“I am only one, but still I am one.
I cannot do everything, but still I can do something.
And because I cannot do everything,
I will not refuse to do the something I can do.”

Edward Everett Hale

Wednesday, 31 October 2018

The Difference between Relative and Absolute

I have always struggled with the notions of False Self and True Self, as explained by Richard Rohr (and before him, Thomas Merton). Struggled to understand what they mean for me.

Today my spiritual director explained them in another way, and it’s all come clear. He spoke of the Relative Self, which is the sum of our experiences, and the Absolute Self, that of God in us.

The Relative Self reacts and compares and likes things and people. It is subject to change. The Absolute Self is able to rise above this reactionary state. It observes and assesses. It is awake. It has compassion for all, including its own small, wounded, Relative Self. It loves things and people just the way they are.

The purpose of contemplative prayer, of meditation, is to quiet the chattering monkeys so that the Absolute Self can be heard. So that we learn to live mindfully, with awareness, and don’t just blunder through life reacting to whatever we see and hear and think and feel.

I feel like a door has opened in my mind, and am so very grateful.

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