Embracing our true self Lose yourself in Me Lose yourself in Me And you will find yourself.

Lose yourself in Me And you will find new life. Lose yourself in Me And you will find yourself And you will live, yes You will live in my love. Unless a grain of wheat Falls into the ground It still remains but a grain of wheat But if it falls and dies Then it bears much fruit So it is with those Who lose themselves in Me. Lose yourself in Me And you will find yourself. Lose yourself in Me And you will find new life. Lose yourself in Me And you will find yourself And you will live, yes You will live in my love.

Embracing our true self | First session A. Quotes from great thinkers Pg 1

B. Identities and their constructions | Second session A. Self as object Pg 6 B. Self as subject | Third session A. Guided meditation Pg 9 B. Characteristics of the true self Recognizing our false self | First session A. Understanding our inner demons Pg 12 B. Process of identification | Second session A. Renewing your mind Pg 16 B. False self in relation to sin C. Transcending the false self

First Session

Story : From a Chicken to an Eagle A naturalist was visiting a farmer one day and was surprised to see a beautiful eagle in the farmer’s chicken coop. "Why in the world, asked the naturalist, have you got this eagle living in with the chickens?" "Well, answered the farmer, I found him when he was little and raised him in there with the chickens. He doesn’t know any better, he thinks he is a chicken." The naturalist was dumbfounded. The eagle was pecking the grain and drinking from the watering can. The eagle kept his eyes on the ground and strutted around in circles, looking every inch a big, over-sized chicken. "Doesn’t he ever try to spread his wings and fly out of there?" asked the naturalist. "No, said the farmer, and I doubt he ever will, he doesn’t know what it means to fly." "Well, said the naturalist, "let me take him out and do a few experiments with him." The farmer agrees, but assured the naturalist that he was wasting his time. The naturalist lifted the bird to the top of the chicken coop fence and said "Fly!" He pushed the reluctant bird off the fence and it fell to the ground in a pile of dusty feathers. Next, the undaunted researcher took the ruffled chicken/eagle to the farmer’s hay loft and spread it’s wings before tossing it

high in the air with the command "FLY!" The frightened bird shrieked and fell ungraciously to the barn-yard where it resumed pecking the ground in search of it’s dinner. The naturalist again picked up the eagle and decided to give it one more chance in a more appropriate environment, away from the bad examples of chicken lifestyle. He set the docile bird on the front seat of his pickup truck next to him and headed for the highest butte in the country. After a lengthy and sweaty climb to the crest of the butte with the bird tucked under his arm, he spoke gently to the goldenbird. "Friend, he said, you were born to soar. It is better that you die here today on the rocks below than live the rest of your life being a chicken in a pen, gawked at and out of your element." Having said these final words, he lifted the eagle up and once more commanded it to "FLY!" He tossed it out in space and this time, much to his relief, it opened it’s seven-foot wingspan and flew gracefully into the sky. It slowly climbed in ever higher spirals, riding unseen thermals of hot air until it disappeared into the glare of the morning sun. The naturalist smiled and thought how happy he was with his days work. Like the eagle, he had for many years, let other people define his worth and direct his life for him. Like the eagle, it had taken a life and death situation for him to realize his self worth and real calling in life. It took courage to change occupations in mid-life and face the disappointments of those who believed he couldn’t possibly leave his accounting firm and be successful in the physically challenging occupation of a park ranger. But, just like the eagle, he had risen out of the abyss of self-doubt and stretched his soul toward new horizons. "Actually, mused the naturalist, I never doubted that beautiful bird - If I could do it, I knew he could too!" The moral of the story, of course, is to not let other people define our selfworth or keep us under their limiting and oppressive influence. -Anonymously written. What we are depends on what we believe to be true about ourself. That is the very first spiritual axiom, "As a man believes, so it is for him." There are two ways of looking at oneself, (1) through the eyes of a chicken, or (2) through the eyes of an eagle. The way we relate to ourselves, those around us and the world, is determined by what we accept to be true. "Christ could be born a thousand times in Galilee - but all in vain until He is born in me." - by Angelus Silesius (a 17th century mystic) Gnothi Seauton – Know Thyself These words were inscribed above the entrance to the temple of Apollo at Delphi, site of the sacred Oracle. What those words imply is this: Before you ask any other question, first ask the most fundamental question of your life: Who am I? Your sense of who you are determines how you see the world. It is like the lens we wear. If we wear red lens we see everything red.

A. Quotes from great thinkers

"‘Who am I’? is the ultimate question to which everybody must find an answer." - Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj "Without first knowing yourself, how can you know what is true? Illusion is inevitable without self-knowledge." - J. Krishnamurti, Commentaries on Living – First Series, p 13 "We labour unceasingly to preserve an imaginary existence and neglect the real." - Blaise Pascal "The reason human civili-zation is tired, depressed, unimaginative in dealing with unemployment, pollution, youth despair, injustice, and inequality is that we ‘do not even know who we are,’ as Hildegard puts it." - Matthew Fox, The Coming of the Cosmic Christ, p 43 "Until we find ourselves, God remains remote, a shadowy figure, to some unimportant, to others terrifying." - Gerard W. Hughes, God of Surprises, p 10 "Lord, may I know myself in order that I might know you." - St. Augustine "…because of consciousness man both knows himself and knows God, and because man knows God only in so much as he knows himself, the greater the degree of selfknowledge, the greater the degree of divine knowledge – or rather, knowledge of the divine." - Bernadette Roberts, What is Self? A Study of the Spiritual Journey in Terms of Consciousness, p 153 "He who knows himself knows God." - St. Clement "For me to become a saint means to be myself. Therefore the problem of sanctity and salvation is in fact the problem of finding out who I am and of discovering my true self." - Thomas Merton

B. Identities and their constructions

"Identities refer to the way we defines oneself in relation to the other, and in the process one constructs ‘boundaries’". - George Pattery, Doing Things Differently: South Asia and GC 35 in Review of Ignatian Spirituality no. 113, p 77

I am… I am… | Name: | Name: | Race: | Race: | Citizenship: | Citizenship: | Achievements: | Achievements: | Religion: | Religion: | Profession: | Profession: | Title: | Titles: | Hobby/Interest: | Hobby/Interest: | Health: | Health: | Physique: | Physique: | Colour: | Colour: a lover of God a bringer of light. a Chinese. an Indian a Malaysian. a Singaporean

a 12As student. a champion. a Christian. a Buddhist. a teacher. a lawyer. a CEO. a President. a stamp collector. a bird-watcher. a diabetic. a fitness freak handsome. pretty. black. white. | Age: | Age: | Metaphor: | Metaphor: | Past: | Past: | Perception: | Perception: | Emotion: | Emotion: | Emotion: | Emotion:

| Possessions: | Possessions: | Roles: | Roles: | Not me/not mine: | Not me/not mine: | Gender: | Gender:

a teenager. an adult. the Queen of hearts. an Iron Lady. a failure. an ex-convict unworthy. a conservative. angry happy. depressed. peaceful. a millionaire a house owner. a brother. a sister. not like him. not my past. a male a female My identity is based on:

I am …

Name Race Citizenship Achievements Possessions Roles Religion Profession Titles Hobby/interests

a lover of God. a Chinese. a Malaysian. a champion. a car-owner. a son. a Christian. a lawyer. a CEO. a fitness freak. a Black. a consumer. Exercise: journaling and prayer Write down whatever comes to your mind as many "I am this" or "I am that" as possible without much thinking. Then based on the list write a short autobiography of yourself that you can be really proud of in not less than two hundred words. After this go into silence and solitude and thank God for the gift of self. Use Psalm 103 or 1 John 4: 7-16 for prayer. Ask God for the grace: Give me O Lord a deep experience of being loved by you.

Exercise: points for reflection and prayer b4 next session For next morning. Use text Philippians 2:5-11 "…but he emptied himself taking the form of a slave…" to prepare for next morning prayer before they retire for the night. Ask God for the grace: Help me to know myself that I might know you better.

Second Session After breakfast, play the song "I am," by Hilary Duff. I'm an angel, I'm a devil I am sometimes in between I'm as bad it can get And good as it can be Sometimes I'm a million colors Sometimes I'm black and white I am all extremes Try figure me out you never can There's so many things I am I am special I am beautiful I am wonderful I'm powerful Unstoppable Sometimes I'm miserable Sometimes I'm pitiful But that's so typical of all the things I am I'm someone filled with self-belief I'm haunted by self-doubt I've got all the answers I've got nothing figured out I like to be by myself I hate to be alone I'm up and I am down But that's part of the thrill Part of the plan Part of all of the things I am I am special I am beautiful I am wonderful I'm powerful Unstoppable Sometimes I'm miserable Sometimes I'm pitiful But that's so typical of all the things I am I'm a million contradictions Sometimes I make no sense Sometimes I'm perfect Sometimes I'm a mess Sometimes I'm not sure who I am I am special

I am beautiful I am wonderful And powerful Unstoppable Sometimes I'm miserable Sometimes I'm pitiful But that's so typical of all the things I am I am special I am beautiful I am wonderful I'm powerful Unstoppable Sometimes I'm miserable Sometimes I'm pitiful But that's so typical of all the things I am Of all the things I am Sometimes I'm miserable Sometimes I'm pitiful But that's so typical of all the things I am Of all the things I am

A. Self as object What role has memory or selective memory played in the construction of your identity? What have you conveniently left out? Can you talk of identity without memory? How many of you believe that what you have written is the totality of who you really are? If not the totality, it is really who you are? The self is a fascinating topic. Looks like we all know ourselves, do we not? Yet, we are often strangers to ourselves. The truth is we think we know ourselves. We may know something about ourselves but that is not the same as knowing ourselves. When we know something about ourselves, we become the object known (self as object), which is a complex of (objective) ideas, feelings, identities, valuations and so on. But when we know ourselves as we are without labels, ideas, etc, we become the knowing subject (self as subject). The self as object is a mental construct which is subject to change any moment. Because we can see and know it objectively this "subject’ is often mistaken as our true self. The whole clinical field in psychology is really the psychology of knowing something about the self – it is about the object known.

"As soon as someone asks, ‘Who are you? Tell me about yourself,’ you will begin to search your memory for pertinent facts of what you have done, seen, felt, or accomplished in the past. Indeed, claims Krishnamurti, the very feeling that you now exist as a separate entity is itself based entirely on memory" - Ken Wilber, No Boundary, p 65

"A teacher in India once said, ‘Personality is a mistaken identity.’ As we become identified with these created aspects, we conclude this is who we are, rather that this is what I constructed to perceive myself. Another way of saying it is this is a self lens that I created, and it will define me and my world." - Stephen Wolinsky, Quantum Consciousness: The Guide To Experiencing Quantum Psychology, pp 90-91

"You cannot possibly say that you are what you think yourself to be! Your ideas about yourself change from day to day and from moment to moment…It is utterly vulnerable, at the mercy of a passerby. A bereavement, the loss of a job, an insult, and your image of yourself, which you call your person, changes deeply." - Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj, I Am That, p 56

"Each of us has an image of what we think we are or what we should be, and that image, that picture, entirely prevents us from seeing ourselves as we actually are." - J. Krishnamurti, Freedom From The Known, p 23

"Anything you know about [you] cannot be you." - Alfred Korzybski, quoted in Stephen Wolinsky, Quantum Consciousness: The Guide To Experiencing Quantum Psychology, p 162 B. Self as subject

"The great tragedy for many of us is that in growing up, we become self-made, independent successes who are weighed down with thoughts of the past and worries about the future. We lose touch with our true self, the person God created us to be. We live off-center and alienated from who we really are." - Albert Haase, OFM, Coming Home to Your True Self, p 19 "Therefore, there is one problem on which my existence, my peace and my happiness

depend: to discover my self in discovering God. If I find him I will find myself and if I find my true self I will find him." - Thomas Merton, New Seeds of Contemplation, pp. 35-36 "We need to return to being who God created us to be and stop being who we are not. We need to come home to the true self." - Albert Haase, OFM, Coming Home to Your True Self, p 19

Is it possible for us to do a kind of "kenosis" or self-emptying in order to embrace our true self just as Jesus Christ "empties" himself (Philippians 2:7) to take on the human condition? Or is it possible for us to stand "naked" before God? Or can we "get to zero" so that at zero we can just be and thus allows us to connect from being to being at the now moment? What does it mean to "empty" ourselves, stand "naked" or "get to zero?" It means to: Forget all you know about yourself Forget all you have ever thought about yourself. Leave all remembrance of yesterday behind. Begin to understand yourself for the first time as you really are. Get a volunteer to come forward and write his/her list of "I ams" on the white board. After that ask him/her to strike of one by one from the last to the first if the sense of self is not intrinsic to oneself. Or ask "Who are you prior to your labels, ideas, images, concepts, information about you?"

I am… a bird-watcher. an adult. Phenominal Self (Personality) handsome. Functional Self (Outer Self) a smiling tiger. a failure. Divine Christ consciousness what I eat. GOD True self / image of God / I AM

a conservative. troubled. great. happy. The hole is not part of a donut angry. neither is the donut part of the hole not my past. But without the hole, it is not a donut.

"To know what you are, you must first investigate and know what you are not. And to know what you are not…" "...you much watch yourself carefully, rejecting all that does not necessarily go with the basic fact: ‘I am’". - Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj, I Am That, p 56 "The ideas: I am born at a given place, at a given time, from my parents and now I am so-and-so, living at, married to, father of, employed by, and so on, are not inherent in the sense of ‘I am’". - Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj, I Am That, p 56

"But whatever can be described cannot be yourself, and what you are cannot be described. You can only know yourself by being yourself without any attempt at self-definition and self-description." - Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj, I Am That, p 495

"I can say: ‘I am’, but what I am I cannot say. I know I exist, but I do not know what exists. Whichever way I put it, I face the unknown." - Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj, I Am That, p 349

"All you can say is: ‘I am not this, I am not that’. You cannot meaningfully say ‘this is what I am’. It just makes no sense. What you can point out as ‘this’ or ‘that’ cannot be yourself." - Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj, I Am That, p 2

"If you ask me: ‘Who are you?’ My answer would be: ‘Nothing in particular. Yet, I am.’" - Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj, I Am That, p 304

"The divine name from Exodus 3:14, ‘I am who I am,’ is appropriated by Jesus who shows us how to embrace our own divinity. The Cosmic Christ is the "I am" in every creature." - Matthew Fox, The Coming of the Cosmic Christ, p 154

"His presence is present in my own presence. If I am, then He is. And in knowing that I am, …the indefinable ‘am’ that is myself in the deepest roots, then through this deep centre I pass into the infinite ‘I AM’ which is the very Name of the Almighty." - Thomas Merton, Thoughts in Solitude, p 70

"Our reality, our true self, void…And this is why the way reject the illusory self and eyes and in the eyes of men,

is hidden in what appears to us to be nothingness and to reality is the way of humility which brings us to accept the "empty" self that is "nothing" in our own but is our true reality in the eyes of God.

- Thomas Merton, New Seeds of Contemplation, p 281

"In experience, the true self in its oneness with the divine is felt to be a continuous burning inner flame, whereas the phenomenal self is ever changing, moving, coming and going…Where the true self is unknown, the phenomenal self consists of all the experiences we usually think as self—various energies, feelings, emotions, thinking and all mental functioning." - Bernadette Roberts, What is Self? A Study of the Spiritual Journey in Terms of Consciousness, p 69

"While the true self is known to exist and be one with the divine, its true nature, essence or ‘what’ it is, is unknown. Merely to label this aspect of consciousness as the ‘unconscious self’ or the ‘true self’ does not tell us ‘what’ it is; all it tells us is ‘that’ it is." - Bernadette Roberts, What is Self? A Study of the Spiritual Journey in Terms of Consciousness, p 35 "In this unitive state we identity with Christ in the words of St. Paul, ‘No longer I, but Christ lives in me.’ Thus our true self is hidden with Christ in God, inseparably one with God through Christ." - Bernadette Roberts, The Experience of No-Self, A Contemplative Journey, p 149 "It is not I who live, but Christ who lives in me." - Galatians 2:20 Question for reflection:

"Is the contemplative journey a process of becoming one with God, or is it the process of stripping away the superficial layers of self in order to realize, in all its great reality, a union that has always been there?" - Bernadette Roberts, The Path to No-Self – Life at the Center, p33 Exercise: points for reflection and prayer b4 next session John 15:4-7 "Abide in me and I in you…" or Romans 8: 35- 39 "Who shall separate us from the love of Christ?..." Ephesians 3: 14-19 "…so that Christ may live in your hearts…" Ask God for the grace: That I shall always remain in your love. Mystic – simply means authentic mature person. Third Session

"Christ set us free, so that we should remain free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be fastened again to the yoke of slavery." - Galatians 5:1 "After all, brothers, you were called to be free; do not use your freedom as an opening for self-indulgence, but be servants to one another in love." - Galatians 5:13 "…you will know the truth and the truth will set you free." - John 8:32 "But if the truth is to make me free, I must also let go of my hold upon myself, and not retain a semblance of self which is an object of a ‘thing.’ I, too, must be no-thing. And when I am no-thing, I am in the All, and Christ lives in me." - Thomas Merton, "Introducing a Book," Queens Work, p. 10 "Our usual attitude is of ‘I am this’. Separate consistently and perseveringly the ‘I am’ from ‘this’ or ‘that’ and try to feel what it means to be, just be, without being ‘this’ or ‘that’" - Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj, I Am That, p 56 (motionless) future still point here subject object attraction repulsion me I AM now you past

See saw

A. Guided meditation

Imagine yourself watching a movie in a cinema. You are the watcher or observer of the movie. The movie is your thoughts and feelings and desires. Watch them come and go, come and go. Then change your focus in the opposite direction and pay attention to the watcher or observer. What do you feel or experience? The following to be slowly recited to the retreatants while in meditation so as to help them realize as vividly as possible the import of each statement. I have a body, but I am not my body. I can see and feel my body, and what can be seen and felt is not the true Seer. My body may be tired or excited, sick or healthy, heavy or light, but that has nothing to do with my inward I. I have a body, but I am not my body. I have desires, but I am not my desires. I can know my desires, and what can be known is not the true Knower. Desires come and go, floating through my awareness, but they do not affect my inward I. I have desires but I am not my desires. I have emotions, but I am not my emotions. I can feel and sense my emotions, and what can be felt and sensed is not the true Feeler. Emotions pass through me, but they do not affect my inward I. I have emotions but I am not my emotions. I have thoughts, but I am not my thoughts. I can know and intuit my thoughts, but what can be known is not the true Knower. Thoughts come to me and thoughts leave me, but they do not affect my inward I. I have thoughts but I am not my thoughts. - Ken Wilber, No Boundary, pp.114-115

So who are you? You are not objects out there, you are not feelings, you are not thoughts —you are effortlessly aware of all those, so you are not those. Who or what are you? You cannot be seen. No part of you can be seen because you are not an object. Your body can be seen. Your thoughts can been seen but you are not any of those objects. You are the observing presence or witnessing awareness right now.

"Once an observer begins to appreciate that he is not his thoughts, feelings, emotions, but rather an observing presence, a process of dis-identification is inaugurated." - Stephen Wolinsky, Quantum Consciousness: The Guide To Experiencing Quantum Psychology, p 16

"What makes the present so different? Obviously, my presence. I am real for I am always now, in the present, and what is with me now shares in my reality...it is

my own reality that I impart to the present event." - Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj, I Am That, p 6 Reading Materials Thomas Keating Deepak Chopra Story – Zen master about reputation. B. Characteristics of the true self

10 characteristics of the true self: (cf Fr. Albert Haase, OFM, Coming Home to Your True Self , p 24) Relational Self-giving Unflappable and unthreatened Focused on the here and now Contemplative approach to life Wonder and Awe Trustful surrender Compassionate Awareness of being a spoke in the larger wheel of creation Passion for peace and justice. The true self experience is an experience of abiding oneness with the divine (unitive state). How do we deepen our oneness with Christ? 1. "‘By doing it,’…Doing the truth means living out of the reality which He who is the truth, making His being the being of ourselves." 2. ’By remaining in Him,’… i.e. by participating in His being. ‘Abide in me and I in you,’ he says. The truth which liberates is the truth in which we participate, which is a part of us and we a part of it. 3. "The truth that liberates is the power of love, for God is love…Love liberates from the father of the lie because it liberates us from our false self to our true self- to that self which is grounded in true reality. Therefore, distrust every claim for truth where you do not see truth united with love." - (cf Paul Tillich, A New Being in Religion-Online) See 2 John 1-6: on living a "life of truth" and "life of love", which for John the truth is "walking in love". 4. "The knowledge of the Son, and belief in his name, in the Gospel means a

participation in the being of Christ; this is conveyed completely, concretely,…by an invitation to eat his flesh and to drink his blood, so that the disciples will become of one substance with him." - Ravi Ravindra, Christ The Yogi, p 192 "We are not human beings with spiritual experience, but spiritual beings with human experience." - Teilhard de Chardin Personal Prayer Text 2 John 1-6: The truth as "walking in love" - living a life of truth and living a life of love. Ask God for the grace that you will always remain in his truth and love. Exercise: points for reflection and prayer b4 next session What’s driving me? Some are driven by survival/security. Others by affection/esteem. Still others by power/control, etc. If you find it difficult to answer, then ask "what are the things or people that easily upset or disturb me?" Next morning prayer. 2nd Samuel 11:1-27, 12:1-6. Ask God for a deep knowledge of my own sinfulness. Recognizing our false self First Session A. Understanding our inner demons

"We labour unceasingly to preserve an imaginary existence and neglect the real." - Blaise Pascal "One of the most widespread errors of our time is a superficial ‘personalism’ which identifies the ‘person’ with the external self, the empirical ego, and devotes itself solemnly to the cultivation of this ego. But this is the cult of a pure illusion, the illusion of what is popularly imagined to be ‘personality’ or worse still ‘dynamic’ and ‘successful’ personality." - Thomas Merton, New Seeds of Contemplation, p 281 "I cannot live with myself any longer." This was the thought that kept repeating itself in my mind. Then suddenly I became aware of what a peculiar thought it was. "Am I one or two?" If I cannot live with myself, there must be two of me: The ‘I’ and the ‘self’ that ‘I’ cannot live with." "Maybe," I thought, "only one of them is real." - Eckhart Tolle, The Power of Now, p 1

Do you know of people who:

Keep acquiring things, etc, in order to increase their self-worth and to impress and gain the respect of others? Often suffer from the "poor me" syndrome and wallow in self-pity. Why me? What’s wrong with me? Are experts at playing the "victim" - for them blame is the name of the game? Good at fixing the blame! Like to justify oneself at the expense of others by resorting to lies and deceits? Do you know of people who: Believe they are the best and measure everything according to their own standards and demand that others should treat them with respect? Insist that they are always right and must win at all cost because they cannot afford to lose face? Result: hot/cold wars. Are easily insulted, offended, or hurt when they perceive their self-importance or self-image is under attacked? I am so hurt or you have hurt me…blah, blah, blah. Do you know of people who: Are smart at playing one-upmanship or playing one against another? Have an obsession for popularity, hunger for approval and like to show-off? Have a strong will-to-power and a tendency to dominate or control others or situations? Control freaks! Use guilt trips, emotional blackmail, threats, deceptions, lies, and ultimatums to get what they want? Do you know of people who: Are weighed down by the past, fearful of the future, but resist the eternal now? Crave attention and so will do anything to draw attention to themselves. Always talk about ‘me,me,me, I, I, I’? Enjoy finding fault with others: always complaining, criticizing, gossiping, bitching, and running down others? Have a tendency to compare with others for better or for worse? Misusing sexuality for exploitation or lustful pleasure. These are a few glimpses of how the false self comes alive. Ego is the totality of our self-experience that is centred solely on and around itself . The false self is often referred to as the ego (acronym meaning Edging God Out) and on it we stake our whole life.

"The term ‘ego’ articulates a specific experience. Its best articulation might be this: the ego is what we feel when self-will is crossed, blocked or otherwise thwarted. It is the psychological pain that underlies all tantrum behaviours— anger, hitting back, revenge, anxiety and much more…the ego is first and foremost the feeling-self—it is not, primarily at least, the knowing self." - Bernadette Roberts, What is Self? A Study of the Spiritual Journey in Terms of Consciousness, p 4 "In the egoic state we regard our self-image or self-reflection as not true to our deepest self." - Bernadette Roberts, What is Self? A Study of the Spiritual Journey in Terms of Consciousness, p 102 "Thus if our self-image is unclear or false we can hardly expect to have a true image of God." - Bernadette Roberts, What is Self? A Study of the Spiritual Journey in Terms of Consciousness, p 159 According to James Hollis, a Jungian analyst, generally speaking "who I think I am" is the ego state. This definition is close to what Rene Descartes (who unwittingly discovers the root of the ego) says, "I think, therefore I am," "The consciousness that says ‘I am’ is not the consciousness that thinks." - Jean-Paul Sartre (about 500 years later) "Our false self is who we think we are. It is our mental self-image and social agreement, which most people spend their whole lives living up to – or down to." - Richard Rohr, Adam’s Return, quoted in James Martin, SJ, Becoming Who You Are, p 20 "You do not know what you are and therefore you imagine yourself to be what you are not." - Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj, I Am That, p 406 How false self come about ? The false self or ego grows out of our capacity and tendency to see the self as a thing or object separate from other things. Because there’s "I," therefore there has to be "other" and that immediately sees a physical world of separation or duality "From Meister Eckhart to Mary Daly, the sin behind all sin is seen as dualism. Separation. Subject/object relationships…take any sin…every action is treating another as an object outside oneself. This is dualism. This is behind all sin." - Matthew Fox B. Process of identification

Process of identification: (cf Echkart Tolle, A New Earth p 35) Identification is subtle and unconscious. The word "identification" is derived from the Latin word idem, meaning "same" and facere, which means "to make". So when I identify with something, I "make it the same." The same as I. I endow it with a sense of self, and so it becomes part of my "identity". One of the most basic level of identification is with things when we say my car, my house, etc. However, we are never really attached to a thing but a thought that has "I" "me" or "mine" in it.

"Identification is essentially a thought process by which the mind safeguards and expands itself; and in becoming something it must resist and defend, it must own and discard…identification destroys freedom." - J. Krishnamurthi, Commentaries on Living – First Series, p 5 "The ‘me’ exists only family, with failures be. You are that with that, and without it, through identification with property, with a name, with a and successes, with all the things you have been and want to which you have identified yourself; you are made up of all you are not."

- J. Krishnamurthi, Commentaries on Living – Third Series, p 76 "So why are we attached? I am attached to my country because through identification with it I become somebody. I identify my self with my work, and the work becomes important…The object of attachment offers me the means of escape from my own emptiness." - J. Krishnamurti, Commentaries on Living Second Series, p 5

Biblical texts: Why are we attached ? Jesus’s temptation in the desert (Lk:4:1-13) Establish himself by doing: turning stones into bread. Establish himself by what people think of him so that others would recognize himself as the Messiah. Establish himself by having all the power and kingdoms in the world. - M. B. Pennington, True Self False Self, p20

Six beliefs underlying the ego systems I am what I have. My possessions define me. I am what I do. My achievements define me. I am what others think about me. My reputations define me. I am separate from everyone. My body defines me as alone. I am separate from all that is missing in my life. My life space is disconnected from my desires. I am separate from God. My life depends on God’s assessment of my worthiness. - Dr. W. Dyer, The Power of Intention, p10 "Everybody sees the world through the idea he has of himself. As you think yourself to be, so you think the world to be. If you imagine yourself as separate from the world, the world will appear as separate from you and you will experience desire and fear." - Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj, I Am That, p 117 Biblical texts: (Gen 3:6-13) "The symbolism in the story of the Fall implies that, prior to Eve eating the fruit, Adam and Eve were unified. They were part of each other, as symbolized by Eve having been created from Adam’s ribs. They had no awareness of each other as separate beings.

…The curse of Eden, if we want to call it such, was that once Adam and Eve saw themselves as separate, mistrust, doubt, and division entered the world. From that time onwards, we would always be struggling to be reunited with ourselves, with each other, and with God." - Leo Booth, When God Becomes a Drug, p 27

"A human being is part of the whole, called by us ‘Universe’; a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feelings as something separated from the rest – a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest us." - Albert Einstein

"When you call yourself an Indian or a Muslim or a Christian or a European, or anything else, you are being violent. Do you see why it is violent? Because you are separating yourself from the rest of mankind. When you separate yourself by

belief, by nationality, by tradition, it breeds violence. So a man who is seeking to understand violence does not belong to any country, to any religion, to any political party or partial system; he is concerned with the total understanding of mankind." - J. Krishnamurti, Freedom From the Known, p 65

"It is the idea of who we are that separates us from who we are." - Alfred Korzybski, quoted in Stephen Wolinsky, Quantum Consciousness: The Guide To Experiencing Quantum Psychology, p 162

"What is it that we defend, that we so carefully guard? Surely it is the idea of ourselves, at whatever level. If we did not guard the idea, the centre of accumulation, there would be no ‘me’ or ‘mine’…The idea of ourselves is wholly superficial; but as most of us live on the surface, we are content with illusions." - J. Krishnamurti, Commentaries on Living, First Series p 90 On healing separateness: "As you did it to one of the least of these my brethen, you did it to me…As you did not do to one of the lease of these, you did it not to me." - Matthew 25:40,45 Exercise: points for reflection and prayer b4 next session Use text Ephesians 4:22-24: "…your mind must be renewed by a spiritual revolution so that you can put on the new self …" or Use text Galatians 5:16-25 "…be guided by the Spirit…" Ask God for a profound sorrow and remorse for my sinfulness.

Second Session A. Renewing your mind

True self? False self? The ego’s basic instinct is to survive; it refuses to die and so it seeks substitute gratifications to keep itself alive by running after 10 "Empty Ps" or promises. Pleasure Popularity Praise People

Power Productivity Prestige Possessions Position Perfection - cf Albert Haase, OFM, Coming Home to Your True Self, p 39 "We no longer identify with the concocted false self made up of what I do, what I have, and what others think of me. I know that I am, existing within and ever flowing forth from the Divine Creative Energy of the I AM." - M. Basil Pennington "The false self is a human construct built by selfishness and flights from reality. Because it is not the whole truth of us, is not of God. And because it is not of God, our false self is substantially empty and incapable of experiencing the love and freedom of God." - Thomas Merton, New Seeds of Contemplation Characteristics of the ego: The ego’s strategy is to defend and attack in order to survive. The more it defends, the greater the attack. The ego is a separatist. The ego is a terrorist. The ego is a parasite. The ego is an imposter. The ego is dysfunctional. "In fact, mind itself is not the problem. But our identification with it is. In other words, ego has identified with the contents of mind believing them to be real and therefore giving them the power to create our reality." - Amoda Maa Jeevan, How to Find God in Everything, p 107 "To know that you are a prisoner of your mind, that you live an imaginary world of your own creation is the dawn of wisdom." - Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj, I Am That, p 407 Eg. prisoners in self captivity. Who are the prisoners of their own thoughts ? The guilt stricken – lonely lives, running away, regret, hiding their shame & stay stuck in live. Suicide bombers – very angry, bitter, resentful, highly toxic & can blow themselves anytime. The chicken hearted – deep seated fears, play safe, dare not take risk Worldly and materialistic – greed appetite to own more

The live for others – prisoners of other people approval Romans 12 : 1-2 Renewal of the mind Philippians 2 : 5-6 Ephesians 4 : 22-24 "After all, it is the mind that creates illusion and it is the mind that gets free of it." - Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj, I Am That, p 167 "Present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that you may prove what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect." - Romans 12:1-2

"Have this mind among yourselves, which was in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself…" - Philippians 2:5-6 "You must give up your old way of life; you must put aside your old self, which gets corrupted by following illusory desires. Your mind must be renewed by a spiritual revolution so that you can put on the new self that has been created in God’s way, in the goodness and holiness of the truth." - Ephesians 4:22-24

B. False self in relation to sin

"Jesus takes away the sin of the world (John 1:29)…It is one thing which alienates the world from God: sin, not sins. What is it that underlies the sinfulness of men?" - J. Edgar Bruns, The Art and Thought of John, p 62

"In conclusion we may say that sin, the sin from which those who listen to the word of Jesus are absolved, is first of all a false and corroding sense of selfsufficiency – which preclude the operation of grace – , and secondly but consequently, a failure to love. The sin which dooms to death is persistent refusals to examine one’s presuppositions, to continue saying ‘we see.’" - J. Edgar Bruns, The Art and Thought of John, p 75

"To say I was born in sin is to say that I came into the world with a false self...Being someone that I was never intended to be and therefore a denial of what I am supposed to be. And thus I came into existence and non-existence at the

same time because from the very start I was something that I was not." - Thomas Merton, New Seeds of Contemplation, pp. 33-34

"Here Merton equates sin with the identity-giving structures of the false self… For Merton, the matter of who we are always precedes what we do. Thus, sin is not necessarily an action but rather an identity. Sin is a fundamental stance of wanting to be what we are not." - James Finley, Merton’s Place of Nowhere, p.31 If who we are always precedes what we do then every decision we make is not about what we do but who we are. So am I the problem or few bad deeds the problem? If few bad deeds: "I have lied so I better stop lying," etc. Solution: simply to stop doing that bad deed – or start doing good deeds. So salvation becomes nothing more than doing good things and avoiding the bad. Such a solution does not need Jesus Christ, who take away the sin of the world (John 1, 29). Or Jesus Christ simply becomes a model of doing the right things. Have we watered down salvation when we don’t see that we (our false self) are the problem? Deliver us from evil (our false self)? Get rid of our ego? "Is not the desire to get rid of the ego itself a manifestation of the ego?" - Chuang Tzu "When ego is master, there is hell, when ego is servant, there is heaven." - Ravi Ravindra, Christ the Yogi, p.162 "He must increase, I must decrease." - John 3:30

C. Transcending the false self

"If any man would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it; and whoever loses his life for my sake, he will save it," said Jesus to all. - Luke 9:22

"And so we must come to recognize and acknowledge our false self, but even more to acknowledge the true self that sleeps within us like Lazarus in the tomb waiting for the voice of Jesus to awaken us to life." - James Finley, Merton’s Place of Nowhere, p88 It is not a matter of how to get rid of the ego, but how to face it or better still see through it. Unless we do so, we will always be quick to demonize others. If the ego is what we think ourselves to be, then to face the ego is to uncover the ways of our own thinking and to understand the process of identification. "What we think, we are; but it is the understanding of the process of thought that is important, and not what we think about." - J. Krishnamurti, Commentaries on Living, First Series, p 173 "Watch your mind with great diligence for there lies bondage and the key to liberation." - Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj, I Am That, Read As a Man Thinketh by James Allen. It mirrored the same concept. A great book and I highly recommend reading it. Watch your thoughts; They become words. Watch your words; They become deeds. Watch your deeds; They become habits. Watch your habits; They become behaviors Watch your behaviors; They become character. Watch your character; They become your destiny.

Sow a thought, and you reap an act; Sow an act, and you reap a habit; Sow a habit, and you reap a character; Sow a character, and you reap a destiny Note : Talking to self loudly on the street is the same as talking silently in one’s mind. An active mind. "It depends on the state of your mind. And that state of mind can be understood only by yourself, by watching it and never trying to shape it, never taking sides, never opposing, never agreeing, never justifying, never condemning, never judging – which means watching it without any choice."

- J. Krishnamurti, Freedom from the Known, p 38 "Only by understanding the false as false is there freedom from it." - J. Krishnamurti, Commentaries on Living – Second Series, p 94 "The ego is like an iceberg. Ninety percent of it is underwater. As we observe it, the submerged begins to move into the light of observation, and melts in the light of awareness." - Meher Baba, quoted in Stephen Wolinsky, Quantum Consciousness: The Guide To Experiencing Quantum Psychology, p 34 "…but anything shown up by the light will be illuminated and anything illuminated is itself a light. That is why it is said: ‘Wake up, sleeper, rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.’" - Ephesians 5: 13-14 Remember who you really are and deepen your oneness with God in Christ regularly. See the false self as false. Don’t dramatize, energize it and you will feel less threatened by it. Embracing good and bad with equanimity and serenity if there is nothing we can do to change the situation. Self-awareness: the power to know yourself. Be ruthlessly honest or truthful with oneself and when you are ready, share the truth with others. Be in the truth of the present moment NOW– all that is sensing in the body, thinking in the mind, feeling with the emotions. Be utterly aware of and in touch with reality exactly as it is. Don’t suppress it and don’t support it. Different stages of self 10 Christ consciousness 9 Causal Self 8 Subtle Self (Mother Theresa) 7 Pychic Self (St John of the cross) an active mind 6 Integrated Self 5 Rational Self 4 Role Self 3 Conceptual Self (images, symbol) 2 Biological Slef (emotional self) 1 Body Self (physical self) a controlled mind ( calmness ) Questions for reflection: How obsessed am I with what I have, what I do, and what people think of me? How much emotional energy do I expend in chasing after the "Empty Promises"? Exercise: points for reflection and prayer b4 next session

Ephesians 5:10 -14. Ask God for the grace to follow Christ closely so as to walk in the light always. John 5:1-9. Ask God for Inner healing of the wounds and hurts received from others. END

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