Culture of Imagination

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Tag: Immortal Diamond

Our Curiosity About Our True Self – 10 quotes from Richard Rohr’s book – Immortal Diamond: The Search For Our True Self

immoral_diamond1. God and consciousness and Being

“Perhaps God and consciousness and Being are the same thing. This ever-flowing abundance that we call God clearly loves and revels in endless manifestation, fecundity, and diversity. The Formless One is forever seeking new and fantastic forms… There is surely no indication of any divine interest in blandness, uniformity, exclusion, mindless repetition, or sameness.”

2. Delusional and counterproductive

“Remember, please remember, you do not (you must not!) fear, attack, or hate the False Self. That would only continue a negative and arrogant death energy, and it is delusional and counterproductive anyway… In the great economy of grace, all is used and transformed, and nothing is wasted. God uses your various False Selves to lead you beyond them…”

3. The lie of separation

“Jesus never appeared to believe the ‘lie of separation,’ which is the core meaning of sin. He said without hesitation, ‘I and the Father are one’ (John 10:30). That made him indeed unique – and the ultimate model and leader for all of humanity.”

4. The most inclusive system of all

“Healthy religion should be the most inclusive system of all, making use of every discipline, avenue, and access point for Big Truth…”

5. The death of our ever fading False Self

“The ego self is the self before death; the soul is real only after we have walked through the death of our ever fading False Self and come out larger and brighter on the other side…”

6. Divine breath passing through you

“Your True Self is that part of you that is going to live forever and sees truthfully. It is divine breath passing through you. Your False Self is that part of you that is constantly changing and will eventually die anyway. It is in the world of passing forms and looks out with itself as the central reference point – which is never true. The False Self is passing, tentative, and, as the Hindus and Buddhists say, ‘empty.’ Mature religion helps us speed up this process of dying to the False Self – or at least to stop fighting its clear demise. This is why saints live in such a countercultural way…”

7. Inside our “conventional wisdom”

“We pulled Jesus inside our ‘conventional wisdom’ and seldom allowed him to be the teacher of alternative wisdom that he has always been.”

8. If a person keeps growing

“If a person keeps growing, his or her various false selves usually die in exposure to greater light.”

9. A dark and dangerous risk

“Both God and the True Self need only to fully be themselves and generously show themselves… To allow yourself to be grabbed and held by such a divine wholeness is a dark and dangerous risk, and yet this is exactly what we mean by ‘salvation’…”

10. Our curiosity about our True Self

“Our ongoing curiosity about our True Self seems to lessen if we settle into any ‘successful’ role. We have then allowed others to define us from the outside, although we do not realize it. Or perhaps we dress ourselves up on the outside and never get back inside…”

Are you curious about your True Self?

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Rebuilding From The Bottom Up – 8 quotes from Richard Rohr’s book – Immortal Diamond: The Search For Our True Self

51Y9Oq9eiML._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_1. Losing an alternative consciousness

“In trying to defend its ground in the face of rationalism and scientism, religion tried to become ‘rational’ itself and lost its alternative consciousness, which many of us call contemplation…”

2. A radical transformation of our very mind and heart

“Moralism is the common substitute and counterfeit for mysticism in almost all religions. Moralism (as opposed to healthy morality) is our reliance on largely arbitrary purity codes, magic rituals, and ‘requirements’ for our supposed enlightenment, ‘salvation,’ or any form of superiority. Every group and individual relies on moralism in its early stages. We look for something behavioral to externally do or not do rather than undergo a radical transformation of our very mind and heart…”

3. A mere diversion or entertainment

“Once you experience the Real, the unreal is increasingly a mere diversion or entertainment, not substantial reality…”

4. Humility and vulnerability

“We need and belong to one another, love says – we are not our own. That is why St. Francis loved the very word poverty… and saw humility and vulnerability as the shocking, impossible nature of God, as revealed to him in Jesus… Poverty is probably the Franciscan word for intimacy, which is why Francis even wanted to ‘marry Lady Poverty.’ Jesus tellingly begins his Sermon on the Mount with praise for the ‘poor in spirit’… God could only tell us to be what God also is. It was the humility and poverty of God that Francis fell in love with – and married. A False Self could not bear the stripped-down poverty of this intangible intimacy with God. If there were no other evidence in his life, this willingness and desire to love a ‘poor’ God would reveal how fully Francis of Assisi lived from his True Self.”

5. The enlightened and transformed soul

“The Risen Christ normally represents the True Self – the enlightened and transformed soul that is intimate with everything.”

6. God is a process

“God is a process rather than a clear name or idea, a communion, Interbeing itself, and never an isolated deity that can be captured by our mind.”

7. We must rebuild from the bottom up

“So how can we do our part to further ‘the work,’ ‘the great turning,’ the ‘refounding’ in our own lifetime? We must rebuild from the very bottom up, and that means restoring the inherent sacrality of all things – no exceptions – and all the past mistakes must be included as teaching moments and not just something to hate. We must relink all the links in ‘the great chain of being.’”

8. Calm cooperation

“Why, oh why, did we make the Gospel into a competition instead of a joyous proclamation of this necessary but good process – of surrender into love? I think it is because the ego (the False Self) prefers win-lose over win-win, even strangely enough, when it ends up defining oneself as a loser. The ego will always choose trumped-up competition over any calm cooperation…”

How can we rebuild from the bottom up?

My new book The Mystical Imagination: Seeing the Sacredness of All of Life (2015) is finally done! It is available on kindle and paperback!

“Our crowded, overly-consumed, hyper-active, digitally-addicted lifestyle is draining the life out of us. We are desperate to transcend the chaos and find a better way to live. We need a mystical imagination. Get ready to be transported into the depths of meaning as Votava breaks open the contemplative path and shows you how to live your life to the fullest.” Phileena Heuertz, author of Pilgrimage of a Soul: Contemplative Spirituality for the Active Life and founding partner, Gravity, a Center for Contemplative Activism

My first book The Communal Imagination: Finding a Way to Share Life Together (2014) is available on kindle and paperback also!

“Inside everyone there is a longing for community, to love and be loved. We are made in the image of a communal God. But in our hyper-mobile, individualistic, cluttered world… community is an endangered thing. And community is like working out – it takes work, sweat, discipline…  without that our muscles atrophy. Everybody wants to be fit, but not too many people want to do the work to get there. Mark’s book is sort of a workout manual, helping you rediscover your communal muscles and start building them up slowly. It is an invitation to live deep in a shallow world.”  Shane Claiborne, author and activist

Open and Undefended – 9 quotes from Richard Rohr’s book – Immortal Diamond: The Search for Our True Self

51Y9Oq9eiML._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_1. Always beautiful – and healing

“…truth is on some level always beautiful – and healing – to those who honestly want truth. Big truth cannot be angry, antagonistic, or forced on anyone, or it will inherently distort the message…”

2. The unified field of love

“…only love can be entrusted with the Big truth. All other attitudes will murder and mangle truthfulness. Humans must first find the unified field of love and then start their thinking from that point.”

3. The good, the true, and the beautiful

“The good, the true, and the beautiful are always their own best argument for themselves – by themselves – and in themselves. Such beauty, or inner coherence, is a deep inner knowing that both evokes the soul and even pulls the soul into its oneness. Incarnation is beauty, and beauty always needs to be incarnate. Anything downright ‘good,’ anything that shakes you with its ‘trueness,’ and anything that sucks you into its beauty does not just educate you; it transforms you…”

4. Open and undefended

“Somehow the True Self in all humans has a natural access to that ‘hidden’ will of God – if the mind and heart and soul are open and undefended (which is always the spiritual task and not easily achieved).”

5. Trumped-up competition over any calm cooperation

“Why, oh why, did we make the Gospel into a competition instead of a joyous proclamation of this necessary but good process – of surrender into love? I think it is because the ego (the False Self) prefers win-lose over win-win, even strangely enough, when it ends up defining oneself as a loser. The ego will always choose trumped-up competition over any calm cooperation.”

6. Mere diversion or entertainment

“Once you experience the Real, the unreal is increasingly a mere diversion or entertainment, not substantial reality…”

7. We kill what we should love

“…we fear, and we kill what we should love…”

8. Union, contentment, and deep resonance

“For some damn reason, and I use the cuss word deliberately, we give and get our energy from dark clouds much more than from silver linings. True joy is harder to access and even harder to hold onto than anger and fear. The False Self is energized by problems and by self-created goals almost moment by moment; the True Self (the soul) needs and feeds on a different fuel: union and contentment itself and, especially, deep resonance (meaning) of any kind.”

9. Divine breath passing through you

“Your True Self is that part of you that is going to live forever and sees truthfully. It is divine breath passing through you. Your False Self is that part of you that is constantly changing and will eventually die anyway. It is in the world of passing forms and looks out with itself as the central reference point – which is never true. The False Self is passing, tentative, and, as the Hindus and Buddhists say, ‘empty.’ Mature religion helps us speed up this process of dying to the False Self – or at least to stop fighting its clear demise. This is why saints live in such a countercultural way…”

Which quote do you like the best?

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Vulnerability – 10 quotes from Richard Rohr’s book – Immortal Diamond: The Search for Our True Self

51Y9Oq9eiML._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_1. The lie of separation

“Jesus never appeared to believe the ‘lie of separation,’ which is the core meaning of sin. He said without hesitation, ‘I and the Father are one’ (John 10:30). That made him indeed unique – and the ultimate model and leader for all of humanity.”

2. God desiring in you and through you

“The Holy Spirit is God desiring in you and through you – until it becomes your desiring too.”

3. The separate self is the False Self

“The separate self is the False Self thus needs to overdefine itself as unique, special, superior, and adequate…”

4. Act on a truth

“Act on a truth, and only then does it become your truth…”

5. If a person keeps growing

“If a person keeps growing, his or her various false selves usually die in exposure to greater light.”

6. The discovery of your True Self

“I promise you that the discovery of your True Self will feel like a thousand pounds of weight have fallen from your back. You will no longer have to build, protect, or promote any idealized self image. Living in the True Self is quite simply a much happier existence, even though we never live there a full twenty-four hours a day. But you henceforth have it as a place to always go back to. You have finally discovered the alternative to your False Self…”

7. Do not have even a minimum of self-knowledge

“The early Christian writers tell us that this discovery of our True Self is also at the same time a discovery of God. I have far too often seen the immature and destructive results of people who claim to have found God and do not have even a minimum of self-knowledge. They try to ‘have’ God and hold onto their false and concocted little self too. It does not work… I have also met many who appear to know themselves and do at some good levels, but not at the largest and divine level; they have to keep scrambling for private and public significance by themselves and in their mental ego. They still live in a separate and very fragile self.”

8. The worst danger of all

“After these smaller deaths, we know that the only ‘deadly sin’ is to swim on the surface of things, where we never see, find, or desire God and love. This includes even the surface of religion, which might be the worst danger of all…”

9. A very tiny American Jesus

“I can no longer wait for, or give false comfort to, the many Christians who are forever ‘deepening their personal relationship’ with a very tiny American Jesus – who looks an awful lot like them…”

10. Vulnerability levels the playing field

“It is almost impossible to fall in love with majesty, power, or perfection. These make us both fearful and codependent, but seldom truly loving. On some level, love can happen only between equals, and vulnerability levels the playing field…”

Which quote do you like the most?

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The Desert of Nonparticipation – 5 quotes from Richard Rohr’s book – Immortal Diamond: The Search for Our True Self

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1. The best and most defended self of all

“The religious False Self is the best and the most defended self of all…  The religious False Self can even justify racism, slavery, war, and total denial or deception and feel no guilt whatsoever…  If your religion does not transform your consciousness to one of compassion, it is more a part of the problem than any solution.”

2. The desert of nonparticipation

“Although the reformations were inevitable, good, and necessary, they also ushered in the ‘Desert of Nonparticipation,’ as Barfield called it, where no one belonged, few were at home in this world, and religion at its worst concentrated on excluding, condemning, threatening, judging, exploiting new lands and peoples, and controlling its own members by shame and guilt – on both the Catholic and Protestant sides.  Despite exceptions in every nation, church, denomination, group, monastery, and age, we almost totally lost the ‘alternative processing system,’ which I would call contemplation.  I know this sounds sinister and regressive, but there is plenty of evidence for its truth.  Most of it was not conscious, but the product of ignorance, fear, and overreaction.  Now the Christian world has produced more atheists, anti-Christians, witch hunts, and secularists than any other region would think possible.  How can a society survive when it hates its own religion or the very notion of deep participation?”

3. Standing solidarity with the suffering

“The Crucified One is God’s standing solidarity with the suffering…”

4. You True Self is who you are

“Your True Self is who you are, and always have been in God, and at its core, it is love itself.  Love is both who you are and who you are still becoming, like a sunflower seed that becomes its own sunflower.  Most of human history has called the True Self your ‘soul’ or ‘your participation in the eternal life of God.’  The great surprise and irony is that ‘you,’ or who you think you are, have nothing to do with its original creation or its demise.  It’s sort of disempowering and utterly empowering at the same time, isn’t it?  All you can do is nurture it, which is saying quite a lot.  It is love becoming love in this unique form called ‘me.’”

5. The True Self has less and less need for mere verbal certitudes or answers that always fit

“The True Self never knows with absolute surety that it is right or ‘good,’ but in fact it does not even need to, which is what we mean by ‘faith.’  The True Self has knocked on both the hard bottom and the high ceiling of reality and has less and less need for mere verbal certitudes or answers that always fit…  The False Self fears and denies all seeming contradictions, probably because it unconsciously knows that it is itself a mass of contradictions and is searching for some external order or control.  You can forgive the outer world only if and when you have first forgiven your own inner world.”

What are some thoughts you have about the True Self?

Book Review – Immortal Diamond: The Search for Our True Self by Richard Rohr

immoral_diamond

I love this book by Richard Rohr!  As I have longed for what is authentic in life, Immortal Diamond has been a companion to help me search for my True Self.  At the core of it, the True Self is the place where I can center my life in love.  I can live in the present moment and embrace all of life as sacred.

Sometimes it is difficult to distinguish what is the True Self and what is the False Self in life.  But in reading Immortal Diamond, it has given me a sense of awareness and discernment.  The False Self it seems is promoted by a lot of the church.  The church creates so many dualities, spaces where it is not safe to be honest, a fabrication of certainty and little tolerance for what is beyond the status quo.

Does the body of Christ really desire to discover the immortal diamond within itself?  The True Self is that part of ourselves that has always been there and no one can take it away from us.  It is given by God.  For many of us, we have never gotten in touch with it.

My False Self is not who I am, it is who the culture has made me to be.  It is a fabrication or an illusion of my own making.  It is taught to me by the media, my family, my schooling and many religious systems that are unhealthy in our world.  The embracing of my True Self and my longing for God are one and the same desire.

My desire for the True Self is comforting to me.  It is there.  I believe everyone has it.  Our True Selves are all very particular to who we are, and everyone has a True Self that is waiting to be discovered.  There is meaning when we are connected to the True Self within us.

The True Self is usually marginalized by mainstream religious culture.  We can’t discover our True Self when we have created a very tiny American Jesus in our own image.  It is ridiculous, but that’s what many of us do.

That is what is comfortable and safe.  It keeps us from being vulnerable, honest and authentic.  This is the North American way of narcissism that so many follow.  And we wonder why people do not like the church and find Christians anything but graceful and compassionate sometimes?

It is sad to me that many people experience the judgment of the False Self and not the love of the True Self.  Our world needs more expressions of love, not judgment.  We need to be extremists for love, nonconformists to the status quo and practitioners of empathetic listening.

I like how the book talks about when we get attached to our “successful” roles in society that is when we give up the search for the True Self and get stuck in the False Self.  It seems our True Self is within us and the False Self is always defined outside of us.  These “successful” roles we play in life have trapped our imaginations inside the dominant narrative of the market and empire.   We put in so much energy and effort into building the False Self that we do not even know there is an alternative to it.

Rohr talks about how it is not wise to fear, attack, or hate the False Self because God uses the stages we find ourselves in for our own transformation which help us to discover the True Self that is more expansive, authentic and compassionate.  If our pain is not transformed it will be transmitted to others.  So the True Self finds healing within that transforms our pain into a deeper way of being broken open to love.  I like the analogy of the immortal diamond that no one can give to you or take away from you because it is grounded in the core of love which is our True Self that everyone has within.

I highly recommend this book!  It will take you on a search for your True Self, bring to you more self-awareness and connect you to what is authentic within.  One of the best books I have read on the True Self.  Make sure you read it this year!

  • Your True Self

“Your True Self is that part of you that knows who you are and whose you are, although largely unconsciously.  Your False Self is just who you think you are – but thinking doesn’t make it so.”

  • A threat to the world as we have constructed it

“Somehow resurrection – which I am going to equate with the revelation of our True Selves – is actually a risk and a threat to the world as we have constructed it.  After any ‘raising up’ of our True Selves, we will no longer fit into many groups, even much of religious society, which is often obsessed with and yet indulgent of the False Self , because that is all it knows.”

  • Always live in the backwaters

“Perhaps the True Self – and the full mystery (not the same as organized religion) – will always live in the backwaters of any empire and the deep mines of any religion.”

  • A very tiny American Jesus

“I can no longer wait for, or give false comfort to, the many Christians who are forever ‘deepening their personal relationship’ with a very tiny American Jesus – who looks an awful lot like them…”

  • Stuck in the False Self

“Many people have lost all interest in our grand spiritual talk and our Scriptures because they too often have been used by people who are themselves still small (who are stuck in their False Self).  It does not help to deny that we are stuck, and yet it does not help to stand arrogantly above it all either…”

  • Little emphasis on spiritual practices

“Since the eighteenth-century Enlightenment, there has been little emphasis on spiritual practices…”

  • Utterly within you and utterly beyond you at the very same time

“…in finding your True Self, you will have found an absolute reference point that is both utterly within you and utterly beyond you at the very same time…”

  • The alternative to your False Self

“I promise you that the discovery of your True Self will feel like a thousand pounds of weight have fallen from your back.  You will no longer have to build, protect, or promote any idealized self image.  Living in the True Self is quite simply a much happier existence, even though we never live there a full twenty-four hours a day.  But you henceforth have it as a place to go back to.  You have finally discovered the alternative to your False Self…”

  • Settle into any “successful” role

“Our ongoing curiosity about our True Self seems to lesson if we settle into any ‘successful’ role.  We have then allowed others to define us from the outside, although we do not realize it.  Or perhaps we dress ourselves up on the outside and never get back inside…”

  • The name we have always had

“Life is not a matter of creating a special name for ourselves, but of uncovering the name we have always had…”

  • To see what is – as it is

“The soul has no agenda whatsoever except to see what is – as it is – and let it teach you…”

  • What makes you, you

“Your True Self is what makes you, you…”

  • We cannot imagine this False Self not being true

“Most of humanity is so enchanted with its False (concocted) Self that it has largely doubted and rejected – or never known – its True Self.  And so it lives in anxiety and insecurity.  We have put so much time into creating it that we cannot imagine this False Self not being true or not being ‘me’…”

  • It will feel like freedom and liberation

“When you are able to move beyond your False Self – at the right time and in the right way – it will feel precisely as if you lost nothing.  In fact, it will feel like freedom and liberation.  When you are connected to the Whole, you no longer need to protect or defend the mere part.  You are now connected to something inexhaustible.”

  • Our False Self does not let go easily

“Our False Self does not let go easily.  But that doesn’t mean the False Self should be attacked or eliminated.  In time, it will reveal itself for the false wizard that it is.  If you go after it directly, it will only disguise itself further, while you in the meantime get to feel quite virtuous…”

  • The separate self is the False Self

“The separate self is the False Self, and the False Self thus needs to overdefine itself as unique, special, superior, and adequate…”

  • The True Self sees everything in wholes

“The True Self sees everything in wholes and therefore in contrast to the way the world sees things, which now appears upside down to them.  The False Self sees everything in parts and hierarchies and in reference to itself, which is not to see very well at all.”

  • A largely mental and cultural construct

“Your False Self is not bad or wrong; it is just mortal.  It is relative and not absolute.  It is passing and not substantial, a largely mental and cultural construct.  It will die when you die…”

  • Without meaning

“Without meaning we are surely less than human and deeply discontented…”

  • The home for our greatest hopes

“Our hurts now become the home for our greatest hopes.  Without such implanted hope, it is very hard not to be cynical, bitter, and tired by the second half of life.”

  • The good, the true, and the beautiful

“The good, the true, and the beautiful are always their own best argument for themselves – by themselves – and in themselves.  Such beauty, or inner coherence, is a deep inner knowing that both evokes the soul and pulls the soul into its oneness.  Incarnation is beauty, and beauty always needs to be incarnate.  Anything downright ‘good,’ anything that shakes you with its ‘trueness,’ and anything that sucks you into its beauty does not just educate you; it transforms you.”

  • The same longing

“Longing for God and longing for our True Self are the same longing…”

  • Our True Self remains untouched

“Our True Self remains untouched for most of us…”

  • Various forms of immediate gratification

“The False Self has no substance, no permanence, no vitality, only various forms of immediate gratification…”

  • Do not fear, attack, or hate the False Self

“Remember, please remember, you do not (you must not!) fear, attack, or hate the False Self.  That would only continue a negative and arrogant death energy, and it is delusional and counterproductive anyway…  In the great economy of grace, all is used and transformed, and nothing is wasted.  God uses your various False Selves to lead you beyond them.”

  • No hatred or violence in God

“There is no hatred or violence in God…”

  • The True Self is a shared and sharable self

“The True Self is a shared and sharable self, or it is not the True Self…”

  • Pain transformed is no longer pain transmitted

“Remember that resurrection is not woundedness denied, forgotten, or even totally healed.  It is always woundedness transformed.  You still carry your scars forever, as both message and trophy.  They still ‘hurt’ in a way, which keeps you mindful and humble, but they no longer allow you to hurt other people.  Pain transformed is no longer pain transmitted.” 

  • People who risk intimacy

“…people who risk intimacy are invariably happier and much more real people…”

  • Your True Self is who are, and always have been

“Your True Self is who you are, and always have been in God, and at its core, it is love itself.  Love is both who you are and who you are becoming, like a sunflower seed that becomes its own sunflower…”

  • The very failures and radical insufficiency of our lives

“…the very failures and radical insufficiency of our lives are what lead us into larger life and love…”

  • This strong diamond of love

“For the True Self, there is nothing to hate, reject, deny, or judge as unworthy or unnecessary…  The detours of the False Self were all just delaying tactics, bumps in the road, pressure points that created something new in the long run, as pressure does to carbon deep beneath the earth.  God uses everything to construct this hard and immortal diamond, our core of love.  And diamonds, they say, are the hardest substance on this earth.  It is this strong diamond of love that will always be stronger than death.”

Do you feel like you have experienced living in your True Self lately?

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