Immortal Diamond – What is the False Self?, pt.1

This week we will be discussing Chapter 2 “What is ‘The False Self’?” in Richard Rohr’s book Immortal Diamond: The Search for Our True Self.  Rohr begins the chapter by stating that “Your False Self is not your bad self, your clever or inherently deceitful self, the self that God does not like or should not like.” p.27.  Rather the false self is the “trappings of the ego that we all use to get us through an ordinary day.” p.28. It is “your body image, your job, your education, your clothes, your money, your car, your sexual identity, your success, and so on.”  I see the small self as the identifying characteristics you share when meeting someone for the first time.  For Tuesday, think about how you would describe yourself to someone you just met. This is the false self which both gives us our identity, but to which we are called to die. Matt. 16:24-28.

On pages 30-36, Rohr talks about the difference between the false and true self in the areas of therapy and spiritual direction. Rohr points out that therapy is geared toward the false self, and helping the false self or the ego get along in the world.  In many ways, it is about self-actualization – being the best you can be, doing whatever brings you contentment and whatever works for you.  On the other hand, spiritual direction is about the true and metaphysical self.  Our story as Christians is not to be a better version of our (false) self (this was the teaching of the Pharisees), but to be transformed and changed into something new. Our promise is not “new software” but a “new motherboard.” p.35. 

On pages 39-43, Rohr writes about the diversionary tactics that religion uses to avoid the death of the false self.  Too often, religion teaches us to be moralistic and sacrificial because we see this as pleasing to God. This type of religious observance, Rohr points out, leads to a sense of entitlement and resentment. This is the point Jesus makes in the Parable of the Pharisee and the Publican. Luke 18:9-14. What God wants is not sacrifice which feeds the Pharisee’s ego, but only the mercy requested of the Publican. Matt. 9:13.   

Dinner is at 6. The menu is Shepherd’s Pie. Discussion about 6:45. Hope to see you here. Please bring a friend.

The sins of the flesh are usually not sins of malice but of weakness, whereas the sins of the spirit proceed from a cold heart, a superior and separate False Self, and thus a denied soul.

Immortal Diamond, p.42

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