Lose Your Life to Find It and Escape Misery

For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it - Matthew 16:25 - Here's why!

This is why valuing your life is the track to misery.

For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.

Matthew 16:25

Why cling to things that are out of your control?

I believe that most of our life is left up to God. We lack control because we never had it. Our lives aren’t up to us but thinking they are makes us miserable. And when this happens we become self-conscious, aware, and protective of our precious life.

According to Jesus, this is when we lose our life.

We lose it because we cease living when we’re so desperate to impose what little control we have. In other words, we become selfish – no longer living for others but for our ends. No, we may not lose our life through death. We lose our lives by living for ourselves.

This is a complicated thing to wrap my head around.

How do we lose our lives by valuing it?

Isn’t the act of valuing our life serving to perpetuate it?

Valuing our life perpetuates it physically. We need to value things like hygiene, putting food on the table, sleeping well, and exercise. But that is where valuing our lives should stop. It should stop at our daily bread. Anything more than this is valuing the allure of the world and how it benefits our lives. To do this, Jesus says, is to lose your life.

Eve bit the apple and the pair became self-conscious. This state of mind is akin to “finding our life.” Self-consciousness perpetuates misery and unselfconsciousness is freedom.

Since humans have both qualities of mind, when is it optimal to engage in self-consciousness vs. unselfconsciousness?

Discerning Selfconsciousness

“In all activities of mind which favour our cause, encourage the patient to be unself-conscious and to concentrate on the object, but in all activities favourable to the Enemy bend his mind back on itself.” C.S Lewis, The Screwtape Letters

C.S Lewis’ masterpiece, The Screwtape Letters, is written from the perspective of the devil sending out letters to one of his demons. The letters serve to instruct the demon on how to direct the lives of man to hell. The quote above is written by Screwtape, the book’s antagonist who is the devil himself.

It’s an amazing book because you gain insights on how to avoid this steep descent by doing the opposite of what the letters say.

The quote above explains that the road to hell is being self-conscious of good deeds and habits but being unselfconscious or unaware of your devilish tendencies, or as Carl Jung puts it, your shadow.

Flipping that quote around the instruction is simple and true: be conscious of your shadow but unselfconscious of your good habits and deeds. By being unselfconscious of them, you wholly direct your attention outwards to help others. You cease to do good for the benefit of yourself.

The 2nd greatest commandment is to “love your neighbours as yourself.” The motive is there already; you don’t have love out of selfishness and what you will gain. Because to do it that way, you’re not losing your life for his sake, you are finding it your way, and therefore, truly losing it spiritually in the process.

The Sacrifice

I’ve lived life by clinging to it.

But I’ve recently gotten into my first relationship that kickstarted my path to losing my life. It taught me how to apply this command from Matthew 16:25 and the importance of doing so. I should’ve been acting like this for all of my adult life towards my own family. Thankfully, acting this way for my girlfriend bled into glimpses of extending the responsibility to my immediate family.

My spiritual path was illuminated through awareness of my shadow and the selflessness of my actions for others.

I still have a lot of work to do spiritually.

For one, the self-consciousness pops up like a whack-a-mole. I could be as selfless as the giving tree while eating my fruit. I don’t think you can ever completely dissolve the ego. However, you can direct it towards awareness. Then through awareness and as Dr. David Hawkins puts it, you “pet” your ego until it coos itself to sleep.

What part of your life are you clinging to?

The Science

Science defines self-consciousness as a brain state of beta waves.

These are our waking waves. To survive is to be aware of the self that needs surviving. These beta waves, I believe, are the science behind our ego.

It is also why losing ourselves in flow states like prayer and meditation is so invigorating.

They put us into alpha and theta brain waves.

These waves slow our thinking down and we experience a pervasive loss of self-consciousness. The research on these brainwaves shows their effects on reducing anxiety and depression.

When we live every day in a state of sacrifice for God, we are, by default, unselfconscious. To do this requires a level of mindfulness that detaches us from the inevitably of our ego popping up to remind us that we have a self to take care of.

We can all take this challenge until it ceases to be challenging.

We can all live like saints. Just not for ourselves but for others.

Conclusion

Will you answer Jesus’ call to lose your life to find it?

Or will your selfish tendencies get in the way?

They will get in the way, that’s a guarantee. It’s because they’re necessary for transcendence. To progress through the ranks spiritually requires the need to transcend that which makes us animalistic.

Animals just survive.

We humans survive so we can become divine.

So, with that, embrace your life, and cling to it with all your might. Be selfish and live only for yourself. Because there will come a point in time where you realize that living this way is circular; it will only get you to where you started.

Thank the ego for having this realization.

It may be there in all of us for the sole purpose of transcending it.

Whoever loses his life to unselfconsciousness will find it.

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