Richard Rohr on the difference between Essence (Real Self) and Personality and the nature of conscious prayer. April 2, 2022

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“The false self is your psychological creation of yourself in space and time. It comes from your early conditioning, family, roles, education, mind, culture, and religion. The false self is who you think you are! But thinking doesn’t make it so. The false self dies and passes away. Yet it is the raw material through which you discover your True Self in God, so you must not hate it or kill it. Just learn from it. Of itself, it does not know how to pray, because it does not understand simple presence, communion, or relationship. The false self is all about utility and “What can I get out of this?” Not bad, but very incomplete.

The True Self is not created by anything you have done right or wrong. Nor can you lose it by doing anything good or bad. The True Self is not formed by adhering to any requirements; it’s about relationship itself—the quality and capacity for connection. Only the True Self can pray. The false self will say prayers but the True Self is a prayer and looks out at reality from a different pair of eyes larger than its own. This is why in Ephesians it can say “pray always” (6:18). We pray always whenever we act in conscious and loving union with things—which eventually can be all the time. Then whatever you do is a prayer, not a recited prayer but a full-bodied, bigger-than-mind, contemplative prayer. When you are in your True Self, your prayer and your breath are the same thing.” 

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