…billions of points of light coming together in the face and blaze of a sun…
One of my directees was asking me about God within and our true self this week. In response I once again call on Richard Rohr as he has written extensively on this topic. He talks of the “Immortal Diamond” inside. I see this as the place we are truly us, free of ego and of all that we’ve collected and had placed on us over the years. It is the place within us where we and God are in union, are One and where we are fully alive, whole and free.
Richard Rohr wrote a wonderful blog based on a long quote from Thomas Merton. The rest of this blog is mostly him with a little of me thrown in…
Beginning with Thomas Merton’s inspired classic description of the True Self:
At the centre of our being is a point of nothingness which is untouched by sin and by illusion, a point of pure truth, a point or spark which belongs entirely to God, which is never at our disposal, from which God disposes of our lives, which is inaccessible to the fantasies of our own mind or the brutalities of our own will. This little point of nothingness and of absolute poverty is the pure glory of God in us. It is so to speak God’s name written in us, as our poverty, as our indigence, as our dependence, as our birthright. It is like a pure diamond, blazing with the invisible light of heaven. It is in everybody, and if we could see it we would see these billions of points of light coming together in the face and blaze of a sun that would make all the darkness and cruelty of life vanish completely. . . . I have no program for this seeing. It is only given. But the gate of heaven is everywhere.
Most people spend their entire lives living up to the mental self-images of who they think they are, instead of living in and from the “I” that is already good in God’s eyes, the “I” uncovered by sin, uncluttered by illusions and falseness. All I can “pay back” to God, others or myself is who I really am underneath all that is false. This is what Merton is describing above. It’s a place of utter simplicity. Perhaps we don’t want to go back there because it is too simple and almost too natural. It feels utterly unadorned. There’s nothing to congratulate myself for. I can’t prove any worth, much less superiority. There I am naked and poor. After years of posturing and projecting, it will at first feel like nothing.
But when we are nothing, we are in a fine position to receive everything from God. As Merton says above, our point of nothingness is “the pure glory of God in us.” If we look at the great religious traditions, we see they all use similar words to point in the same direction. The Franciscan word is “poverty.” The Carmelite word is nada or “nothingness.” Jesus speaks of being “poor in spirit” in his very first beatitude (Matthew 5:3).
Paul would call it who we are “in Christ, hidden in God” (Colossians 3:3). It is who we are before we’ve done anything right or anything wrong, before we even have a conscious thought about who we are. Thinking creates the separate self, the ego self, the insecure self. The God-given contemplative mind, on the other hand, recognises the God Self, the Christ Self, the True Self of abundance and deep inner security.
For more on the “Immortal Diamond” I recommend this book… Immortal Diamond by Richard Rohr