence that our pseudonyms have willfully forgotten our souls is the absence of shame. Shame is now shameful. Any voice that speaks truth to our bloated, self-indulgent pseudonyms is now a “hater.” Ironically, love is that voice of truth that exposes our unhealthy, unprofitable, and selfish way of living. The loss of shame and the confusion over who is actually hating is the hallmark of a culture on the brink of self-destruction. We need not fear hell, most of us are living in its confusion. So long as a person thinks they are their fictional persona, the aridity and emptiness of their soul continues.
“If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.” (1 John 1:8)
Systems of faith have addressed this for years. We’ve called it sin. Sin is not the bad thing we do, it is the condition of the soul which thinks its falseness is actually the real part. Sin is not our naughtiness, it is the state of being, or a state of unconsciousness, whereby we satisfy our appetites because sin has convinced us that they lead us to satisfaction and peace…they don’t.
Religion is not a cure for sin. Sure a regiment where we are forced to behave can cause external changes, but the soul which has forgotten his or her Maker, and who refuses to listen and obey the voice of Truth, is the pseudonym who will die in his or her sins. Now, perhaps you are able to hear these words from the brother of Jesus.
“Therefore put away all filthiness and rampant wickedness and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls. But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks intently at his natural face in a mirror. For he looks at himself and goes away and at once forgets what he was like. But the one who looks into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and perseveres, being no hearer who forgets but a doer who acts, he will be blessed in his doing.” (James 1:21-25)
The “implanted word” is called the “Logos” or gospel or voice of truth. The solution isn’t religion, it’s humble obedience or fidelity to the Truth. It’s trusting that still, small voice which whispers in a crowd of screaming impulses. If we follow that hard to hear, word or Logos which reveals to us that our appetites are not good guides, we soon discover that this Logos leads us to the liberty, fulfillment, health, and authenticity that we were seeking all along. This ability to remember who we truly are and then hear and obey the truth is known as salvation, enlightenment, healing, or liberation.
The logos will empower us to put down the pastry, booze, and drugs and rewire our bodies to crave healthy, life giving foods. The logos will liberate us to appraise the values of the world correctly and inspire us to invest rather than spend. The logos enables us to see people for who they truly are and not for what they can do for us. The logos is the voice of truth which leads us to not only a new life, but a better life, and a new world.
The most amazing part is that this logos, this grace, is that it has been implanted in us all. It’s been there all along, but we have forgotten it. Take a moment or several, and reconnect with this inner logos or word of truth. If we will but learn this voice and obey it, the Logos will lead us into our real reason for existence, the restoration of everything. The sure sign we have remembered our soul, is our ability to get beyond our pseudonyms and begin transforming the world beyond ourself.