Thursday, March 3, 2011

Lent - clearing the decks for the "real self"

I have been thinking a lot about lent this year. I don't know why for sure but maybe because it's so late. It doesn't start until next Wednesday, March 8.

I'm giving up caffeine again which is hard for me because I love my coffee. The lack of a stimulant makes me wrestle with myself more to keep myself alert, on task, to help me concentrate.

After the first week, I am through the withdrawal, yes I get addicted to caffeine and go through a withdrawal similar to the flue, headaches, aches and pains, fatigue, foggy headed, etc.

I am reading Everyday Dharma: Seven weeks to finding the Buddha in You by Lama Willa Miller.

Day One of the first week deals with finding your "Wisdom-nature". In reading what Miller means by this, it is what I would call our "real self". Do you know what your "real self" is? I think I know what mine is ephemerally. The sense comes and goes. It is easier for me to tell what my "real self" is not, than what my "real self" is.

As a Psychotherapist I talk about this concept often with clients as they struggle with their problems and symptoms. Everyone wants to get back to feeling like their "real self". Some people tell me that they don't think they have ever felt like their "real self" and wouldn't know what that is, but they do when they experience it.

Lent is about the stripping away of all the false nonsense in our life: the pretence, the facade, the rationalizations, the justifications, the dysfunctional habits we have gotten ourselves into with food, drink, drugs, sex, gambling, work, even religion. Can we get in touch with the authentic in us? As Tracy Chapman sings, "All that you've got is your soul."

And, what is our soul? It is our real self. Will I have a better chance of finding my real self, experiencing my real self without the caffeine? I expect so, but it is a struggle, a sense of deprivation at first, but the "real self" may experience a Resurrection right around Easter time. It will take about 6-7 weeks and I am hoping that my "real self" will be reborn which simply means that I will have cleared the decks so that its existence can manifest itself in my experience of myself and my life.

Can I wish myself and you a "happy" lent?


  1. Lent is a time of purification. It can be seen as a time of liberation. What's under all the encrusted conditioning which the world has unconsciously foisted on us?

    I like your reflection. Thanks

  2. Yes.. you can wish people a happy lent... or maybe better... a thoughtful lent. It's a time to be thoughtful and kind to one another, don't you think? And the date is next Wed. the 9th. Ash Wednesday. I will get my ashes from my pastor at our church. It's a tradition I've done since I was 5 years old. I think I do it more for the tradition of memory than for what the various people say it's suppose to mean... the ashes to ashes stuff. I like to think of it as a time of blessing. And yes... cleansing.

  3. Dear Marie:

    Thanks for the correction on the date. It is the 9th, not the 8th. I am anxious to begin I guess. My soul wants the discipline, the motivation to look inward.

    Thank you so much for all your wonderful comments on the blog.

    I hope you have a blessed Lent.

    All the best,

    David Markham