The Spiritual Journey In A Nutshell

Richard Rohr's Daily Meditation

I Am Who I Am

Sunday, December 14, 2014
Feast of St. John of the Cross

The Spiritual Journey in a Nutshell
Throughout this year of Daily Meditations we have been basically following the stages of spiritual development. (St. John of the Cross, whose feast day it is, charted this journey much better than I ever can!) We begin with the original blessing of being created in the image and likeness of God (Genesis 1:26) who is Love (1 John 4:8). But early in life we seem to forget our origin and who we really are. We leave our original innocence and the proverbial Garden to begin the task of the first half of life, which involves building a container, a False Self, and an ego. Dualistic thinking takes over, especially in the Western world, as education emphasizes the left side of the brain, competition, and success. Boundaries, group-think, and exclusion thrive. The shadow self hides whatever is considered unacceptable. Even our True Self becomes hidden beneath the False Self we have constructed to meet our needs for security, control, and esteem. The goal is personal individuation, and the emphasis is on the individual, and his or her positive self-image. This is fine as far as it goes, which is not very far, I am afraid; but it is all that a secular culture knows.

God goal is always union. God comes disguised as our life, as Paula Darcy puts it. Life lived fully and honestly inevitably involves both joy and suffering, a path of descent, doubt, and lots of little deaths that teach us to let go of our False Self and to live in the simple joy of divine union which is exactly the passion and desire of the True Self. Our carefully constructed ego container must gradually crack open, as we realize that we are not separate from God, from others, or from our true selves. Now the ego is seen for the partial but limiting gift that it is. Now it is ready to become the servant of the soul, and is even willing to die for the sake of the Spirit.

We now know that God is in us and we are in God. Through grace, contemplation, and experiencing our experiences, our consciousness is transformed. We overcome the splits created in the first half of life.

Now we are capable of non-dual thinking and we can forgive and accept our imperfections and those of others. We no longer have anything to prove or protect, so we can let go and surrender to Reality/God, which are now experienced as the same thing. As St. Francis said, I am who I am in the eyes of God nothing more and nothing less. We may appear foolish, or even naive, to those at earlier levels of development, but we are finally free and alive. This is the second naivete, our return to an almost childlike simplicity and serenity. It is the primary goal and purpose of our maturing years.

Gateway to Silence:

I am who I am in the eyes of God, nothing more and nothing less.

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