The Christ we seek is within us, in our inmost self, is our inmost self, and yet infinitely transcends ourselves. ~ Thomas Merton, a letter to D.T. Suzuki, 1959.
When I read quotes and statements like this I am left wondering what to do with it. It is as if I have nothing to hang on to – Christ in me, but where? It is no longer appropriate to blindly take statements like this – perhaps our of context although I wonder about that. I do not doubt the truth of the statement, far from it, but I need to be able to think it through in more detail. If I am going to make some bread I need some understanding of what role the ingredients play otherwise I will end up with a flour brick instead of lovely soft and fluffy bread.
So how do I find the Christ within me? If I go to the bible and look deeply into a text similar to the statement:
“But if Christ is in you, although your bodies (soma) are dead because of sin, your spirits are alive (zoe) because of righteousness.” Romans 8:10
If Christ is in you your astral (soma) dies because you miss the mark (harmatia – sin) and your etheric life force (zoe) is spiritualised (pneuma) because you have balanced and impartial thinking (dikaiosune – righteousness). Then Paul goes on to say that our astral is raised from the dead.
So Christ is a raising agent (perhaps this is why he said “I am the bread”). He is within me and he assists me to transcend my astral tendencies which are self centred, egotistical. He helps me to balance my feeling, thinking and will so that I am not absorbed with worry about situations in my life, consumed with anger when someone upsets me, or act without thought and punch someone on the nose. These are sins; these are unbalanced, instinctive responses to life which are far, far away from the goal we are aiming for. If we can hold our instinctive responses at bay just for a moment we “transcend ourselves” and immediately feel free – that is the experience of Christ within us.