Facing the Unknown – 5 quotes from Phileena Heuertz’s book – Pilgrimage of a Soul: Contemplative Spirituality for the Active Life

by Mark Votava

51T7TEZCf2L1. Knowing and being known

“The spiritual journey allows for space within us to be carved for intimacy. Intimacy is about knowing and being known. But sadly there are a lot of obstacles that keep us from achieving this most necessary of human needs. ‘Programs for happiness’ that our false selves cling to threaten to prevent us from reaching our hearts’ desires for intimacy. We seek power and control, affection and esteem or security and survival, and none of these pursuits leave us fulfilled. At the end of life’s journey, it doesn’t matter what we have, what we do or what others say about us. What will matter is whether or not we are known and loved for who we are…”

2. The false self

“In this internally exposed condition I felt vulnerable, insecure and fragile. Symbolized by pilgrimage but realized through awakening, I was finding out that I wasn’t who I thought I was. Meet the false self – the shadow of who we truly are, the expression of who we are that pales in comparison to the truth of who we were created to be. The false self is so much a part of our identity that we don’t know it is there. We don’t distinguish it from the true self.”

3. The true self is free

“Waking up and embarking on this journey involved an uprooting and tearing down of my false self and worldview. At times I felt like I was coming undone. Submission to this grace reoriented my life to a deeper degree of truth. The transformative work of Christ is very real. By a mystery that can hardly be explained, the work of Christ sets us free. The true self is free once the false self is confronted and dismantled.”

4. Facing the unknown

“The intense descent to the bedrock of my false self felt destabilizing. It was far from a pleasant experience. I began to face the unknown of my identity and it frightened me. As falsehoods and old affections and attachments were brought to my attention, the invitation was to let them go. Without them I felt as if I had nothing, as if I was nothing. I realized that many of my acts of service were selfishly motivated to fuel a feeling of being loved. If I could meet the needs of others and support them I felt important, needed, wanted valuable (therefore ‘loved’). The line between true acts of service or kindness and falsely motivated ones is so thin.”

5. Awakening

“Awakening invited me to be broken of who I thought I was (the false self) and to submit to the work of the Spirit in me, which enabled me to submit to who I truly was (the true self). Even submission started to take on new meaning. Submission as mutuality was making sense to me, instead of submission as subordination or subjugation. Mutuality is love-reciprocated submission. This was good news to me.”

Which quote do you like the best?

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