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What is Mortification of the Flesh? in Mortification


Mortification of the flesh means putting the flesh to death. It has been and is still practiced in all cultures in some way across the world, though the exact intention and result is often different. There is a lot of speculation in today’s world about what motivates it.

Meditation is an act of mortification, yet it is a very gentle way for some. It tends to create an impassioned response either of pain or resistance, or in the Tantric case of pleasure and frustration. Though all mortification of the body seems to have a similar impact, it’s the awareness of the individual that ultimately determines the worth of these trying practices.

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Life and death are inevitably linked. When one considers life, you inevitably consider its change or abnegation, and for most, they fully embrace neither. I chose this topic not for the sake of baseless morbidity, but quite the opposite as an affirmation. They say that what doesn’t kill us makes us stronger, I disagree with this. Strength is a poorly understood concept anyway. I favour the paraphrase from the Joker in the movie “The Dark Knight“, “What doesn’t kill us makes us stranger.” How exactly it changes things, thus often making us stranger to ourselves is still up to us. For many, a threatening experience just makes them find fault with themselves and they return to keeping the norm all the more vehemently, seeing it as a failure of theirs and growing more numb to life in general. Does this contradict anyone’s experience?

These trying experiences can reveal a fracture in our paradigm and serve to educate us rather than imprison us. I’m not saying how we deal with pain is entirely up to us, sometimes life makes us defer to wisdom usually after we have pushed our resistance to its limit.

Someone says, “I should have died.” Should have? Should strikes me as a complicated notion at best. From my view there is what happened and what didn’t, but what happens does happen for a reason. Cause and effect. The cause often transcends any single effect, and thus we approach that ultimate threshold to test what we often take for granted. Much like a coin, though either threshold can lend itself to the same insights. People find the various mortification practices questionable, but won’t immerse themselves in life either. I wonder, why is this?

When we experience life why only in part? Why is it that we only embrace half of our desires? Only half of our natures? Seems masochistic in a sense, like voluntary crucifixion. Why do we do that then complain because it hurts? In the past, they put the flesh to near death to free the mind. We seem content to let the flesh be, but now put the mind to death.

Your thoughts are welcome. Be well friends.

Travis Saunders
Dragon Intuitive

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Your Insights on “What is Mortification of the Flesh?”

  1. Shannon

    I enjoy your thoughts as they are reflections upon what I also have been interested in for the past several years. One comment I have is your reference to cause and effect. I have read that cause and effect is linear thinking, which is a Newtonian paradigm, and which is outdated. My understanding now is relational and that events all occur as a result of many conditions which when are all in place, the circumstance occurs. It works with the knowing that all things are connected, and as you have also stated, everything we do affects everyone else.


  2. M

    “What doesn’t kill us makes us stronger”
    Friedrich Nietzsche

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