On being truly myself - Roisin Pye, 9th Nov '01

greenspun.com : LUSENET : Experience into Words : One Thread

I mentioned once that being authentically me is what I aim for, in prayer, in life, in relationships etc. In fact, I think it's what God wants for me too, ultimately. There's no point in being "not me".

This applies to my faith and attitude to religion. I'm remembering how myself, sister and mother used to go to the Priory when we were young kids, and get in on evening prayer, and occasionally the odd bowl of soup - with the possibility of ice-cream afterwards! It was such a different world, all the habits and the solemn chanting.... sorry - that's a tangent!

Sometimes we didn't want to go, and that was the case as we got older, but we were encouraged, probably at times forced, and it was the done thing to do. It was part of the whole "religion" thing. And there were other things that were expected of us too, Mass, rosary, girl guides, helping people, being considerate, (yawn...!) and more.

When does this become my own thing? When do I stop doing things just because I'm expected to? When do I do things because they express me, where I am, how I feel? How do I truly express my inner self?

I remember being in Mass one day, when I had been involved in the retreat stuff for a while, and the Creed suddenly meaning something to me, and only me. It was expressing something within me, what I believed, and expressing it well. I was being authentically myself in that moment, and it was good.

I guess I don't want to do things - religious and non-rel. - just for the sake, or the appearance. The question "does this express the real me" stays with me as I move on through life - what do I keep from the past that's useful and "me", and what do I ditch that's just a burden? I don't want to ditch things just because they're not trendy and cool either - I don't want to do the "rebel" thing, cause there's more to life and the past than that. I don't want to be a pious stereotype of somebody - I am called to be me, in all the fullness, whatever it is.

And I think now I'm rambling, cause it's Friday night, and I'm thinking of home and possibly a couple of pints, so I'm off. But do let me know your wise and experienced reflections!

-- Anonymous, November 09, 2001


Roisin, Just now can I say you are very refreshing, you have things in correct perspective for a Friday night!! I'll reply at length later. Anne Marie 9/11/01

-- Anonymous, November 09, 2001

That's an excellent question Roisin,withou I suspect a simple answer.I suppose the answer revolves around the question of "truth", and it involves the letting go and the shedding of false images, fears and prejudices that were encountered over the years. At the 10th station I always pray that my authentic self may be revealed and that the falsehoods will be stripped away. From my personal experience the process is slow and painful---a painful but worthwhile unfoulding. Truth comes from within and is arrived at, not given or imposed from without. John O Donoghue observes that we should disown any person or institution that attempts to control or take us over, with glib answers etc. The poet Rilke once wrote that"Live in the question rather than settleing for an easy answer" The blind certainties of the past were destructive and in many cases gave rise to guilt and a sense of failure, but we must use those difficulties as stepping stones and not stumbleing blocks. Going for a few pints like you decided after asking the question is an excellent start. William Johnston S.J in Silent Music says "In the accent of Mt. Carmel one must never stop climbing,one must never be seduced by the beautiful flowers nor terrified by the wild beasts, one must leave all to find the treasure in an endless and anguising purification", or Shakesphere" To thine own self be true" Enjoy the journey Tom

-- Anonymous, November 12, 2001

Staying true to myself and letting all the pretence be stripped away - that's a good way of putting it, Tom, and thanks for the thought.

One of the experiences I'm in right now would be deciding what the future holds, and deciding what's most "me" in the future. Web design isn't what I want to do forever, and I think there's a teacher in me, and so I'm trying to decide on a masters, either in the US or Italy, and it's difficult to decide...!

Sometimes I think the intellectual stuff of university and academic settings (and potential politics and hobbie-horses) isn't where I want to be at all, and maybe a bus driver is the way to go! So, trying to discern and find what's most true to myself and what God wants as well. Is it really true that what God most wants of us is the deepest desires of our heart? And if so, how do we find out those deepest desires? Or is there a separate plan that I have to "tap into" and how do I do that in life? And there are so many things that I could do, and what's best out of them....

Future is difficult to discern...! And being true to myself while discerning and doing all the rest of the things I do from day to day! And I know that this is all part of the process of life, and move through it, being gentle with myself but trying to hear the spirit too. And use the people who are around me, for guidance.

And so, it is good, and a blessed time, and God speaks in many ways, even through discussion boards on the web! And it's Friday again, and I'm going to sign off, and head for dinner and a film, and wish you all a good weekend, and good discerning in whatever situations you're all in.

-- Anonymous, November 23, 2001

Dear Roisin, I really like your line on things that were expected of you when you were younger: "helping people, being considerate, (yawn...!)"

On the general lines of your first series of reflections:

This is the sort of thing that can lead people into the desert....I am reminded of Charles de Foucauld, but also of Meister Eckhart, and of a line from the instructions for zen meditation by Master Dogen: "Give up everything". And then Master Daishin's comment: "I do not mean that we must rush out and give away all we possess--it is actually much harder than that. You have, in the end, to come to a place where you go beyond all you have known in the past. Some people experience this in meditation as approaching a cliff edge which you know you need to step over, but you cannot see if there is anything there to hold you. Most of us turn tail at this point and hide. It is important then not to condemn ourselves, but accept the fear within the same loving acceptance. We then find ourselves returning to that cliff edge and maybe we turn and run again, but in time we approach it, and, almost before we realise what has happened we step off; we let go of all that we believe ourselves to be and trust the Eternal absolutely."

Finally, I am reminded of the title of John Moriarty's three volume work, "Turtle was Gone a Long Time" (he was plunging into the unknown depths--and who could say with certainty how it would end?--one could fill in: Philip/Roisin/Tom etc.... was gone a long time...)

-- Anonymous, November 26, 2001

Roisin, I continue thinking... and I come to something that has often impressed me: Jesus' statements about not parading things round to be rewarded by the estime of other human beings; but doing them, rather, in secret, "and the Father, who sees all that is done in secret, will reward you". Sometimes things can even be secret from oneself in a way.

(For reference: I am thinking of the passages in Matthew ch. 6: 1-8, 16-18 "Beware of practicing your piety before men in order to be seen by them; for then you will have no reward from your Father who is in heaven. Thus, when you give alms, sound no trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may be praised by men. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you give alms, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your alms may be in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you. And when you pray, you must not be like the hypocrites; for they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, that they may be seen by men. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you. And in praying do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do; for they think that they will be heard for their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.... And when you fast, do not look dismal, like the hypocrites, for they disfigure their faces that their fasting may be seen by men. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face, that your fasting may not be seen by men but by your Father who is in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you.")

-- Anonymous, November 27, 2001

Moderation questions? read the FAQ