Life is what we call consciousness.
It is this streamed story of focus.
We are grabbed and pulled. We seek and reach. We yearn and strive, but it is all within the realm of consciousness.
Within consciousness we experience will. We are not our wills, we sometimes feel it’s hard to know where will comes from.
It is hard to locate “me” sometimes in that slippery self. I feel the power of my will. I feel the super-ego throw sand into the gears to keep that will from doing something that fear wants to avoid. There is caution, and wisdom, and community-based-reputation too.
John Newton, who wrote “Amazing Grace” when he was a young man had a motto “never deliberate”. It brought him to some interesting places, many of which he would later on regret.
What is a Life?
We might imagine that a life is this stream of consciousness, but that is only a part of it. We are streams of consciousness watching each other and learning in ways we’re not conscious of.
Life isn’t just a stream of consciousness because we ourselves are watching this stream, evaluating it, judging it, wanting to have master over it.
So now we see the drama of Romans 7 play out. There are already multiple players: the “me” that isn’t easy to describe, the will, for Paul “the law”, the flesh, Christ, life, and you could add more.
A Self Help-book
Add to this actors outside of ourselves who suggest they can help but also who we suspect have something to gain by the small amount of agency we relinquish when we give ourselves to them. It might be a self-help book. It might be a religion, or a program, or a God, or a saint, or a lover, or a parent, or a doctor, or a teacher, or a movie or TV show or any number of other things. All of the watchers inside have their debate over the offer as consciousness flitters between the offer and just keeping the lights on.
The watchers must come to agreement to bring discipline to the consciousness. They must reign it in, like a horse, or a dog. They must make it their servant usually with rope or leash or chain. They must teach it, train it, make it repeat over and over because that is how it learns.