What does ‘dying to self’ mean then? We know it cannot mean biological death, or it would be meaningless, unless in relation to the physical saving of another as in war. No, dying to self means letting go of something that one feels they cannot let go of. While this usually seems to be something we like and get pleasure from or hold dear to our heart, what we can’t let go of could also be a character defect; an experience or experiences that we feel guilt over. In that unique form of art seen only in America, a literalization of a symbolic act, dying to self might take the form of having my own funeral before I die. During this celebration, I do not, as we might expect, say my goodbyes and express my gratitude to all whom I love. I might also ask for forgiveness before the group; before “all mankind”. In the deepest acts of my life there are no guarantees. I may not get the outcome I hope for, and the real possibility that I may not is a necessary part of the agony and the ecstasy of a truly religious way of life. After all is said and done, however, it is in the act of seeking the forgiveness before concrete other human beings that I am forgiven. While it may seem that the result I seek depends on the other forgiving me, this is not correct. For the experience of forgiveness comes when I convey my sincere conviction and awareness that I have wronged another.


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