Prospecting for Ben – Confessions of counter-intelligence…


The image of a man dying the cruel and tortured death of a criminal is not an inspiring one, yet for millions it is a focus not only for their own personal faith and relationship with divinity, but a token of sacrifice made with love. Some Christian movements prefer a bare cross, perhaps to emphasise the resurrection, others choose to replace the central figure with a rose or dove…a more abstract symbol… and that word itself may be a key to understanding.

Even the most ardent and orthodox believer does not worship the crucifix itself; their love and faith are directed at what is depicted by the crucifix; for many this is the ultimate sacrifice for redemption through love. The crucifix, therefore, is a symbol and a potent one.

For others the interpretation of the symbol is less dependent upon orthodox religious doctrine, but applies the essence of that spiritual symbolism to the journey of the human soul. The awakening of the ‘Christ within’ and ‘Christ-consciousness’ have become familiar terms in spiritual circles, whilst other systems seek the same illumination and awareness under other names.

We react differently to how a thing is named; when we are said to have ‘ego’ or ‘personality’, for example, the terms elicit different reactions, yet both describe the vehicle in which we move through the world, garnering the experience from which a soul may grow. Whilst in many contexts the two terms are interchangeable, it could be argued that the conscious personality should be an expression of the inner state of awareness, whilst the ego, certainly within popular terms, is built from our reactions and fears and becomes a formidable master. In most religious and spiritual systems we are required to take a solitary journey of self-examination in order to establish how we allow the ego to control our actions and reactions and how we can dissolve the chains of its enslavement.

If we can look dispassionately at the symbolism of the crucified form on the cross, we might interpret it in these terms as the sacrifice of self to Self… earthly ego to higher consciousness. The controlling hold of the ego that must be ‘assassinated’ in order to free the inner spark of light. In terms of esoteric psychology, the ego must be made to relinquish its hold through understanding … making it as transparent as a ghost; insubstantial, though still present and able to move between the levels of consciousness as a phantom moves between the worlds. Such transparency leaves us with no less ‘personality’… in fact quite the opposite… yet a freedom from destructive desire is attained, encapsulated in the esoteric adage that the adept owns nothing but has the use of everything.

In this way, the ‘assassination of self’ may be seen as a path to transcendence, where the choice is made to assassinate the ego or allow it to grow and become entrenched, effectively aiming a bullet at the heart of the Christ within.

Chalfont St Giles (28)

Unlike most things, the ego diminishes at it matures, in a process that pays little heed to age. The immature ego may be characterised as the childishness of the hand that grasps and seeks to possess; the maturing ego grows towards a childlike awareness that takes on a part of the wonder and where the hand that grasps becomes the open hand that gives of itself. The final days of Jesus’ life and the crucifixion are known as the Passion. In both the Christian and personal interpretations of this symbol, the crux of the matter is love. Not a romantic ideal, but the passion to give all with a love unconditional.

The symbol of the crucifix, in orthodox terms, shows the suffering, death and resurrection of the Christ and His sacrifice as an act of atonement for humanity, reconciling the relationship between God and Man through love. The analogy with the spiritual journey is not hard to find; few live their lives without suffering of some kind and in such times we may find the opportunity for inner growth. As the maturing ego diminishes, it allows a rebirth into a world irrevocably changed by a growing awareness that can lead to a feeling of being ‘at one’ with the divine, the inner and outer nature reconciled and a relationship established. At a recent meeting of the Silent Eye, we discussed the nature of that relationship, starting from its inception as coming to an ‘understanding with’ rather than an ‘understanding of’, a crucial but subtle difference that opens a new perspective. It makes it personal… and reciprocal.

We can study for a lifetime, acquiring knowledge from every source; we can engage the intellect and apply logic to every doctrine or theory… no school of thought can teach us as much about our own lives as our own experience, nor can they give us all the answers to those half-formulated questions we may bear. They can only point the way, giving us a map to guide us or the key with which we may unlock our inner doors. Intellect alone can only take us so far. To enter into a relationship of understanding with both ourselves and the divine, however we conceive of It, must come from within ourselves and begins with ‘a loosening of all the knots of the heart’ and the opening of the hands outstretched to give… and receive…a love unconditional.

About Sue Vincent

Sue Vincent is a Yorkshire-born writer and one of the Directors of The Silent Eye, a modern Mystery School. She writes alone and with Stuart France, exploring ancient myths, the mysterious landscape of Albion and the inner journey of the soul. Find out more at France and Vincent. She is owned by a small dog who also blogs. Follow her at and on Twitter @SCVincent. Find her books on Goodreads and follow her on Amazon worldwide to find out about new releases and offers. Email:
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14 Responses to Prospecting for Ben – Confessions of counter-intelligence…

  1. Yes, Christ sacrificed Himself for us. And we have to die to self.


  2. Christ didn’t sacrifice himself for us because we weren’t there. Christ isn’t the sacrifice, Christ is the result of the sacrifice, Jesus is the sacrifice, that is, ‘I as us’… which dies to become Christ…


    • Sue Vincent says:

      The terms have become synonymous for many whose faith is centred around that story. Much depends on where one stands and the starting point of faith.

      This interpretation works perfectly in terms of esoteric Christianity, though it could be argued that incarnation itself is a sacrifice if divinity chooses the constriction of the human form.


  3. Éilis Niamh says:

    I do not know how to view suffering dispassionately, or even if it would be wise to do so. Compassionately, yes. Embodied as we are, there is always a viewpoint. Everything is seen through our own eyes. Disinterest in the presence of cruelty says little about our capacity for humanity. Or so is my perspective, and can I understand from any other?


    • Sue Vincent says:

      I agree with you, Eilis… To view suffering dispassionately would be heartless cruelty. I was speaking here, however, of the ability to dissociate emotions from the symbol, rather than from the event, which allows us to take a more objective look at what it might suggest.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Éilis Niamh says:

    Why make your central symbol for your relationship with the divine one of cruelty and torture? Is it a gift of love to the unfathomable light of the one to send its own rays back to itself abruptly in their innocence, such a brilliant radiance dimmed in the name of love for the blazing fire whose flames leap into each of our eyes?


  5. Éilis Niamh says:

    Yes, we dissolve self into Self. It is the transformation to wholeness, you speak of. That is necessary. It is certainly not painless. What is the redemption? We are already whole. Self needs no sacrifice. It is the illusions of the self, small self, that die, but I think a better word would be transmute, into the wholeness, into the truth. Catterpiller small self into butterfly Self. Dissolution is messy and often perceived as unpleasant. But torture implies mal-intent on behalf of a greater force acting on a helpless one. Surely you are not coerced and badgered into growing, torn limb from limb against your will, with no concept of your capacity of choice, of your profound equality, of your right to freedom. So for instance if there’s a wound that needs healing, a nonhuman animal will experience far more torture in terms of ignorance, fear, and pain, than would a human being who anticipates that healing the wound will be painful, but they’ll be healthy afterward and not choosing to mend the wound will lead to even more suffering. I’ve been told I think too much, maybe that’s what I’m doing, stuck in my head. But to me, redemption and needing saving in the name of love always implied a separation that never existed. Unconditional love and actual torture of a small self until it submits has always felt entirely unnecessary and at times counterproductive. Unwraveling the small self and reintegrating it into the Self to become at once something it has always been and that is wholly different from before, taking that openness with outstretched hands and allowing this to happen, that shows unconditional love to yourself, to allow a journey to become more and all that you are. It’s a chosen offering so perhaps you could call it a sacrifice. But you’ve lost nothing, but gained everything. Like you said, which I love, nothing you own, but everything is yours to use. Ownership is just another illusion that falls away. You aren’t giving up. Not enduring pain for forgiveness. What is there for magnificent, radiant light in you to atone for? Forgiveness is your choice to set yourself free from the chains of blame and judgment. It’s a way of being, there’s no pain in being, just resisting. And sometimes in growing. You can’t avoid suffering in this world. Why would the ultimate commitment to the relationship to the divine within and beyond be submission to suffering, rather than surrender to oneness and the joy of becoming?


    • Sue Vincent says:

      To ‘redeem’ in the dictionary is given as to repossess, to recover or retrieve… The finding and regaining of our forgotten knowledge of wholeness, perhaps. The self we know through the mirror of our daily life may, like the steel of a good blade, need to know the fires of the forge to burn away the impurities and shadows and allow the purity of the higher Self to shine through with a keen beauty. I agree that there is no separation, but we learn to percieve it as such and thus need to find our way back to the ‘at-oneness’ that is the heart of atonement.


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