Still body, mind; tune into spirit

So who are we? What are we?

Are we our names? No. People get married, or join religious orders, and their name is changed, but who they are remains the same.

Are we our bodies? No, we can have body parts removed, and extremities amputated, but we don’t stop being who we are when there is less of us physically.

Are we our minds? No. We can experience dementia and other diseases which deal destructive blows to our power to intellectualize and rationalize. But we still care for and honor people who have “lost” their minds. We are more than our minds.

Are we our reputations? No, we can have our reputations changed in an instant, but that doesn’t affect who we are.

Are we our public personas? We might be introverted and shy or extroverted and noisy. We might be known by such characteristics. But we are so much more.

So what are we? When scientists examine our bodies under microscopes, what they mostly see are the spaces between the particles in our bodies. On a subatomic level, when scientists study the human being what they mostly see is space – nothing. So we might say that we are nothing. Literally, no-thing!

That I believe is our deepest identity. We are what cannot be measured. At our deepest identity we are spirit! We are the image and likeness of God. Everything else will fade in life. Our minds, bodies, personalities and reputations, will all fade one day. But you and I will be fine. Our spirits cannot die. Our souls are immortal!

We need to remind ourselves of this deepest identity because the world wants us to forget who we are. The world markets strictly to the body. All of our commercials focus on mainly three things:

– What we put in our bodies – food, drink, drugs, etc.;

– What we put on our bodies – clothes, jewelry, creams, shampoos, etc.;

– What we put our bodies into – trains, planes, automobiles – and various forms of communication.

The world can’t sell anything to our spirits, which is why the world wants us to forget that we are spirits. Our spirits are always peaceful, loving, forgiving, compassionate and joyful. When we identify with the spirit, we identify with the Spirit of God within us. When we focus exclusively on the needs of the body we are agitated, anxious, distracted, lonely, feeling unloved, looking for love, always wanting more, and so on. Our bodies live in a world of separation from each other. Our spirits are one with each other with the Spirit of God. The Kingdom of God really is within us.

One of my favorite Scripture passages is: “Be still and know that I am God.” Just sit quietly for 10 or 15 minutes each day. Watch your breath. Watch your breath out. Still your mind. Still your body. Tune into your spirit. Then you will know who you aren’t and who you are. Then you will know the joy Jesus promised, a “joy no one can take from you.”

Catholic Review

The Catholic Review is the official publication of the Archdiocese of Baltimore.