Monday, September 02, 2013

Four Splits - Richard Rohr

Richard Rohr in his daily meditations has been taking me through what he calls the four splits. I wanted to park them somewhere to mull over sometime, which is why I started this blog in the first place.

"The first split is between myself and other selves. In the first half of life (and for many in the second half also) we spend most of our time accentuating and accessorizing that separate self. I’m better than you, I’m smarter than you, I’m better looking than you, I’m healthier than you, I’m whatever. It’s all about you after this unfortunate split. We choose to over-identify with our separate self and most of our thoughts and actions are self-referential. "

"The second split is the separation of life from death.  We all pretend that we are going to live forever, and that we can avoid all forms of dying. To overcome this illusion, you must come to understand that life and death are not two, but one. They cannot be separated except by blindness and denial—but your mental ego tries to have one without the other. It splits from all necessary dying, losing, and suffering in a thousand ways. This keeps you very superficial.

"In the third split we separate our body from our minds. The mind is given pre-eminence in almost all people. The mind starts steering, judging, analyzing, fixing, controlling, and trying to dominate body and soul. Most people think they are their thinking! That’s what contemplation can help you resolve. It allows you to find the deeper self—prior to thinking about it, prior to the judgments you make and the preferences you have, and your endless mental commentary on everything...You are something bigger than your thinking."

"The fourth split is the split of the acceptable self from the unacceptable self. We use the terms “persona” for our presented and preferred self-image, and “shadow” is our denied and rejected self-image. What humans usually do is identify with an idealized image of ourselves. “What’s going to work in my group? ?... We identify with whatever our group says is admirable.

What St. Francis, and all enlightened ones do, is overcome the four splits usually in reverse order. Normally we have to face our shadow self first, then our split into our mind, thirdly our denial of death, and lastly our very autonomy as a separate human being.

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