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Your True Self

Thursday, December 15, 2016


Your True Self
Thursday, December 15, 2016

Union with God is the primary and most unavoidable reality of our lives. —Alan Watts [1]

The True Self is who you are because of the divine indwelling, the Holy Spirit living within you (Romans 8:9). This is the only solid basis for human sacredness and for universal belonging. We are all mobile temples of God, says Paul (e.g., 1 Corinthians 3:16-17). Some scholars call this Paul’s “supreme idea” in all of his letters. For a temple-loving Jew this was quite an affirmation. What happened in the Christ, the Anointed One, is an announcement of what is happening in all of us too. We are sons and daughters of heaven and earth—both at the same time. Much of the work of enlightenment is to allow these two identities to coexist, just as Jesus did. For me, it is the core of Christian faith.

This amalgam of the human and the divine is the supreme work of God. For Christians, the shorthand word for this mystery is “Christ” (Colossians 1:17-20, Ephesians 1:3-14, and throughout Paul). You do not have to use that word to know and live inside of the mystery, but it is as good a code word as any. Christ is the corporate personality for all of us, and Jesus is the individual personality. The reason it is called Good News is because we are in on the deal!

But most Christians read the Bible in an entirely individualistic way which destroyed most of its transformative power. Jesus told us to “follow” him on this same transformative journey; instead, we just worshiped him. Many Christians have never been seriously taught about their inherent union with God and will find all kinds of heady reasons to deny it.

Carrot-on-the-stick theology is usually more appealing to the striving ego. The false self feels very inadequate, and it is indeed unstable in many ways, which is why we call it false! The false self is overwhelmed with its own unworthiness, psychological wounds, and its passing nature. Only the True Self can dare to believe the Good News of the Gospel, which is actually God-in-you doing the believing. The small, separate self cannot trust such immensity and giftedness.

The true you cannot really be hurt. There’s nothing to prove or protect with the True Self. It is indestructible. It’s your eternal soul, your identity in God. It’s the Great I AM (Exodus 3:14) of God, continued in your own small version of “I am.”

God loves the Eternal Christ, the Anointed One, the “Christ Child” in you, and God cannot not love you. That part of you which has always loved God—and lets God love you—is your soul or True Self. Once the problem is solved deeply inside of you, and you can recognize and honor the divine image in yourself, then you can honor the inherent dignity of everyone else, too, knowing it is a free gift given to all; none of us can earn it.

In reality, humanity is on a level playing field. This was supposed to change our politics, our societies, and our history. But the implications of the Gospel are yet to be fully realized.

Gateway to Silence:
We are already in union with God.

[1] Alan Watts, Behold the Spirit: A Study in the Necessity of Mystical Religion (Random House: 1947, 1971), 17.
Adapted from Richard Rohr, “The Eight Core Principles,” Radical Grace, Vol. 25, No. 4, (CAC: 2012), 39-42.

Image Credit: Early Autumn (detail), Qian Xuan (1235-1305), 13th century, Detroit Institute of Arts, Detroit, Michigan, USA.
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