The other day I came across a place in Helen’s notes (also found in edited form in the FIP Course) which said, “Eating of the tree of knowledge is a symbolic expression for incorporating into the self the ability for self-creation.” Then it said the idea of self-creation “is implicit in the ‘self-concept’…a tendency of the self to create an image of itself.”
What grabbed me about that is that it implied that when I make my self-concept I think I am actually creating myself. Put differently, when I tinker with my self-concept I think I am actually tinkering with my being.
It certainly does feel that way. My self-image is constantly rising and falling as I decide that I did that thing well or another thing poorly. And as it does, it feels like my “very being seems to change” (W-pI.186.8:5). It’s as if, with my ever-changing conclusions about myself, I am literally molding the clay of my being.
When I thought about it this way, though, it suddenly seemed completely crazy. Surely there is something more stable about my being than that. Surely I am not actually changing my being with every passing thought, just as I would not actually be changing the moon by thinking it’s made of green cheese.
This has been a very comforting thought for me the past couple days. I’ll encourage you to try what I’ve been doing. Think of a dip that your self-image took, due to something you regret doing or to something done to you. Then repeat these words (adapted from T-3.V.3:4-5):
I am perfectly stable as God created me.
When my self-image is unstable,
I am disagreeing with God’s idea of my creation.