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from: "Written While Fasting"

It is the morning of the second day of my fast.

It becomes evident to me why the first temptation in the wilderness was bread. To fulfill the base desires of the flesh is a powerful demand.

Christ says, Man does not live by bread alone.

Jung might ask, Would you starve the soul to feed the ego?

Most Americans wouldn't understand the question. Most would argue that to feed the ego is to feed the soul. Most would question the existence of their souls by demanding textbook definitions.

What is the soul?

It is the clearest part of you--the raw self unadorned with vanity; most often found trembling and afraid. It is your strength. It is who you truly are.

Amy Tan in her novel, The Joy Luck Club, tells of a woman in a frightened, trapped situation. Would she become something different in time? she wants to know. And she looks in the mirror and sees herself truly. She sees that she "was strong ... was pure ... had genuine thoughts inside that no one could see, that no one could ever take away..."

I find myself lately angry with students and what they represent arguing that ignorance doesn't matter as long as you look like you have knowledge. It is fueling the ego that matters to them. They are the would-be saviors of the world who immediately give in to temptation, who make the bread and eat it, and then argue their right to do so with the devil's tongue.

Stop stuffing yourselves with vanity. Unplug your ego. You are the center of the universe and you breathe out the poisons you have chosen to suck in across the face of your neighbors. Your soul demands to be fed in whispers drowned out by the sceams of your ego. Resist the temptation. Focus. You cannot live on bread alone. You cannot only feed your ego.

The Ninth Circle