The Spirituality of the Self and the ship of Theseus

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Life is much like the philosophical questions posed by the Greek story of the ship of Theseus. This particular problem is known as the sorties paradox. The ship of Theseus is a thought experiment, rooted in contemplation, that raises the question of whether an object that has had all of its components replaced remains fundamentally the same object. The concept is one of the oldest in Western philosophy, having been discussed by Heraclitus and Plato by c. 500–400 BC. The Spirituality of the Self and the ship of Theseus has a lot to teach us about what we think we really, really know about who we are, what we are and where we are headed. One could wonder where the 5 year old body you once had is now. Some might say it has just grown and changed or developed. But they may be shallow thinking when it comes to the complexity of life as a human being that is further complicated by the notion of spirit. Mind, body and spirit is a one-liner we hear often, but do we really think about what that suggests? 

The Spirituality of the Self

Have you ever been able to answer the seemingly simple question of who am I? Discover the significance of questions like where am I going? Why am I going there? Teachers, mystics, monks and masters throughout history have taught using these seemingly simple questions to get us to contemplate life, and ourselves more deeply. It is much like the philosophical questions posed by the Greek story of the ship of Theseus. This particular problem is known as the sorties paradox.

The ship of Theseus is a thought experiment, rooted in contemplation, that raises the question of whether an object that has had all of its components replaced remains fundamentally the same object. The concept is one of the oldest in Western philosophy, having been discussed by Heraclitus and Plato by c. 500–400 BC. The significance for you and I today is that we are just like that ship! We to have all our parts replaced ever seven years or so. If we are just our bodies this poses a bold contemplative conundrum indeed.

We should know if we are our body, our emotions, our souls and is there such a thing as our spiritual selves? The buddha spoke of the concept of Dukkha which suggested that wherever we go, we will find suffering, unhappiness or pain. Fortunately, there is a corresponding state of existential well-being—the liberation from suffering that comes about with contemplative awakening. Discover the power of contemplation with us. You will never be able to look at an apple, quite the same again.

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“The untrained mind keeps up a running commentary, labelling everything, judging everything. Best to ignore that commentary. Don’t argue or resist, just ignore. Deprived of attention and interest, this voice gets quieter and quieter and eventually just shuts up.”

PLATO
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The Spirituality of the Self

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