Culture of Imagination

connecting spirituality to everyday life

Tag: true self

Nothing Is Missing

Doria_010H-90X60-copy_670It has been about one month since I did a retreat with Gravity, a center for contemplative activism, in which we spent 40 hours in silence over the course of a weekend. During the retreat it was communicated that the fruits and gifts of the silence will not be seen in the midst of the practice, but will be reveled in your active life in the world. It is through the ordinary moments of everyday life that we will have epiphanies that move our souls to deeper levels of our true self. This is beautiful and painful, but necessary.

  • Deeper levels of paradox, mystery, listening, and compassion

So over the past month, I am having an awakening that is so good for me. It is moving me into deeper levels of paradox, mystery, listening, and compassion. I have always looked at life through what is missing. It is the filter and the lie that I have protected myself with for so long.

  • A different question

When I am constantly looking at what is missing in life this causes me suffering, misery, melancholy, hopelessness, and leaves me unaware of my true self. I lose a sense that the deepest ground of my being is love. So I recently started to wonder about a different question because living through what is missing is so exhausting and depleting to who I am. Why have I believed in this illusion for so long?

  • What if nothing is missing?

I don’t know for sure, but I am understanding that it is so easy, comfortable, and what I have done most of my life. But recently I started to wonder, what if nothing is missing? What if nothing is missing in my relationships, in myself, in the world, in community? My intellect cannot understand this and shouts at me it is not true, don’t believe in it, there is too much pain in yourself and the world for it to be true.

  • Resonating so deeply

My thoughts and feelings are always trying to tell me that there is too much pain in me to believe, embody, and embrace the mystery that nothing is missing. How can I believe nothing is missing, it is ridiculous, unfamiliar, and backwards? I don’t know what that means. But my body is resonating so deeply with this deeper truth.

  • Peaceful, restful, and calming

It is peaceful, restful, and calming to hold within my body the truth that nothing is missing. This is a paradox that I cannot understand, but desire to embody. This is the mystery I am being called into in my everyday life in the present moment.

  • Nothing is missing in my pain

Nothing is missing in my pain. Nothing is missing is my loneliness. Nothing is missing in my context where I live.

  • Nothing is missing in my tears

Nothing is missing in my tears. Nothing is missing in my loss and grief. Nothing is missing in myself. Nothing is missing in the world.

  • Letting go of my false self

If I believe that nothing is missing how will my life be transformed? Do I really want to let go of my false self that says to me constantly everything is missing? But I am starting to feel some sense of joy and happiness in my body when I hold the mantra that nothing is missing. I am starting to love myself and others more deeply through this new paradigm of my true self that is telling me nothing is missing.

  • Want to openly embrace

This is so liberating because I am able to have space for gratitude instead of complaining. I am able to have space in myself to see the beauty around me and within me. I am able to make space for cultivating happiness instead of misery. I am able to start on my path of making sense of finding joy in the darkness which I am so unfamiliar with, but want to openly embrace.

How can we embody nothing is missing in life?

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

Does God Care If We “Go to Church” or Not?

images (42)As Easter is here this week, I get sick of hearing about “going to church.” I am more interested in being the church together with others in everyday life. Community has been hijacked by the concept of “going to church.” In my opinion, church makes us dead, zombie-like bystanders who worship the status quo.

  • Do something that will help us to discover our true self

I have no interest in becoming a person who can’t evolve, think for themselves, and live into the mysterious paradoxes of life. For the sake of authenticity, please don’t go to church. Maybe Jesus is calling us to stop “going to church” and instead do something that will help us to discover our true self, our authentic self. The idea of “going to church” has become something we use to keep us from focusing on our responsibility to engage the world with justice, community, love, solidarity, compassion, risk, forgiveness, vulnerability, and honesty.

  • Be the church together

What can you do to be the church and stop going to church? Community, sharing life together in a particular place in everyday life, is one of the most overlooked things in the twenty-first century. It is so simply yet almost impossible in our hyper-mobile culture. Our intentionality is gone so we are left with the idea of “going to church.”

  • Very little local culture today

There is very little local culture today. Almost everything is taken over by corporations who franchise everything for our consumption. Let’s stop consuming religion and start loving our neighbors together as we love ourselves. Do we even love ourselves anymore? Maybe that is why we have a hard time loving our neighbors.

  • Missing the point of life

I don’t think that God cares if we “go to church” or not. What God cares about is if we live into our true selves and embody a lifestyle of love and compassion in the world. Nothing else matters. Without love, you can “go to church” all you want and completely miss the point of life.

  • Totally neglect the interior life

So many people “go to church” and totally neglect their interior life, their true self, their authenticity, a way of love in the world. But instead become arrogant, judgmental, and mean in the name of their God who is supposed to be love. It is all weird to me. Without love, everything will be weird (there is no shock there).

  • Church in North America is a joke

Embodiment1To me, the systems of what we have created as the church in North America is a joke. I can’t take it seriously. There is almost no contemplative dimension to help us to listen deeper and discover our true selves as well as community together because proximity is something very few people like to talk about or practice. But how can we love our neighbors as ourselves when we do not live in proximity in everyday life?

  • Take care of yourself

So this Easter, do yourself a favor and don’t “go to church.” Do something more worthwhile for your soul, to take care of yourself. Maybe that is what God is leading you to. What a heretical thought!

But maybe we need more heretics who aren’t afraid to give up the status quo and “stop going to church” to discover something more authentic.

How can you take care of yourself?

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

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?

51DJfJVBpBL (1)

Condemning the True Self and Becoming a Pharisee

Black-and-white-mask

I am learning to take responsibility for my own feelings in life.  Most of the time negative emotions are shunned and looked at like they are bad, but I don’t buy it anymore.  The church wants people to be happy, put a smile on your face and pretend everything is okay when maybe it isn’t.  Maybe I feel unhappy about the lack of authenticity, honesty, vulnerability and truthfulness I sense around me sometimes.

We seem to use God for our own agendas.  I feel sad.  My sadness is revealing to me how I have a need of connecting with others authentically which is not always being met.  So my lamentation is teaching me to reimagine a way to connect with others that is healthy, life-giving and inspiring.

  • Taking responsibility for myself

I have not been taught how to take responsibility for myself.  I have not been taught to feel my feelings, especially if they are of the negative sort.  Sometimes I feel so much anger, depression, insecurity, irritability and sadness that I don’t know what to do.

“We may have been taught to be responsible for other people,” says Melody Beattie, “but not responsible for ourselves…”

  • Sad, difficult and frustrating

Being responsible for myself is hard.  I want to control others so much sometimes that I don’t know how to be responsible for myself.  I get lost many times as I do this kind of stuff in everyday life.  It is sad and difficult and frustrating.

  • I struggle to believe in a God who is love

I want to accept myself so I can be happier in life.  Loving myself is so important for me as I didn’t received a lot of love when I was younger.  I struggle to believe in a God who is love.  But I know there is some reality to love in the world.  This is one thing I can hold onto in the midst of my confusion and struggle.

  • Accepting ourselves

Amy Hollingsworth writes, “…if we accept ourselves we are better equipped to accept our neighbor.  So accepting ourselves is always the starting point to something greater – a deeper maturity,… and ultimately, a greater acceptance and understanding of our neighbor…  How we see ourselves affects how we see others.”

  • Allowing my life to be broken open to compassion, love and grace

In the midst of it all I am allowing my life to break me open to compassion, love and grace.  I do not want to respond to my life with hatred, apathy, fear, cynicism, hopelessness and isolation toward the world I find myself in.  This is bull shit and pulls me away from my true self – which is authentic, honest, compassionate, embodies humility and love instead of arrogance.

  • Each of us has a choice

Erin S. Lane states, “Each of us has a choice in how we will respond to our heartbreak.  We can either let it take us out of the action in favor of a simpler life where we belong without question or question without belonging, or we can let it lead us into more of a vibrant life in which the contradictions of our faith open us to the death of illusions, the suffering of community and the resurrection of our real selves…” 

  • The death of illusions

These death of illusions in me are difficult and most of the time I don’t think I can take it anymore.  But they are necessary in me.  My true self cannot come to life without this death of what is made up of illusions.  The resurrection of my true self, the real self that I am is powerful and mysterious.

  • The true self made up of what is authentic

This is God’s gift to humanity, the true self made up of what is authentic within us.  The true self is the greatest hope for the twenty-first century world we live in.  The church tries to keep it down, condemn it as a heretic, bury it, conceal it, deny it, but God is leading us into the unknown authenticity of the true self.

  • The true self is the foundation of community

Any form of community can only be cultivated by those connected with the true self within us.  The true self is the foundation of community and all authentic expressions of love.  Without it we become Pharisees – the religious ones who Jesus constantly confronted because of their lack of love in the name of God.

Have we experienced our true self in life?

http://www.amazon.com/Communal-Imagination-Finding-Share-Together/dp/1495487423/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1433015858&sr=8-1&keywords=the+communal+imagination

Becoming Self-Aware in Everyday Life

self-awareness-involution-e1423001276760

Sometimes I resist self-awareness.  I go through life blind to what is really going on within me.  When I do this it is extremely unhealthy because I end up isolated from my authentic path.

  •  The illusions of the false self

Authenticity is harder to find when I am not self-aware.  My true self is buried within me over all the illusions of the false self that I have created.  The false self is what my ego gravitates toward, but it is not who I am at the core of my being.

  •  Self-awareness and authenticity

I cry out to experience some liberation from my false self to have an understanding of my true self, created in the image of God.  When I am self-aware, I truly live my life from what is authentic to me.  This is my freedom as I live deeply into my body in the place I live.

  •  Confusing, difficult and impossible at times

I have been on a path to understanding myself for the past two decades.  It all started back in the early 90’s.  It has felt confusing, difficult and impossible at times.  I have recognized that my own humanity is very complex and has very deep levels that I do not always fully understand.

I crave food, sleep, sex, comfort, rest, companionship with others, rhythms, integration, mission, learning, thinking, contemplating, silence, meaningful work, healing from pain, freedom from anger, the disappearance of sadness, looking good, cleanliness, exercise, leisure, celebration, touch, affirmation, happiness, money, possessions and fun experiences.

  •  Listening in silence and solitude

In the midst of sorting out what is a healthy expression of my humanity, I have had to cultivate a practice of listening in silence and solitude.  There are boundaries, liberties and limitation to all the things I experience within myself.

  •  Lifelong process

My silence and solitude has helped me to discern what is going on inside of me.  I ask the hard questions within myself constantly to try to understand myself.  I have gotten much better at this over the years, but it is a lifelong process of working out my identity in the parish.

  •  Without deepening your own self-understanding, freedom, integrity and capacity to love

Thomas Merton writes in his book Contemplation in a World of Action, “He who attempts to act and do things for others or for the world without deepening his own self-understanding, freedom, integrity and capacity to love will not have anything to give others.  He will communicate to them nothing but the contagion of his own obsessions, his aggressiveness, his ego-centered ambitions, his delusions about ends and means, his doctrinaire prejudices and ideas…”

  •  So important to becoming our true self

Understanding ourselves is so important to becoming our true self.  Understanding ourselves is a connection point in our relational context.  The more we understand ourselves, the more ability we will have to live relationally in our local community.  When we are on the path of self-understanding, we will start to experience our spirituality more holistically.

  •  Our awareness becomes alive and free

Our awareness becomes alive and free within the mystical imagination.  Our awareness leads us deeper into ourselves and the place we inhabit together.  Silence and solitude creates this self-understanding, this awareness.

  •  Becoming whole and connected

Phileena Heuertz says in her wonderful book Pilgrimage of a Soul, “Self-Awareness is central to becoming whole and connected…”  

What is something you practice to become self-aware in everyday life?

http://www.amazon.com/Communal-Imagination-Finding-Share-Together/dp/1495487423/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1426621050&sr=8-1&keywords=the+communal+imagination

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?

http://www.amazon.com/Immortal-Diamond-Search-True-Self/dp/1118303598/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1424231122&sr=8-1&keywords=immortal+diamond

http://www.amazon.com/Communal-Imagination-Finding-Share-Together/dp/1495487423/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1424231414&sr=8-1&keywords=the+communal+imagination+finding+a+way+to+share+life+together

9 Ways to Discover Your True Self

true_self__under_black_light__by_nicostars-d5exrju

1. Give up on finding our identity in what we have, what we do, and what others think of us

Basil Pennington writes, “In our old consciousness, where we identified ourselves as that false self made up of what we have, what we do, and what others think of us, we were in a state of constant and complete self-alienation.  We were not at home with ourselves at all.  As we turn within and begin to know our true self, this split begins to be healed.  We are coming home.  Yet the split is totally healed only when we are ourselves in pure consciousness and no longer see ourselves as an object apart from the knowing subject.  This self-knowledge comes to fullness when we experience ourselves as one with God in God and God is known in pure consciousness rather than by some subject-object knowledge…”

2. Develop a contemplative spirituality of awareness

Our contemplation brings awareness of our union with God.  The true self lives in union with God.  The true self is not separated from God.

3. Embrace the life of God within

The true self embraces the life of God within.  The true self lives out of this life.  The mystical imagination lives in union with God in the parish.

4. Embrace your own uniqueness as created in the image of God

James Martin says in his book Becoming Who You Are, “Everyone’s true self is a unique creation of God’s, and the way to sanctity is to become the unique self that God wishes us to be.” 

5. Give up on copying other people and be who you are

Our true self is unique.  No one can copy the true self.  We are each created to be someone different from anyone else in the world.

6. Become a shaper of beauty

We do not need to conform to our cultural Christianity anymore.  We need to live into our uniqueness.  If we were all our true selves, the body of Christ would be a shaper of beauty in the place we inhabit together.

7. Stop going to church and be the church in a particular place

The false self destroys the body of Christ.  The false self wants us to go to church instead of be the church together in a particular place.  The way of discipleship is the discovery of our true self.  The way of discipline is to discover our true self.

8. Live in your body to become an expression of love in the world

The way of sanity is to discover our true self as the body of Christ in everyday life.  The true self is the essence of holiness.  The true self is how we become expressions of love in the world.  The true self is how we live in our bodies in the parish.

9. Do not be afraid to listen deeply to a countercultural experience within

Alice Fryling notes, “Listening to the true self may be a countercultural experience.”    

In what ways have you discovered your true self?

http://www.amazon.com/The-Communal-Imagination-Finding-Together/dp/1495487423/ref=tmm_pap_title_0?ie=UTF8&qid=1414507782&sr=8-1

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

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  • Allowing others to define us

1. “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…”

  • Defining ourselves outside of love, relationship, or divine union

2. “Your False Self is how you define yourself outside of love, relationship, or divine union.  After you have spent many years laboriously building this separate self, with all its labels and preoccupations, you are very attached to it.  And why wouldn’t you be?  It’s what you know and all you know.  To move beyond it will always feel like losing or dying…”

  • Longing for God and longing for the True Self are the same longing

3. “Longing for God and longing for our True Self are the same longing.  And the mystics would say that it is God who is even doing the longing in us and through us…”

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

4. “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…”

  • Your True Self is who you are

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

  • Natural at detachment and nonaddiction

6. “Once your soul comes to its True Self, it can amazingly let go and be almost anything except selfish or separate.  It can also not be anything that you need it to be or others want it to be.  The soul is a natural at detachment and nonaddiction.  It does not cling or grasp.  It has already achieved its purpose in pure being more than any specific doing of this or that…  Soulful people, invariably humble and honest about themselves, are also risk takers…  The True Self neither postures nor pretends…”

  • The separate self is the False Self

7. “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

8. “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.”

  • Doing the work of growing up

9. “We do not really find the immortal diamond of the True Self.  It gradually appears as we do the work of growing up…”

  • To see what is and let it teach you 

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

What has been your journey of discovering the true self within you?

http://www.amazon.com/Immortal-Diamond-Search-True-Self/dp/1118303598/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1413895925&sr=8-1&keywords=immortal+diamond

http://www.amazon.com/Communal-Imagination-Finding-Share-Together/dp/1495487423/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1413895740&sr=1-1&keywords=the+communal+imagination

Book Review – When the Heart Waits: Spiritual Direction for Life’s Sacred Questions by Sue Monk Kidd

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I love this book!  Sue Monk Kidd describes her spiritual crises in life where she entered into a deeper transformation of growth through discovering her true self.  Sometimes it is frightening to enter into our questions that might disrupt what we think life is about.  But this is what this book is about, dismantling the false self to uncover what is much more authentic in ourselves.

  • The journey from false self to true self

“Am I being asked to enter a new passage in the spiritual life – the journey from false self to true self?  Am I being asked to dismantle old masks and patterns and unfold a deeper, more authentic self – the one God created me to be?  Am I being compelled to disturb my inner universe in quest of the undiscovered being who clamors from within?”

I find that new stages of growth are difficult to face, but are so essential.  My false self is comfortable, familiar and is much more acceptable.  The true self is mysterious, authentic and compassionate.  When I am grounded in my true self I am living with a deeper sense of peace within.

  • Waiting is the rawest kind of agony

“Waiting seemed the rawest kind of agony, I wanted God to simply whisk away the masks I had spent most of my life fashioning, to hoist up from my repressed well the lost and neglected parts of myself, to solve my problems, heal my wounds, and alleviate the inexplicable sense of discontent and pain I was feeling.  And mind you, I wanted all of this now, immediately, or at the very least soon.”

Waiting is so difficult to embody in a hurried, immediate gratification society.  I identify with Sue Monk Kidd’s struggle and agony in waiting.  This is not taught to us in our culture and can be hard to learn.  Sometimes the pain is too much.

  • A spiraling journey that we undertake throughout life

“The life of the soul evolves and grows…  The process isn’t a one-time experience but a spiraling journey that we undertake throughout life…”

The life in our soul is a continual process of growth throughout our entire lives.  It is an unpredictable journey of waiting, risk, embodiment, experimentation and trust.  This is not a one time thing, but a lifelong embodiment.

  • Living with questions

“I lived with questions about who I had been and who I was becoming, and about whether the growth was worth the pain, risk, and upheaval.  I lived with questions about how to adopt parts of myself that I had orphaned, how to heal old wounds, how to relate to an expanding vision of God and the world.”

This book encouraged me not to be afraid of my questions.  I need to live these, be okay with the tensions, the uncertainty and move into them without fear.  The questions will help me to uncover my true self.

  • Spiritual growth has no boundaries

“Spiritual growth has no boundaries.  My journey would spiral on, for there were wingless places in me – life and soul still unborn.”

There are parts of me that are still unborn, yet to be discovered.  This is exciting and frightening!  My life is calling me to let these unborn places within find a sense of expression, embodiment and freedom to live.

What keeps you from discovering your true self?

http://www.amazon.com/When-Heart-Waits-Spiritual-Direction/dp/0061144894/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1411744402&sr=8-1&keywords=when+the+heart+waits

http://www.amazon.com/dp/1495487423/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1411744497&sr=8-1&keywords=the+communal+imagination

Calling the True Self to Come Alive

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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?