They say is the devils themselves that make our bodies…that they does see our souls, bright and beautiful, gliding down from Heaven to touch the earth powerfully, and grab them. Snatch them up before they reach, and sew their flesh around the spirit. Yuh see, is only our soul is in God image and likeness, eh…loving and compassionate and forever, like he is. But the flesh, it doh look like him at all. Pain stays on it, and it does want death. Pleasure teases it, and it does lust after all sorts of things not good for it. The devils does put us in these vessels, make them feel every single thing, until they can’t feel their soul anymore, and they think it no longer exists. And then the flesh gets spoiled, and it rots…and takes the soul with it.
– Eutrice, a character from ‘Body = Barrier’
So, I’m writing a play called Body = Barrier. It’s not my very first play-writing stint, but it’s definitely the one I’ve taken the most seriously. Part of the reason for that is because I think it’s just a beautiful idea for a play that I would Love to be able to put on stage myself. The other reason is because the play itself is one of a long line of spiritual revelations that I’ve had over the past few months that have come out of nowhere at hit me like a ton of bricks…
A couple months ago, I recognized myself being tempted. By women who just wanted me physically, by jobs that encouraged me to chase the money, by situations that urged me to forget my goals and passions and virtues for the lust of the moment. Somehow, I stood strong, and trust and believe I am glad for all that now. But what I’m even more glad for is having insight into what I think is the anatomy of temptation. It’s more complicated than we think. It’s not just our minds being tricked by curiosity into doing something that it’s never done before. It’s our souls being tricked as well…
Think about it this way…do you think there’s more to you than the body you have right now? That you will live beyond the 75 years that you’re statistically likely to live? Most people don’t.
And I think that’s how it starts – if we’re nothing more than a body that’s bound to die, when every moment is meant for us to get some sort of hedonistic pleasure from this life that we’re gonna lose. What’s the point in not doing something stupid or selfish or sinful? We’re just gonna die and fade away! Do all the things! Let the chips fall where they may. At least you can say that you did it once, and you know what it feels like. And if you enjoy it, screw what other folks think and keep doing it. We know in our hearts, though, that some of what we’re doing isn’t best for us or others…but f**k it, YOLO!
There’s also an insecurity that the body represents. We’re all trying to match ourselves up to other folks’ bodies; in looks, in dress, in strength, in sex… We’re told by all sorts of people that we’re not worthwhile if we’re not attractive and stylish. We’re told that we need to be strong or good in bed or have certain talents in order to keep people’s interest. None of it’s true, and we all know that somewhere deep down within us, but we do it anyway. We strive to be just like the strong, sexy and stylish, or beat ourselves up for missing the mark. So we feel left out, and think if we do the same ‘f**k it, YOLO’ stuff that they’re doing, we’ll feel a bit better.
I noticed all these steps in my own life over the past year, when I was dealing with my own mild depression (yes, I’ve comfortable enough to call my past year by what it was). Turns out, the body kinda sabotages the soul. The body knows what it is – that it won’t last long, and can be affected by the touches and sounds and sights around it. It’s just designed to want what makes it feel good and get away from what doesn’t. The soul knows what it is too..but the body is the vessel that it experiences this world in. So we always experience life from the perspective of the flesh.
It’s why we still do things that we believe we shouldn’t, just because it feels good. It’s why we avoid doing long, hard things that stop us from experiencing what makes the body feel good, even when it makes the soul feel better. It’s even why we have doubts that we hear God’s voice. But it’s also why we hear God’s voice – the fact that we have a soul, and that it is our true selves, means that we can communicate beyond the body. That, I think, is what being made ‘in God’s image and likeness’ really means – that we have the same infinite and powerful and beautiful energy that he is made out of, and that those energies have an affinity to each other. The body is just the vessel for that energy to reach Earth, and come closer to itself, and therefore to the truth.
But the body became the barrier.