Calling the True Self to Come Alive

by Mark Votava


I have grown up in a family where I really struggled to be my true self.  Not caring too much about money, wealth, possessions or power; I had to figure out who I was going to be in the world.  As a shy, introvert I started to practice a deep contemplative listening as a way to express myself to God beyond words. And because of this interior exploration it seems my true self has been flourishing more and more over time.

  • The true self displays the beauty of our humanity

Our practice of contemplation will show us our true self as the body of Christ in the parish.  The true self is who we are.  It displays the beauty of our humanity.  The true self integrates our personality, body, soul and spirit together within a relational network in the place we inhabit.

  • The true self longs for authenticity

The true self is what the gospel is calling us to live into.  Our true self can see beyond the status quo.  Our true self longs for authenticity.  Contemplation calls the true self to come alive in us.

  • The courage to be ourselves

John Main says, “One of the countless benefits that we have to gain from meditation is that we are empowered to transcend the cultural context in which we have been brought up.  All of us are, to some extent, prisoners of the received ideas of our time and as a result we are distressed to find so little creativity in our thinking.  People are almost afraid to think their own thoughts.  Everyone merely shuffles with the pack of ideas that we have had presented to us, not even, I’m afraid, by the true thinkers of our time, but often just by the prepackagers of secondhand, convenience-concepts.  In the silence of meditation we are put in touch with our own uniqueness and we are given the courage to be ourself, to know ourself and the world we inhabit, to think and respond to a real world first-hand…”

  • Explore, question, experiment, practice, embody

Through our contemplation we are empowered to be our true self in the parish.  We no longer become prisoners of the status quo.  The mystical imagination brings liberation to our bodies.  Our true self is enabled to think, explore, question, experiment, live, practice and embody our spirituality in our local cultural context.

  • Not afraid to be honest and vulnerable

We are not afraid to live out the radical nature of the gospel anymore.  We are not afraid to love.  We are not afraid to be known by others.  We are not afraid to be honest and vulnerable.  We are not afraid to be human.

  • Our true selves will teach us wisdom

Our true self requires us to look inside and explore who we think we are.  Our true self will teach us wisdom.  Our true self will teach us to abide, trust and hope in the divine.

Why do we fear the true self in everyday life together?