Richard Rohr is a Franciscan priest and founder of the Center for Action and Contemplation. He is well-known for his many books and recorded teachings. He writes regularly for Radical Grace, his Center's publication, Sojourners, and Tikkun. Rohr is profiled on Spirituality & Practice as a Living Spiritual Teacher. For more information on his work visit www.cacradicalgrace.org.
Immortal Diamond (the title is taken from a line in a Gerard Manley Hopkins poem) is aimed at secular seekers and thinkers, believers and non-believers alike, and that huge disillusioned group who describe themselves as being in recovery from religion itself. Using the peripatetic style of Socrates, Rohr bolsters his exploration of the soul, the True Self, and the resurrection with Scripture, tradition, and inner experience.
Those who discover the riches of the Divine presence within are seized by joy. The author quotes St Catherine of Genoa shouting through the streets of town: "My deepest me is God!" And then he points to Colossians where it says: "The mystery is Christ within you — your hope of Glory!" (1:27)
Most of the spiritual traditions point out that we have forgotten who we are: a kind of universal amnesia is the problem. No wonder Jesus refers to our True Self as a treasure hidden in a field. In Acts, Paul and Barnabas lament the fact that many of their flock do not think themselves worthy of heaven. Those who are fortunate enough to wake up to who they really are experience a rush of ecstatic joy and a lightness of being since they no longer have to prove themselves to anyone. Tapping into the immortal diamond means that you have an alternate to the False Self.
Rohr talks about the False Self as the "small self" that involves four splits from reality:
"1. We split from our shadow self and pretend to be our idealized self.
"2. We split our mind from our body and soul and live in our minds.
"3. We split life from death and try to live our life without any 'death.'
"4. We split ourselves from other selves and try to live apart, superior, and separate."
These preoccupations often are solidified into addictions we cling to with all our might. But do not despair, grace opens the door. Rohr states: "Once you have encountered this True Self — and once is more than enough — the False Self will begin to fall away on its own accord. This will take most of your life, however, just as it did in Jesus."
The True Self rejoices in one of the meanings of the resurrection that is overlooked: we are larger than life! We are meant to incarnate love and truth in the precincts of everyday life. This ongoing holy mission is part and parcel of the divinization process. Love is stronger than death — this proclamation is one which undergirds the freedom and the transformation that come with acceptance and appreciation of our True Self with all its radiance, energy, and power!