When studying any form of knowledge, we must understand each word. We must bear in mind the fact that words can become outdated. Or, they can become narrowly defined. And, even if we think we understand a word, we must realize that the definition of that word, held by the majority of people in the world, affects our application of the word.
The very first paragraph of Mary Baker Eddy’s, Science and Health, a religious textbook for those who practice Christian Science, states, “Prayer, watching, and working, combined with self-immolation, are God’s gracious means for accomplishing whatever has been successfully done for the Christianization and health of mankind.”
A 19th century dictionary definition of self-immolation is: sacrifice, a sacrifice of the self.
Today, we find a definition of: the offering of oneself as a sacrifice, esp. by burning; such suicidal action in the name of a cause or strongly held belief.
Yes, today, the rarely used word, “self-immolation” is directly attached to the headlines about self-immolating monks setting fire to themselves to protest against Chinese rule.
It is one thing to sacrifice selfishness, it is quite another to sacrifice the body. Even if we did sacrifice a body, the selfish thoughts could very well still remain.
If at times it seems that our spiritual progress is too slow, take a new approach. Remove your thought from a world view.
When I am putting into practice the knowledge of sacrificing egotism, personal indulgences, and opinions, I also rigorously make sure my practice isn’t being affected by the world view of self-immolation. This way, I don’t fall into a self-immolation that really is self-destruction.
The revision, 21st Century Science and Health, states, “Human mortal selflessness,” in place of self-immolation. You may find a better word or words to effectively apply the principle of manifesting spirituality, one with Life, Truth, and Love, in place of the problems that come with a mortal self.