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Your False Self, which we might also call your “small self,” is your launching pad: your body image, your job, your education, your clothes, your money, your car, your sexual identity, your success, and so on. These are the trappings of ego that we all use to get us through an ordinary day. They are a nice enough platform to stand on, but they are largely a projection of your self-image and your attachment to it. They are the psychological self that you have created, as opposed to your naturally created self, which was given by God.
When you are able to move beyond your False Self—at the right time and in the right way—it will feel precisely as if you have lost nothing. In fact, it will feel like freedom and liberation. When you are connected to the Whole, you no longer need to protect and defend the mere part. You are now connected to something inexhaustible.
To not let go of our False Self at the right time and in the right way is precisely what it means to be
stuck, trapped, and addicted to your self. (The traditional word for that was sin.) The discovery of our True Self is not just a matter of chronological age. Some spiritually precocious children, usually those with a disability of some type, see through the False Self rather early, while lots of old men and old women are still dressing up what is soon going to die anyway.
If all you have at the end of your life is your False Self, there will not be much to eternalize. The False Self is always transitory. Its various costumes are all “accidents” largely created by the mental ego. Your False Self is what changes, passes, and dies when you die. Only your True Self lives forever. Your True Self knows that it is a branch of love connected to the eternal Vine of Love, and it happily rests there (John 15:1-7) for its identity and power.
Gateway to Silence: I am who I am in the eyes of God—
nothing more and nothing less.
New title from Richard Rohr
Dancing Standing Still:
Healing the World from a Place of Prayer
In this updated edition of A Lever and A Place to Stand, Fr. Richard offers a vision of living a generative and generous life from a prayerful stance. This is the greatest art form, he says: the dance of action and contemplation.
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