Richard Rohr invites us to the transformative process of discovering our True Selves:
In the first ending to Mark’s Gospel—the oldest gospel—the text ends on a very disappointing, and thus likely truthful, note: “They ran away from the tomb frightened out of their wits. They said nothing to a soul, for they were afraid” (see Mark 16:5–8).
Such running from resurrection has been a prophecy for Christianity and much of religion. I interpret this as the human temptation to run from and deny not just the divine presence, but our own True Selves—our souls, our inner destiny, our true identity. Our True Self is that part of us that knows who we are and whose we are, although largely unconsciously. Our false self is just who we think we are—but thinking doesn’t make it so.
We are made for transcendence and endless horizons, but our small ego usually gets in the way until we become aware of its petty preoccupations and eventually seek a deeper truth. It is like mining for a diamond. We must dig deep; and yet we seem reluctant, even afraid, to do so.
The question the three women ask in this first moment of would-be resurrection is still ours: “Who will roll away the rock?” (Mark 16:3). Who will help us in this mining operation for the True Self? What will it take to find my True Self? How do I even know there is an “immortal diamond” underneath and behind this rock of my ego, my specific life experience, my own culture? Up to now, it has been common to religiously believe that Jesus’ physical body could really “resurrect.” That was much easier than asking whether we could really change or resurrect. It got us off the hook—the hook of growing up, of taking the search for our True Selves seriously.
Up to now, we have been more driven by outer authority than drawn in by the calm and loving inner authority (the in-dwelling Holy Spirit) of prayer, practice, and inner experience. This has a much better chance of allowing us to meet and know our True Self. For all practical purposes, this change of identity from the separate self to the connected and True Self is the major—almost seismic—shift in motivation and consciousness itself that mature religion rightly calls conversion. It is the very heart of all religious transformation (“changing forms”). Without it, religion is mostly a mere belonging system or a mere belief system, but it does not radically change our consciousness or motivation.
The clarification and rediscovery of the True Self lays a solid foundation—and a clear initial goal—for all religion. We cannot build any serious spiritual house if we do not first find something solid and foundational to build on—inside our self! “Like knows like” is the principle. God-in-us already knows, loves, and serves God in everything else.
Adapted from Richard Rohr, Immortal Diamond: The Search for Our True Self (San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass, 2013), vii–ix, xxiv, xii.
Image credit: A path from one week to the next—Izzy Spitz, Field Study 1 (detail), oil pastel on canvas. Taylor Wilson, Field of the Saints (detail), print. Taylor Wilson, Isha (detail), watercolor and cyanotype. Used with permission. Click here to enlarge image.
Artist Statement (Taylor Wilson): This collection is an exploration of the iconic visuals we are culturally familiar with.… Playing and replaying with what the ancients already knew and then taking the responsibility of sacred knowledge forward through modern expression with the Spirit.
Story from Our Community:
The Daily Meditation on “Gratitude is a Practice,” spoke to my own personal challenge of being grateful despite living with cancer. I say “living with” cancer because I have been living with it for 10 years. It’s been a strange dance. I’m grateful for so many moments that are full of love: visits from grandchildren, a beautiful sunset, or a wonderful meal. But then the fear returns and I find my gratitude wearing thin. Gratitude has become a physical as well as spiritual experience for me. A pain-free hour lightens my heart and a quiet thanks flows through my body. Last night, I read Richard Rohr’s Immortal Diamond which said, “the God within is looking at the God with out.” I found a profound sense of calm by the idea that I am always—no matter what—existing in the total presence of the Creator. —Patrick S.