August 20, 2015 (Kampala):
Richard Rohr, in his book Immortal Diamond, says that our ‘false self’ is one or more ‘temporary costumes’ necessary to get us jump-started in life but that need(s) to die off as we continue to grow. He calls it a ‘launching pad’.
One of my false or temporary selves was BIBLE TRANSLATOR. It got me going in my career, got me back to Africa, got me a family, got me into middle life…and then promptly perished.
What are my other false/temporary selves?
The next one to go is MISSIONARY. It’s already dead but I’m still caught up in its trappings. As soon as we leave Uganda and Wycliffe, I’ll shed that one too.
Another one is LINGUIST…
Rohr quotes Kathleen Singh who wrote, “The life and death of a human being is exquisitely calibrated to automatically produce union with Spirit.”
Rohr adds that the eventual renunciation and death of our false self (or selves) is “at the heart of the spiritual journey.”
“The True Self can let go [of false selves] because it is radically safe at its core.”
Three days after journaling the thoughts above, we were invited to a get-together of friends at the Kingfisher resort in Jinja, Uganda, near the headwaters of the Nile:
Yesterday morning I got up early to get some sunrise pictures of the Nile. I walked down to the shore smugly, thinking how disciplined I was and what a great photographer I must be to be out while everyone else lazily slept in.
Then I found a whole family already down there, even with young children who seemed perfectly awake and a grandfather poised with is own camera. Instead of being delighted and sharing a moment of morning glory with them, appreciating the beauty of nature, I found myself greatly irritated and stayed as far away from them as possible.
How petty! How immature! How egotistical!
It was interesting from a philosophical point of view to see my false self PHOTOGRAPHER whine and sulk over not being unique and special. Busted.
Let me try to work through this: I AM not a PHOTOGRAPHER. I DO some photography but so do millions of other people, many much much better than I can or ever will. GOD appreciates his handiwork through the lens of my camera but also through the lens of millions of other people’s camera.
When all other false selves have passed away, only TERRILL will remain.
GOD enjoys linguistic diversity through TERRILL’s ears.
GOD enjoys universal reason through TERRILL’s mind.
GOD enjoys natural beauty through TERRILL’s eyes.
GOD enjoys human beauty and diversity through TERRILL’s relationships.
GOD enjoys godself through TERRILL’s heart, mind, and body.