Week Three: Transformation
It’s one thing to realize that we have been living out of a false self, but it’s quite another matter to allow God to transform us with the affirmation of his love. Too much of our unhealthy religious practice focuses on what we should not do or not be rather than what we should become.
Healthy religious practices detect and remove the obstacles and distractions that keep us from God’s loving and affirming presence. Our tools are spare and simple with practices such as:
- Bracing honesty
- A quiet mind
- A heart turned toward God
Spiritual masters such as Jeanne Guyon often noted that we enter into prayer by simply turning our attention toward God. That act alone is a prayer, and it is a prayer that we can gradually build on.
As we learn to turn toward God, we’ll find our identities gradually transformed by God’s love and presence. Richard Rohr shares some particularly helpful quotes and insights in Immortal Diamond.
“Our ongoing curiosity about our True Self seems to lessen if we settle into any successful role. We have then allowed others to define us from the outside, although we do not realize it… Thomas Merton said, ‘If I had a message to my contemporaries it is surely this: Be anything you like, be madmen, drunks, and bastards of every shape and form, but at all costs avoid one thing: success. If you are too obsessed with success, you will forget to live. If you have learned only how to be a success, your life has probably been wasted.’ Success is hardly ever your True Self, only your early window dressing.”
On incarnational religion and Spirit-based morality: “You do things because they are true, not because you have to or you are afraid of punishment. Henceforth you are not so much driven from without (the False Self method) as you are drawn from within (the True Self method). The generating motor is inside of you now instead of a whip or a threat outside.”
“God tries to first create a joyous yes inside of you, far more than any kind of no . . . Just saying no is resentful dieting, whereas finding your deeper yes, and eating from that table, is always a spiritual banquet.”
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