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True Self/Separate Self
True Self/Separate Self

True Self/Separate Self: Weekly Summary

Saturday, September 5, 2020

True Self/Separate Self

Saturday, September 5, 2020
Summary: Sunday, August 30—Friday, September 4, 2020

Your True Self is a little tiny flame of this Universal Reality that is Life itself, Consciousness itself, Being itself, Love itself, Light and Fire itself, God’s very self. (Sunday)

Thinking creates the separate self, the ego self, the insecure self. The God-given contemplative mind, on the other hand, recognizes the God Self, the Christ Self, the True Self of abundance and deep inner security. (Monday)

Every one of us is shadowed by an illusory person: a false self. This is the man I want myself to be but who cannot exist, because God does not know anything about him. And to be unknown of God is altogether too much privacy. —Thomas Merton (Tuesday)

Only our True Self lives forever and is truly free in this world. (Wednesday)

The consistent practice of contemplation helps to uncover our true reality, essential Self, or fundamental “I.” (Thursday)

Awakening—which in Jesus’ teaching really boils down to the capacity to perceive and act in accordance with the higher laws of the Kingdom of Heaven—is a matter of piercing through the charade of the smaller self to develop a stable connection with the greater Self. —Cynthia Bourgeault (Friday)


Practice: Lectio Divina

Lectio divina (Latin for sacred reading) is a contemplative way of reading, praying, and taking a long, loving look at Scripture or some other text. In lectio divina, God teaches us to listen for and seek God’s presence in silence. The text for this lectio practice is from my book The Universal Christ:

A mature Christian sees Christ in everything and everyone else.” [1]

1. With the first reading, allow yourself to settle in to the exercise and familiarize yourself with the words. Read the text out loud, very slowly and clearly. Pause for a breath or two before moving on.

2. For the second reading, listen from a centered heart space and notice any word or phrase that stands out to you.

3. After a few moments of silence, read the text a third time, reflecting on how this word or phrase is connected to your current life experience. Take a minute to linger over this word or phrase, to focus on it until it engages your body, your heart, your awareness of the physical [and unseen] world around you.

You may want to speak a response aloud or write something in your journal.

4. For the final reading, respond with a prayer or expression of what you have experienced, inviting the infinite wisdom of God to support you in places of unknowing, confusion, desire, or hope.

Leading in with the quotation below, practice a contemplative sit. You may wish to set a timer or digital prayer bell for 5, 10, or 20 minutes, so that you know when to finish.

Seat yourself in a quiet area. Once you are settled, read the passage aloud again:

A mature Christian sees Christ in everything and everyone else.

• Notice any tightness in your shoulders and neck and allow any tension in your muscles to relax.

• Allow your back to rest in an aligned, neutral position.

• Ground yourself and allow your breathing to settle. Then read the following aloud:I am not trying to “achieve” anything. (Pause) There are no goals. (Pause)

I am simply becoming aware of this moment. (Pause) Becoming aware of my presence in this moment. (Pause) As I notice any distractions, thoughts, judgments, decisions, ideas that cross my mind, I let them go for now (Pause), focusing instead on my moment-by-moment experience of being present to What Is. (Pause) God’s Presence. (Pause) The Larger Field. (Pause) En Cristo. (Pause)

• Ring a prayer bell to indicate that the contemplative sit has begun.

[1] Richard Rohr, The Universal Christ: How a Forgotten Reality Can Change Everything We See, Hope For, and Believe (Convergent: 2019), 33.

Adapted from Richard Rohr, The Universal Christ: Companion Guide for Groups (CAC Publishing: 2019), 23–24, 25, 172.

For Further Study:
Cynthia Bourgeault, Centering Prayer and Inner Awakening (Cowley Publications: 2004)

James Finley, Merton’s Palace of Nowhere: A Search for God through Awareness of the True Self (Ave Maria Press: 1978)

Thomas Merton, New Seeds of Contemplation (New Directions Paperbook: 2007, ©1961)

Richard Rohr, Everything Belongs: The Gift of Contemplative Prayer (Crossroad Publishing: 1999, 2003)

Richard Rohr, Immortal Diamond: The Search for Our True Self (Jossey-Bass: 2013)

Image credit: Room in New York (detail), Edward Hopper, 1932.
Inspiration for this week’s banner image: My false and private self is the one who wants to exist outside the reach of God’s will and God’s love—outside of reality and outside of life. And such a self cannot help but be an illusion. —Thomas Merton
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