If there is any one subject I’ve written to You about more than any other, it’s self – self as the most adamant barrier to growth.
Bernadette Roberts has written some wonderfully insightful (though at times dense) expositions of the self. She extols the falling away of the conscious self as the direct path to contemplative unity. One of the subtlest and most insidious hazards on this path is the subjective projection of one’s personal interpretations upon all mankind. To generalize spirituality from one’s own narrow stance is tempting – and hazardous. One difficult consideration that I fear trips me up continually is my taken-for-granted attitude of a common journey. Yes, we have our humanity in common but one’s spiritual journey is never exactly the same as another’s.
In everything I’ve written to You is detailed my own personal spiritual trip. Since nobody else’s is the same, the self I bring to it is not the self of another. But making the assumption that it is, is so easy! It’s not only easy, it’s incorrect. Yet what is it about being in the midst of spiritual pursuits that compels us to share the steps of our path with another with whom they are probably irrelevant?
We witness ourselves, and as witnesses we must testify. Our sharing is a testimony to the fact that God acts in us and through us. He is really there. His whisper is truly audible. His face truly discernable. Like John in the introduction tohis gospel, we are all witnesses here to testify to God’s action in us. Naturally our testimony is subjective – how can it be otherwise? And so the self we exhaust ourselves trying to shed seems instrumental to the spirituality of one being while nearly meaningless to another. This uniqueness is predicated upon the so-called “false-self,” the self we create for ourselves. The “true-self” at the center of our being may extend less to uniqueness and more to commonality; nonetheless it is the false-self though which we slog.