Henri Nouwen says, We belong to a generation that wants to see the results of our work. We want to be productive and see with our own eyes what we have made; but that is not the way of God’s Kingdom. We are too enveloped by our own importance, causing both external and internal pressures.
Our friendships and relations with all others can be challenged by this egocentric obsessive personality trait. On a grander scale, this egocentricity can be disastrous for many greater relationships, causing permanent damage with these relationships, or at least a permanent lowering of trustworthiness.
Internally, this obsession can cause both physical and psychological difficulties, triggering unfortunate long-term results. If we concentrate on our true inner selves, we are rewarded by better relations with others and with ourselves, William Stafford (1914-1993) says this best in his poem, “The Way It Is,” expressing what the true inner self means:
There’s a thread you follow. It goes among
things that change. But it doesn’t change.
People wonder about what you are pursuing.
You have to explain about the thread.
But it is hard for others to see.
While you hold it you can’t get lost.
Tragedies happen; people get hurt
or die; and you suffer and get old.
Nothing you do can stop time’s unfolding.
You don’t ever let go of the thread.
That thread is your true self, the one created by God. This is the self that we must please, the false self, the one concerned with our productivity and self-importance, is the one that causes our problems. Stafford says that this self is difficult for others to see; I say that all too often, it is very difficult and sometimes impossible for us to see this true self. We are too busy to allow this true self to emerge. It takes practice, and all too often, it is hiding from us. We must take the time to find its hiding place within us.
I do take the time to meditate, daily if possible. Much of my meditation is trying to contact my true self. My brain is so focused on what I have to do, what I did not do that my mediation seems unfocused. And, it is! I find it difficult to be patient enough to allow my contacting my true self. However, those days that I do reach down and allow my inner self, the one created by God, comes out of hiding. The feeling is euphoric. I come out of my period of mediation to a world that looks beautiful.
We are promised rain today, tomorrow and the next few days in Virginia. So what! By allowing my inner voice to speak this morning, the day is not a waste. The weather-forced limitation is given by God to allow me to quiet down, read, write, and stop to smell the proverbial roses.
What a truly joyous day this is.