Sunday, 23 February 2014

Our struggle with the False and True Self

To understand the struggle between the False and True Self, as an option, was most certainly not always obvious in my life of seventy plus years.   In fact, it is relatively new to me. And I am only slowly beginning to grasp its full significance.  For one thing it revealed the hazard(s) of thinking ‘I’m a victim’ with the entitlement of self pity, and the assumption that I am not responsible for my miserable addiction or condition, etc.? Dr. David Hawkins has said "there is a secret payoff and satisfaction in being the victim, martyr, or loser." Seeing myself in that Light I can now better understand the words from Fr. Anthony de Mello when he states: 

Nothing surpasses the [prayers] of those who have learned perfect acceptance of everything that is. In the game of cards called life one plays the hand one is dealt to the best of one's ability.  Those who insist on playing not the hand they were given, but the one they insist they should have been dealt— these are life's failures. We are not asked if we will play. That is not an option. Play we must. The option is how.”

While these may sound like harsh words, they immediately recognize our daily struggle with the alter ego.  Nothing easy about that kind of prayer, but doesn’t it bring us toward the ‘Right Relationship With Life Itself’?[1]      
At the same time it is wonderfully balanced by yet another meditation from de Mello, entitled ‘DON'T CHANGE’, as follows:

I was a neurotic for years. I was anxious and depressed and selfish. Everyone kept telling me to change. I resented them, and I agreed with them, and I wanted to change, but simply couldn't, no matter how hard I tried. What hurt the most was that, like the others, my best friend kept insisting that I change. So I felt powerless and trapped. Then, one day, he said to me. 'Don't change. I love you just as you are."  Those words were music to my ears: "Don’t change. Don't change. Don't change. . . . . . .I love you as you are." I relaxed.  I came alive. And suddenly I changed!  Now I know that I couldn't really change until I found someone who would love me whether I changed or not.

 Is this how you love me, God?” 

Finally, it is the question in the last line “Is this how you love me, God?” that reveals to me the way in which ‘God gives us more power than answers’[2].  I know, but yet I don’t know.  Therein, I can now place my total trust.

Note: Both of the above meditations from Fr. Anthony de Mello, are from his book The Song of the Bird, (1984).

[1] Richard Rohr, Breathing Under Water, Franciscan Media, p. 61
[2] Richard Rohr, Breathing Under Water, Franciscan Media, p. 64

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