What Is the True Self?

man reflected in broken mirrorWhat is the true self? You could use that term to mean “the me that God wants me to be” (per Colossians 3:3; 1 John 5:20; see a related post, “The Only I AM”). Though that may be the way some Christian writers are using it, others have drifted into the Hindu concept that “the true self is God,” which goes to the idea that we need to reach the enlightenment that “all is one” (I am God [or ultimate reality], God is me…everything is part of one big blob). “But,” you say, “the Christian book I read can’t mean that!” Well, if the book is favorably quoting an authority on the subject of true self who DOES mean the Hindu concept, then we need to ask some questions. Search the person’s name plus “true self” plus terms like “Eastern religion,” “Hinduism,” “interspirituality”…I’m sorry to say, you might need to brace for a shock.

I read a Christian article about the true self. But the writer quoted a mystic, Catholic authority Thomas Keating, not realizing that when mystics speak of the false self/true self, they mean that we need to get to our true self, which is the enlightenment that “all is one” (I am God, God is me; pantheism). Keating says that we need to “humiliate” the false self toward that end.  (Keating also somewhat ambiguously said, “Though we are not God, God and our true Self are the same thing.” Open Mind, Open Heart, p.127) The idea that “the true self is God” traces to Hinduism.

In “The Future of God,” a PBS episode of November 2014, Deepak Chopra claimed to be taking us on “a journey to a hidden dimension,” where we would connect with the source of truth, love, compassion…Where do we come from, Chopra asks? Everything, he asserts, comes from the same source: “The source of the universe is also your source.” He says that source = consciousness. He specifically said, “Your true self is God.” And he said we can get there via contemplation and meditation; and he equated that with centering prayer in the Christian tradition. He mentioned centering prayer a couple of times—very openly. (Centering prayer is another term for contemplative prayer. Mantra meditation.)

All to say, when you’re interested in a writer/speaker who talks about the true self, make sure that what he believes about the true self is…um, true.


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2 thoughts on “What Is the True Self?

  1. Off topic but still timely. Until yesterday I had never heard of a certain woman blogger/author named Rachel Held Evans but when I read she had died at 37 from a case of flu and a UTI and complications and then I researched her books and affiliations it seemed like a cautionary tale. She wrote and said some shockingly anti-Christian things and aided and abetted some pretty awful people. People should consider.

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