Chapter three, the Riddle of Self in the book Waking up a guide to spirituality Sam Harries declares that there is no spiritual explanation about self.' He is quick to state that the feeling of I is just a definition of ones point of view at every moment of thought. Hence, it only provides a basis for a belief in the existence of souls and the freedom of will. However, the same thought of I can be interrupted, appear present or as the past, it may be altered or even abolished. Therefore, from a subjective point of view, what exists in us is not self but consciousness. It implies that the state of self is only psychological. It also means that the body and self cannot be separated from each other. Therefore, I think he implied that the world and I relate as one. To my understanding, I think Harris terms self as an illusion because it exists in fragmentation. Hence, just as he states, my self is at whatever state of I at every given point. It means I am different at every point in my life. Hence, it helps me develop my sense of understanding and growth within the society I live.
By stating that I am united with self and body, and that consciousness is generated through one thought after the other, it means that my life exists within cumulative selves. Besides, I share my communitys consciousness. Meaning that, I can realize self-conscious from within a larger group composed of my loved ones. Such theory explains why I can resort to posting a picture of workmates or child as my facebook or twitter profile picture. It indeed provides me with a better understanding of my religious sense of self and that a shared history of people around me can influence how I relate to them. It is because it provides me with a realistic perspective on how humans exist in everyday life. That is until we take the functional characteristics of a group, we cannot operate as a single unit. Hence, the Harris concept of self helps me understand group psychology and how to avoid conflict.
Harris goes on to argue that it takes years of persistent meditation practice to achieve a mental state. According to him, one must be able to pay close attention to every glimpse of consciousness between thoughts. To my understanding, I think that Harris, meant that maturity of thought comes with age. Hence, it explains why older individuals have a sense of wisdom, unlike the younger generation. On the second thought, the insinuation of paying attention to every single of thought is that my perspective of thinking is likely to vary on how closely I pay attention to them. However, even if consciousness will not appear or feel like self, I feel that the idea of meditation is critical in my life. I can now learn to use it as a tool for critical understanding of the world and myself being.
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