Friday, November 11, 2011

Acedia And The True Self

Acedia is a monastic term that describes a certain kind of weariness or fatigue associated with the routine and monotony of daily living. In my life this is usually associated with the discipline of work, faithfulness to a spiritual practice, the demands of healthy living, exercising my brain, and being faithful to the demands and commitments of my life. When this feeling occurs, one needs to be creative and look for ways to renew your spirit and zest for living. It may require changing jobs, creating new routines, driving home by a different route, praying in a new way, starting a new book, doing something that you've never done before, or reflecting on why you’ve made the decisions you’ve made in your life. We all feel like this sometimes. It is part of the human condition. The important thing is to recognize it and not allow it to overwhelm you.

We are not our personalities. Whatever personality we have, whatever Enneagram number or Myers-Briggs type we are, these are masks covering up our true selves. Our personalities are part of the false self so eloquently written about by the Christian monk, Thomas Merton. The personality that each of us has is a shell we have created since early childhood to protect ourselves from the world around us. We appear different because we have created different false selves depending on our personal experiences of life. The purpose of the spiritual journey is not only to find God but to find ourselves as well. It is the inward journey to our own essence. Merton calls this the True Self. Buddhists call it "Finding the face you had before you were born". Each of us is like an onion and our many false selves must be peeled away one layer at a time until the true self is revealed.

1 comment:

Avril said...

'Finding the face you had before you were born.' I like the Buddhists' thinking. How wonderful it would be to realise this. I'm encouraged in my journey to do just that. Thank you Michael.