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Our re-creating of self process

by Michael Ketterhagen

“Any real act of creation is first an act of destruction.”


Picasso knew what he was talking about. The process of destruction is often forgotten when something is created.

We can see that in the world of love and family life. In order to give birth to a child, the woman’s egg and the man’s sperm destroy each other in the process of creating the new child. A teenager must totally demolish the childish ways of non-responsibility in order to develop into a functioning, stable member of society.

Our fossil-fueled industrial society is dying, allowing a new earth-friendly society and culture to rise so that the planet and its inhabitants can survive, can have new life. That re-creating process of earth and its inhabitants is not an easy thing. Death means lots of pain in the destruction of old ways.

I have learned that I must destroy my former way of life, even my former beliefs, in order to survive cancer and develop a productive life. I had to change my eating habits, my daily practices, my sleeping and work patterns, and even forgive some people and institutions for the wrongs that they have done to me. I have also had to change my self-image, dying to the old, comfortable way of looking at myself and rising to a more humble and joyful person.

In the Catholic Christian tradition this process of creating one’s self into a true disciple of Lord Jesus Christ is called the paschal mystery, the mystery of the process of death bringing new life. I had to experience death to myself so that a new me could rise and live.

Yoga and the spiritual journey of a human from a suffering being to one in union with the Source of Life means transforming my old habits, my old patterns. Patterns (known as samskaras) of craving security and seeking pleasure in physical things and thinking of myself as so important that others must match my expectations and yogic practices have to be destroyed, if we are going to experience a peaceful and fulfilled life. I now begin to know that the spiritual journey to a fulfilling, happy life is the path of constantly practicing (abhyasa) letting go (vairagya) of my self-centered desires. It has meant for me the practice of even letting go of all the desires to doing good so that I am liked and appreciated by others and considered an important person in our world. It was the practice (abhyasa) of destroying my attachment (ragya) to my fear of death.

It is challenging and takes much effort to let go of certain deep patterns like these. Yet, that destruction is necessary in order for me to experience the creative life of union with God, my Divine Mother.

I pray to the divinity in you!

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