In-Sight: Creating the False Self (4)

Richard Rohr has posted the fourth “ego split” which results in the creation of the false self…

The Fourth Split: Acceptable Self from Unacceptable Self

The final split is the split of the acceptable self (persona) from the unacceptable self (shadow). What this split tries to accomplish is allowing us to identify with an idealized, more acceptable image of ourselves.  We identify with what our group or tribe says is admirable.

For the Franciscan mystics, there is no idealization of the self. Francis wore a habit with many patches and said, “I’ve got to wear patches on the outside to let everybody know what I’m like on the inside.”  Now that’s a facing of the shadow. He’s saying, “There’s no disguising that I’m a weak person, and I don’t want you to think I’m better than I really am.” That translated into an identification with the poor, the marginalized, and those on the edge, not those on the top.  Once God is found at the bottom, not at the top, and you stop idealizing the top, your politics change.  Your identification with your place in society is very different.

Until and unless you’ve overcome the four splits, you live a life divided.  You see the difference between who you want to be and who you really are.  You see the difference between your mind and your body.  You see the difference between yourself and other selves. And you see the difference between life and death.  Karl Rahner, who understood inherent grace like few in the modern era, recognized that if Christianity does not discover that it’s basically mystical Christianity, it’s no alternative to anything.  It’s just a reflection of the larger system.  Our deepest self is where we find the greatest mystery, so the transcendent is no longer transcendent, but within.   So let that rearrange your mind and your heart, and I promise you it will make the spiritual journey a very, very different kind of journey.

(You can review the three previous postings on this subject by going back in the “In-Sight” category and tracing the earlier “Creating the False Self” postings)

About Steve Harper

Retired seminary professor, who taught for 32 years in the disciplines of Spiritual Formation and Wesley Studies. Author and co-author of 42 books. Also a retired Elder in The Florida Annual Conference of The United Methodist Church.
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