Letters to Jesus (Ego, False-self, and Groundhog Day -5
Thomas Aquinas alludes to the idea that it’s devastating to be unknown and further devastating to be known but not known enough. I think this operates on two levels: one where fear is legitimate and the other where it is pure ego.
The fear of not being known and, more to the point, being loved by You is a bona fide aspect of the fear of God. To not be known (loved) by You would be the height of all despair. When we have faith in You we have faith in the Good Shepherd who knows His sheep. If we trust in the fact that You do know us and love us, then any other devastation we have to deal with is a mirage. Not being known or not being known enough by others is irrelevant. I quote Jesuit writer Fr. Anthony DeMello: “There is no need to be popular…no need to stand out or be important…they are desires that arise from the ego – the conditioned “self” – the ‘me’.”
In a very real sense our desire to be known by others works against our being known by You. It is another way we put ourselves ahead of You and whenever we do that we shut You out. The fact that I can say I know DeMello is right does not diminish the fact that among my family and friends I still desire to be known. How often this manifests itself in the thought that he/she just doesn’t understand me. This, of course, is yet another manifestation of the quote from Virginia Woolf’s Orlando: “There is no desire greater in the breast of man than that others should think as he does.”As natural and instinctive as this feeling is, it is a construct of my own ego. To revel in recognition, adulation, or sympathy from others is irrelevant. Only You give us what we truly need.