“To thine own self be true.”
I could ask ten friends what this famous quote means to them and I would probably receive ten different opinions. Most would say that a man needs to know what makes him tick and follow that inner energy to self-fulfillment. I can understand this Shakespeare quote in the realm of self/ego identity.
But, what if I write self and capitalize it, Self? “To thine own Self be true.”
The ancient mystics referred to the inner dwelling of a God spirit as the Self. Christians call it the Holy Spirit. A friend of Bill W. calls it the God hole. It is the inherent inner emptiness which is intended to be filled and satisfied by an entity greater than myself, a presence which is independent of my physical identification here on earth, a spirit which I call my Higher Power.
Those of us in addiction recoveries, know that this God-hole has not always been filled with Spirit. We tend to throw everything but God to our inner desires. Food, drink, drugs, sex, materialism, the list is endless. Our lives became directed by self rather than Self.
My sobriety anniversary is coming up in January. It is much more than a date on a calendar. It commemorates the time in my life when I became “true to Self.” I became willing to fill that God hole with the intended Spirit rather than alcohol.
Richard Rohr in cac.org says that “Love is our True Self.”
“Love, like prayer, is not so much an action that we do, but a reality that we are. We don’t decide to be loving. Love is our True Self. It is where we came from and where we’re going. All spiritual growth is no more than a matter of becoming who we already are.” Richard Rohr
Am I spiritually grown-up? No, as stated in my AA literature, “we claim spiritual progress rather than spiritual perfection. We are not saints.” I still throw selfish desires into my God hole trying to appease that person who is driven by self rather than Self. I cave to greed, lust for recognition, fear, and anger. I give ego control of my destiny.
One of the promises of my recovery fellowship is, “We will suddenly realize that God is doing for us what we could not do for ourselves.” It is a revelation that through proper spiritual nourishment in humility and communion with a Higher Power, the innate human desire for fulfilment will focus on receiving eternal blessing. The drive for earthly satisfaction will diminish. It encourages me to be true to Self instead of self.
3 Replies to “who am I?”
We are works in progress. We are not nouns, but rather verbs. Always becoming, always changing. Also, there’s no right or wrong. It’s just wrong and less wrong… I mean there’s always something to improve, to add. Who we are now is not who we will be ten years from now.
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I think that this quote could be condensed to just “Be true!”. Maybe it has even more impact and meaning. I don’t know. But, being a recovering addict of many venues, truth has been the way out. My self is a horrible liar. It makes up its own facts to justify its own desires. Being true has set me free and given me life again.
Great post again, Larry! Your writing has really encouraged me. Thank you.
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“We will suddenly realize that God is doing for us what we could not do for ourselves.” The greatest gift we will ever give to ourselves, and by giving we also share it with the world. It is true freedom. great post my friend!
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