You may have heard spiritual writers speak of “the false self” – the part of us that we tend to live out of in order to hold onto the things we feel so deeply we need. Fr. Thomas Keating says these “needs” we meet through the false self are: power/control, security/survival, and esteem/affection. Most (or all) of us have some experience from when we were young that threatened one of these. Perhaps we came to believe we had to be a certain way to receive love, or to be admired, in control, or safe. Over the years, these things become deep parts of how we operate. Our personality itself usually has some connection to the false self’s protectiveness (and, at the same time, has beautiful connections to our true self!). One of our “jobs” in life is to let go of some of our false self’s “programs for happiness” (as Fr. Keating calls them), to let go of the protective layers there, and let our true selves emerge. Our true selves are the ones that live fully alive, courageous, loving, bearing the gifts of God/being-human to the world around us. These are not things we can conjure up. They show up when we let ourselves be vulnerable, present, seen in all the truth of who we are – the good, the bad, the ugly…and the oh-so-beautiful. *This* is the way of interior freedom – the way of living that lets us respond truly, vulnerably to God in each moment…even when it threatens one of our deeply-held false-self values. We can finally, FREELY say the “yes” we have wanted to, but found ourselves “stuck” in whatever way. Which of these false-self-needs do you identify with most deeply? Are you driven by a need for safety? Control? Affection? (Of course, we all need all of these, but usually there is one we are more “attached to” than the others.) Are you aware of how your personality and life story revolve around them? What does it feel like to become aware of them? If guilt or shame come up, can you let those go, too, and just be-with God in the awareness of what drives you?

Posted by Jamie Bonilla at 2021-10-14 14:28:49 UTC