This meditation speaks to me sooooo much. I've underlined what meant the most to me!
Richard Rohr's Daily Meditation
Leaving the Garden
Splitting the Idealized Self
from the Shadow Self
Friday, February 28, 2014
The fourth split is when you split your acceptable self from your unacceptable self. You build a persona, a self-image that is based upon what most people want from you, reward you for, and what you choose to identify with. At the same time, you repress and often totally deny your “shadow self.” Your shadow is what you refuse to see about yourself and what you do not want others to see. Jesus simply calls it “the log in your own eye” (Matthew 7:4). It’s fully there, but you just can’t see it. And even worse, this unworthy instrument becomes that by which you see others (which is why you tend to dislike people who are just like you!). “The lamp of the body is the eye” (Matthew 6:22), Jesus says, and you need to clean the lens to see truthfully. Much of the work of spirituality is becoming aware of the biases, prejudices, and limitations through which you see the moment. It is a lifetime of painful work. It never ceases, because the ego never totally abandons its throne.
Jesus was a brilliant psychologist. He really was. He says you must clean not just the outside of the cup, but mostly the inside (Matthew 23:26). I would say that the major reason why so much religion is a waste of time is that it is mostly about external actions, rituals, and behaviors, whereas Jesus focuses very strongly on the internal (attitude, motivation, intention) and actually minimizes the external. Only an inner life of prayer helps you to go where Jesus invites us.
This split from the shadow self reaches full force in the teenage years, but many never recover. Young people are just so eager to be acceptable to their peer group and to “look good,” but unfortunately a lifelong game has begun. Carl Jung said that people who just look outside are dreaming, but people who look inside are “awakening.”
Both the idealized self and the shadow self can blind one to their best and deepest self. This, ironically, is a “field of both weeds and wheat” (Matthew 13:24f) that for some magnificent reasons God not only fully accepts but even loves. It is only we who refuse to live in this field. Rumi, the Sufi poet, beautifully says, “I will meet you there!”
Adapted from Franciscan Mysticism: I AM That Which I Am Seeking
(CD, MP3 download),
Immortal Diamond: The Search for Our True Self, p. 29, and
Falling Upward: A Spirituality for the Two Halves of Life, pp. 127-128