What is the self?
Where does the self/identity spring from? What is its physical source? What is its non-physical source?
Personal identity is in flux as we grow, mature and change. Or is it? (Interesting article here.)
The Jewish mystics tell us that each person is a soul in a physical body. This soul has conferred with the Creator to come down into this body, in this lifetime, and to use the challenges of their life-situations to chart a path of spiritual growth.
Each life is an entire World and we are each the steward of our own personal world.
(See Welcome to Your World, Be Fearless at BreslovWoman.org)
Body vs. Soul
Can we agree that both body and soul are necessary to personal identity?
If so, which is more important?
If you don’t believe in the soul, then the body wins, hands down.
But what if you do believe in both?
On the one hand, the mystics tell us that the state called “life” can only happen in a body, and therefore the body and soul are equal.
The Jewish mystics tell us that that the body is a vehicle for the soul, the only way in which the soul can complete its mission.
The soul is ultimately more important, but the body is absolutely necessary.
On the one hand, we are a soul in a body with a mission.
On the other, we are a soul in a state of flux, growth, change, each according to its personal life mission.
Think of the rings of a tree. Each ring is distinct and new and reflects what happens during the year that ring is formed. On the other hand, though each ring adds to and changes the “whole” of the tree, there is something there we call TREE that is both the sum of and beyond the sum of its parts.
The mystics tell us we are not stuck in a single, unchanging identity, but that we constantly create our own identity as we initiate, respond to, and reflect on the changes and challenges in our lives.