Thursday, 28 May 2009

Richard Rohr : The True Self

The true self can never be hurt, nor has ever been hurt. The only pain it suffers is longing for God and absence from God. It is only the false self that suffers and takes offence, and hopefully those sufferings lead you to collapse into the True Self. The false self is necessarily insecure and always hurt.

The True Self is indestructible and cannot be offended. The True Self does not stand around waiting for you to like it before it can like itself. It doesn’t wait for accolades or external successes before it can believe in itself. It quietly knows.

G. K. Chesterton spoke of the “mystical minimum,” which he defined as gratitude. When we stand in the immense abundance of the True Self, there is not time or space for being hurt. We are always secure and at rest, and foundationally grateful. Saint Ignatius said that it would take him 25 minutes to get over the pain if the pope condemned his Society of Jesus ! That is abundant, grateful Self speaking. The false self does not even understand such silliness.

The grateful response of what is given - seeing the cup half full - requires seeing with a completely different set of eyes than the eyes that always see the cup half empty. I don’t think it’s oversimplification to say that people basically live either in an attitude of gratitude or an overall attitude of resentment. The mystical minimum is gratitude:

Everything that is given, that you are breathing today, is pure gift. None of us have earned it, none of us have a right to it. All we can do is kneel and kiss some ground – somewhere, anywhere, everywhere.

Richard Rohr : Hope Against DarknessThe Transforming Vision of Saint Francis in an Age of Anxiety. Pg 156/7

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