I am reading Immortal Diamond by Richard Rohr in which he articulates the difference between the false self and the True Self. I would suggest that the false self is that part of us lives and moves in what Jesus referred to as the earthly kingdom and the True Self is the part of us that moves and has its being in the Heavenly Kingdom.
Another name for the false self is ego. Rohr and others I have read point out that the ego is a self we create starting from very early on to help us protect ourselves and to make our way in the world, the earthly kingdom. Extremely useful in helping us get things done, but not so useful when we mistake the ego for our True Self. Ego has characteristics that are very harmful:
1. It makes us believe we are somehow separate and alone, better than or less than others. “It is all about me” is ego’s mantra.
2. It buys into whatever the world is telling us that makes us valuable such as what we own. who our parents are, or the job we have, or our leadership role, even in religion.
3. If it is strong, it can lead to fear of anything that threatens it, to tell us that what we thought about ourselves may not be totally true.
True Self, on the other hand:
1. Brings us to a place where we see that we are all equally loved by God. When we are living in the True Self, we not longer see ourselves as better than anyone or less than anyone else. All are One. I have no reason to be intimidated by anyone nor
am I inclined to put down anyone else in order to make myself seem more right.
2. It knows that our value is not in any way connected with what we have or our accomplishments in the worldly view. I don’t have to be the perfect mom, a successful person in my career world, or have a lifestyle that is flashier than
anyone else’s. I am valuable simply because I am a creation of God. When in the True Self, I can say with conviction, “I love me.”
3. I have nothing to fear. If my value doesn’t depend on being the perfect mom, I can forgive myself when I lose it with my kids. If I blow a business deal, get a demotion, or lose my job, I may reevaluate how I managed my time, but my job is just what I do to make my way in the world. Ego may get rattled, but my True Self is continues to know that it is one with others, has value, and has nothing to fear.
Awakening to the True Self, Rohr says (and I believe), is what our most important task on this earth is all about. I myself tend to move in between True Self awareness and ego control. I am getting better as I get older. I have the support of others on the same path. I have teachers like Richard Rohr.