Letting Go of the Self-Made Self
Fr. Thomas Keating
Without thinking or feeling some emotion, there is just awareness. There is then no desire for bliss, enlightenment,or to teach others. Things are just as they are. In that so called emptiness, enjoyment arises of itself. As soon as we try to enjoy, the enjoyment ceases. Somehow at the bottom of emptiness (openness, pure awareness), there is the Divine Presence and the peace that surpasses all understanding.
If you bring the same emptiness and freedom to each moment and
its content, you will be happy even in the midst of suffering. Accept
everything and everyone just as they are, where they are, and try to act
as lovingly as possible in every situation. Be ready to be led you know not
where or when. Hush the discriminating mind dividing things into good
or evil for me.
Fear draws us to the center we have created, the ego self. Divine Love
expands from our real center, the true self. One feels the pain of others and must reach out to help them even when they are unaware of their pain. But one is content and at peace because one does not discriminate.
The true self is all the colors of the rainbow and must expand to
experience the whole of one’s being. One is not limited to one or two
colors. One need not reject any color, but is to become all of them. The
more colors one manifests, the more one manifests the Light that we are
and the Light that we share.
Ladders and stages suggest leaving behind the previous rung or stage.
Actually one adds new dimensions to what one is, like a tree adds rings.
Take and accept yourself just as you are, where you are. If you are
aggressive, lustful, fearful, or shy and withdrawn, notice your feelings
before, during, and after each incident, without emotional reactions of
blame, shame, anger or discouragement. Let God work with your faults
and limitations. Just recognize them and be with them, without trying to
correct them. As you watch them, feel them, accept them, their force and
exaggeration will gradually diminish.
Keep moving to the center of your being where Divine Love is and
welcome whatever bodily feeling or emotion that is happening. The
present moment contains all we need to be happy. Only our attitudes
have to change.