In Falling Upward (and in many of his other teachings), Richard Rohr talks at length about ego (or the False Self) and how it gets in the way of spiritual maturity, especially if its preoccupations continue into the second half of life. But if there's a False Self, is there also a True Self? What is it? How is it found? Why does it matter? And what does it have to do with the spiritual journey? In his new book, the author likens True Self to a diamond, buried deep within us, formed under the intense pressure of our lives and needing to be searched for, uncovered, and separated from all the debris of ego that surrounds it. In a sense True Self must, like Jesus, be resurrected, and that process involves not resuscitation but transformation.
How well do we know ourselves? So many roles and identities shape individual lives that it's easy to be confused about what is authentically "us." Rohr, a Franciscan priest and founding director of the Center for Action and Contemplation in Albuquerque, N.Mex., leads a narrative excursion to the "True Self," the core of character that lies like a diamond buried within. Writing for secular seekers, the author claims that individuals need to allow the false self to fall away in order to get in touch with the true self, allowing it to breathe and flourish. Grasping onto the superficial identities of the false self, such as job, class, race, or accomplishments, can keep people from being the loving and generous conduits of the Divine that they are meant to be. God is always communicating with humans, but those who cling to ego and social position can't hear these divine messages. The author makes clear that it is not easy to shed this falseness for truth in the inner life, but it is a spiritual path well worth the effort.