From Saint to Sinner & Back Again
by The Writer
The Birth of My Soul
Like everything in existence, birth is where it all begins. In many cases, birth is a traumatic experience, which we’ve all come through, yet have no memory of. Almost all life begins inside an egg, or a seed which often resembles an egg. The lovely oval shape of the egg is not only nurturing, it also offers protection to the life growing inside it. While the growth taking place inside the egg shape is important, the ever- adjusting outer shell`s growth is equally important. Without the exterior there is no protection and, ultimately, no life. Whether smooth, rough, or seemingly impenetrable, the exterior has weak areas which could ultimately lead to the destruction of the precious life growing within. Most of the time, the weakness is cleverly concealed by nature in order to project an image of strength against the forces that would damage the entire cycle of life.
Consider the life of a tree. The tree begins as nothing more than a small oval surrounded by soil from which emerges a seedling that broke free of its casing. Gathering nutrients from the soil, it grows and pushes out in both directions to firmly secure itself in the earth below and reach for the light above. Trees need both the warm light of the sun, and the rich darkness of the earth to survive. With their tough exteriors, they may seem indestructible but, in time, even the largest trees fall to nature.
Watching life hatch from its egg is a beautiful thing and nothing short of a blessing. For a period of time, the mystery lies inside a cocoon, fighting to survive until it transforms into what nature intended. Feeding off of the food of its protector, it eventually becomes strong enough to break free of its encasement to embrace freedom. What was inside is now outside. A new cycle has begun and will continue to repeat throughout time and, as before, the safety of the shell is not noticeable until it is time to break free again.
The miracle of birth is accompanied by the protection of parents which a child eventually challenges as he learns to adapt to his environment. Later in life, when the child has become an adult and the separation from his parents is complete, the cycle resumes as he in turn becomes a parent protecting his own children. Ironically, perceptions shift as the once needed protection becomes an imprisonment which must be broken, but then imposed on the next generation by the jailbird. Not only is this rite of passage birth and rebirth, it is the breaking of the old into the new. And as Bishop T.D. Jakes suggests, it is important to recognize ‘the blessing is in the breaking’.
Because of the way I’m forced to perceive time and space, I have no working knowledge of how my soul lives on through the universe. I don’t recall how I came to physically embody my soul, nor do I know what will happen to it once this body has reached the end of its cycle. But like everything in existence, my soul had to have been born at some point in time. And if it is born then, perhaps, it too must die, only to be reborn again. If that is the case, my soul is also crafted like an egg, i.e., two parts making a whole. Inside is my spirit, or God, The Creator. Protecting it is my ego, or Devil, The Destroyer. Because of the numerous and diverse connotations of God and The Devil, I will use the terms, ‘The Creator’ and ‘The Destroyer’. These may symbolize whatever spiritual entities create and destroy life within your belief system.
Yin – yang translate to “shadow and light”. In the East this refers to the interdependent and interconnectedness of polar opposites in the natural world (creation/destruction), and how the dualities give rise to and complement each other. As dualities, they are no longer opposing forces, but rather, cooperative ones working together to create a greater whole. The Creator could not be understood if The Destroyer didn’t exist, and The Destroyer cannot exist without The Creator. Depending on the individual, the manifestation of one of these dualities may occur more strongly than the other. As part of an unseen dynamic system, the ‘good’ and ‘evil’ moral dimensions people attach to humanity merely reflect personal compasses of where a person happens to fit within society.
Inside my soul, my spirit and ego work together in a never-ending, unseen cycle of birth and death. My ego protects my spirit when it is weak until I shift my perspective, break free of the protection and reemerge as the protector. During this triumphant rebirth of my spirit, I also suffer the death of my own protector. It is at this moment that the moral dimension I attach to it comes into play. Will I celebrate the birth of my spirit? Or, will I mourn the loss of my protector? Celebrating triumph brings joy and a stronger spirit. Conversely, mourning brings grief and clings to the former ego. Sometimes the rebirth of my spirit is a small thing and doesn’t seem worth celebrating. Instead, the loss appears too great and separation from my ego seems impossible. In either case, each time I become aware the process is happening, it allows for a stronger outcome, faster recovery and more awareness—it is similar to how athletes continuously break down their muscles so that they can be stronger for the next workout.
I don’t recall the original birth of my soul, but I have witnessed its death and rebirth. Make no mistake, the process can be painful and challenging, but it is also universally experienced and can be inspiring depending on the observer. Even simply knowing that, eventually, ‘everything will work out fine’, doesn’t, on its own, give me the strength to endure the emotional experience of ‘the breaking’; however, it’s often the traumatic experiences one suffers through that can transform them into something incredible.