A society becomes whatever it celebrates.
If a society celebrates hate, hatred becomes chronic, ubiquitous, cancerous. If a society celebrates just the self, people stop caring for others, everyone turns inward, everyone assumes their reservoirs of strength are sufficient for seeing them through all of the future challenges of life.
One thing we all can agree on as men or women is, ‘we are not our bodies’. Our bodies are the casings through which we interact with the physical world. If we were our bodies, upon death our bodies would vanish into nothingness, or we would experience instantaneous decay. That our bodies remain and lose warmth, resulting in coldness of death as part evidence for death is factual evidence for the fact that ‘we are not our bodies’.
Call our non-corporeal self spirit, soul, heart, mind whatever, what really is important is, there exists a non-corporeal reality to our physical existence. An important characteristic of this non-corporeal reality is our unwillingness to accept our environment as is; always we seek to impact our environment, suit it to our tastes, our preferences.
Whether you believe in the Biblical account of creation or not, included in the story is a lesson for anyone who believes in sufficiency of their own strength, sufficiency of their own non-corporeal selves.
As the creation story goes, in that assumedly perfect state, God arrived at the conclusion that Adam could not achieve all he was created to be all by himself. God decided he needed a help mate, someone who could provide him with support and strength for achieving his purpose. Naturally, and for avoidance of any masochist label (just staying true to the story), this implies as we shall see that Adam also saw himself as help mate for his wife.
Perhaps it was the realization that Adam needed her in some non-corporeal sense that made Eve proud, disobedient, go off on her own only to be rescued from certain death by the well meaning yet disobedient love of her husband. Clearly, there was no way God would allow a sinless man and sinful woman to be forebears of all of the future generations of mankind. Alongside sacrifices made by God Himself, a sinful man and sinful woman was status quo which could be reworked for arrival at redeemed man and redeemed woman. By sharing in her disobedience, Adam most assuredly saved Eve from immediate physical death. What God would have done subsequently? Well, that is the substance of imagination.
The essence of the story?
It is hubris to think our non-corporeal self can make it through all of the challenges of life without any help whatsoever.
So then how do you define the strength of your non-corporeal self, your thinking self, your mindful self, your self who meditates, who contemplates, who arrives at decisions, actions, responses to life?
Can you define what makes you feel strong, what makes you feel weak, what excites you, what makes you feel down?
If you allow feelings of strength or weakness to be determined by your circumstances, by the way you are treated by others, by your ability to manipulate or control others, you in reality cede estimates of your non-corporeal self to others, and to your environment. Clearly, regardless of circumstances, ceding of estimates of our non-corporeal selves to others or our circumstances never can be recipe for keeping of the self in a good state of mind. Never can be good for mindfulness.
We arrive then at the conclusion that in order for our estimates of our own non-corporeal selves not to be ceded to others or our environment, it is important to have paradigms for estimating just how well our non-corporeal self is doing in midst of all of the challenges of life.
So would money or status work as paradigms for estimating strength of our non-corporeal selves?
The problem with money and status is that they do not have any power for improving of our non-corporeal selves. They can make us look good, but much like the person driven to succeed by fear of being seen to be a failure, they do not have any power for fixing of our non-corporeal fears. The person driven to succeed by fear can become rich, and acquire status yet never develop peace within his or her non-corporeal self, peace that enables deep enjoyment of attained riches and status. Money and status can fix our corporeal fears — the fear of being destitute, not having friends, of being ridiculed. Neither money nor status have power for fixing of feelings of hopelessness, pointlessness, or meaninglessness of life.
Money and status can fix our corporeal fears. Neither can fix feelings of hopelessness, pointlessness, meaninglessness of life. Neither have power for fixing of non-corporeal fears.
For arrival at an objective metric for estimating of strength of our non-corporeal selves, Love is recommendation of Christian faith in the following sense (1Corinthians 16:13–14):
Watch, stand fast in the faith, be brave, be strong. Let all that you do be done with Love.
The quote above states very clearly that bravery, and strength of character — strength of our non-corporeal selves — are to be evident in capacity for basing of decisions, actions, and responses to life on Love for ourselves and Love for others.
I am not mandating this definition of strength, merely elucidating, recommending its qualities.
In context of Christian faith, capacity for continuing to base actions on principles of Love — kindness, patience, absence of pride, absence of perverse preference for conflict with others, capacity for working within teams, absence of envy etc. — is evidence of strength of the non-corporeal self. Given Love requires actions, objectives, and decisions, adoption of Love as metric for strength of the non-corporeal self implies life always has meaning. In presence of capacity for continuing in Love as definition of strength, it is impossible for life to devolve into hopelessness, pointlessness, or meaninglessness.
Why is this the case?
Even when alone, all by ourselves, with not a single soul around either because we are surrounded by those who do not care, or physically alone, we are required to Love our very own selves. We are required to come up with decisions, actions, and objectives that are rooted in Love for our very own selves.
Love works as definition of strength even when we are all alone by ourselves.
Love means always, and in context of maintaining our capacity for continuing in Love, we take responsibility for our actions and objectives.
In so far as loving ourselves is concerned, refusal to cede estimates of our non-corporeal selves to opinion of others, insistence on our capacity for Love as estimate of our non-corporeal selves is demonstration of Love for our very own selves.
Whenever our corporeal selves are not doing well due to some challenge of life such as job loss, illness, loss of a loved one etc., maintenance of strength of our non-corporeal selves continues to generate meaningfulness of life, ensures we never devolve into states of hopelessness, pointlessness, meaninglessness. Coupled with our capacity (where possible) for taking of actions that attempt to redress our corporeal circumstances, we are able look ourselves in the eye and tell ourselves we are maintaining strength in all of the important aspects of our existence.
Maintaining strength in context of our non-corporeal selves — development of decisions, actions, and objectives — renders maintenance of strength in context of corporeal reality easier.
If you will choose Love as definition of strength, your non-corporeal self can be freed from feelings of hopelessness, pointlessness, and meaninglessness of corporeal existence on planet Earth. In the accompaniment of Love with capacity for taking actions (money generating actions) necessary for maintenance of our corporeal selves, you develop and arrive at confidence for living of life, confidence that only can be derived from cognitive mindfulness.