Knowing Who You Are

04 Mar

Richard Rohr’s Daily Meditation

The First Half of Life

Knowing Who You Are

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Gentle Reader — These are not my words. I reblog the wisdom of another. BUT, after 35 or so years of counseling, prayer, pondering the human heart, mind, soul… I couldn’t possibly have summarized what I have come to know to be true… as well as these words describe. This, this short and simple disclosure, is True. May it bless you and yours — Little Monk.

The first half of life is of crucial importance. You need boundaries, identity, safety, and some degree of order and consistency to get started personally and culturally. (Conservatives are much better here, but the trouble is that they stay here!) You have to have boundaries to move beyond boundaries, without dropping the boundaries! This is paradox. It’s both-and. You have to have a home to which you can return. In other words, you need to know who you are.

You also need to feel “special”; you need your “narcissistic fix.” By that I mean we all need some successes, response, and positive feedback early in life, or we will spend the rest of our lives demanding it, or bemoaning the lack of it, from others. There is a good and needed “narcissism,” if you want to call it that. You have to first have an ego structure to then let go of it and move beyond it. Only people who have internalized some impulse control tend to be successful in life, jobs, and relationships.

If you are mirrored well by others early in life you do not have to spend the rest of your life looking in Narcissus’ mirror or begging for the attention of others. You have already been “attended to” and now feel basically good—and always will—and can now attend to others instead of yourself. If you were properly mirrored when you were young, you are now free to mirror others and to see yourself honestly and helpfully.

I can see why a number of saints spoke of prayer itself as simply receiving the ever-benevolent gaze of God, returning it in kind, mutually gazing, and finally recognizing that it is one single gaze received and bounced back. And I do believe some people receive this loving gaze from God, even though they never got it from either of their parents. Their longing and their need is so great, and grace is always there to fill the vacuum.

Adapted from Falling Upward: A Spirituality for the Two Halves of Life, pp. 4-5
and The Two Major Tasks of the Spiritual Life (CD, MP3 download)

Gateway to Silence:
Receive and reflect


Posted by on March 4, 2014 in Quiet Time, Sermon Seeds, Uncategorized


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4 responses to “Knowing Who You Are

  1. paulfg

    March 4, 2014 at 3:05 AM

    Love this book.


  2. insideheathershead

    March 4, 2014 at 3:14 PM

    Wow! I can see why you appreciate the simplicity of this. I will definitely put this book on my wish list. I only want to be a mirror of Him. I want to reflect Him in me to others. I love this quote from Brennan Manning’s “Ragamuffin Gospel”: “When a man or woman is truly honest, it is virtually impossible to insult them personally. There is nothing there to insult.” I want to live my life with this “inner poverty of spirit”. Thanks for posting this.


    • Little Monk

      March 4, 2014 at 3:21 PM

      Though I am unabashedly a Christocentric Biblicist, (inspired, inerrant, all that)… my reading is fairly eclectic, through a number of wisdom traditions. My prayer life is also a bit broader than most. I’ve never been a “practitioner” of other systems of worship, though I appreciate them. I say all that to say this… about six months ago, as I prayed, the Lord “wrote upon my heart” what He called “my mantra”… that this was, and would become, the “core prayer” of my life… the desire of my heart in moments when all other desires were stripped away from me, or seemed inadequate.

      He spoke these words, had me repeat them, and then had me just focus on them alone for a considerable time. They have become “my words”, they vibrate and resonate the core of my being in ways I do not even attempt to describe. But these words… are mine. This is the first time I share them with another, and it seems this is the moment to do so… the words are…

      “Let me disappear in You…”

      Grace — LM


      • insideheathershead

        March 4, 2014 at 3:30 PM

        Oh, Little Monk. Thank you so much for sharing those words with me. I will write them on my heart for I know they are from Him. To live a life where one can’t tell where I end and He begins… I want to disappear in Him and have Him disappear in me. Truly beautiful! Thank you again. Blessings to you!



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