True Self and False Self: Week 1 Summary — Center for Action and Contemplation

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True Self and False Self: Week 1 Summary

True Self and False Self: Week 1

Summary: Sunday, August 6-Friday, August 11, 2017

Your soul—your True Self, your deepest identity, your unique blueprint—is who you are in God and who God is in you. (Sunday)

Only your True Self lives forever and is truly free in this world. (Monday)

Both Jesus and Buddha point to an essential “renouncing” of the false self, a foundational death of the ego that is frankly hard to talk about in our contemporary world. This dying to self is at the heart of the spiritual journey. (Tuesday)

Your True Self is Life and Being and Love. Love is what you were made for and love is who you are. (Wednesday)

God sees the Christ in you and thus cannot not love you. That part of you—your True Self—has always loved God and has always said yes to God. (Thursday)

Your True Self is who you are and always have been in God. At its core, your True Self is love. Love is both who you are and who you are still becoming, like a sunflower seed that becomes its own sunflower. (Friday)


Practice: Drawing Empty Space

It’s difficult to see our True Self because it is so close to us. We overly identify with our false self, our egoic ideas about who we are, missing the forest for the trees, as it were. The True Self is hidden and must be sought out. With practice, we can learn to see differently, to shift our focus. This simple exercise plays with our usual way of perceiving reality and invites an inner change in how we see ourselves, the world, and the Divine.

Sitting at a table with a pencil and a piece of blank, unlined paper, look at a nearby object (for example, a vase of flowers, a chair, a tree outside). Turn your attention to the empty or “negative” space surrounding the object. Rather than focus on the object’s contours, look at the lines and curves of the space butting up against the object, the places in between and around the thing itself. Breathe deeply and begin to draw these nooks and crannies of air and emptiness. Keep your focus on the “negative” space as you draw.

You might draw all of the spaces around the object or spend just a few moments drawing. When your pencil comes to a stop, observe the form and detail of the “nothingness” you’ve drawn. Know that your True Self, though perhaps less visible than ego and persona, is spacious and objective. Let your inner witness quietly observe the “negative space” within yourself. Rest in this abundant emptiness, full of Presence.

Gateway to Silence:
I am love.

Adapted from Richard Rohr, A Spring Within Us: A Book of Daily Meditations (Center for Action and Contemplation: 2016), 95-96. 

For Further Study:
Richard Rohr, Immortal Diamond: The Search for Our True Self (Jossey-Bass: 2013)
Richard Rohr, True Self/False Self (Franciscan Media: 2003), CD

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