Dave Brisbin 9.6.20
I have been talking with people, so many lately, who have suffered tremendous loss. Seems almost like a flood of loss floating on top of the collective loss we’ve all been experiencing this year. Loss of parents and children to death, overdose, loss of jobs, careers and vocations due to Covid and financial downturns. Losses that fundamentally change the ground of a person’s life. Losses that ask a common question of all of us: who are we when we lose a defining part of our lives? We naturally see our identity in terms of the roles we play, the accomplishments we achieve, and the attributes we display as humans, but anything that can be taken from us is not our identity, and everything it means to be human is taken at death, which is why we fear it—who are we then? If you think about it, all our fears in life stem from the basic fear of loss of identity. When we assume we are the voice that talks to us in our heads, the egoic mind, the “false” self or small self of Thomas Merton, we are continually defining and defending ourselves. But it’s a case of mistaken identity.

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There is a deeper self that resides beneath our ability to describe or even think about. We can’t find it directly, because that would involve the mechanics of our minds, our small selves that limit such experience. Our true selves cannot be thought about, only experienced—because it’s only in the flow of present experience that we will connect with the ultimate reality we most often call God that reflects back who we really are. It all comes back to practicing presence. When we are truly present, the small self is finally silent, and in that silence we will find all we need to come home.

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