The Church is often accused of using shaming language as a way of controlling people. This may contribute to the reason behind a troubling statistic that the vast majority of people who call themselves Christian basically do not like themselves. It was one of the early Christian heresies that, in trying to make sense to the world, described the concept of ‘Sin’. Abbot Jameson, the Benedictine involved in the recent Monastery and the Great Silence programmes, described Sins as the thought that take your life away from you, and the virtues as the things that give you life and wellbeing.
So when we think of Christianity’s call to face who we really are, we meet the concepts of Shadow and False Self. Some have accused the Church of being obsessed with the shadow and the neglect of the case self, where the false self, (as the Desert Mothers and Fathers have told us sense the beginning of monasticism) is often neglected, and that true freedom and transformation and ultimately our integrated wellbeing, can only come with facing both our shadow and false self.
Our teacher in Moot on this area, is Fr Richard Rohr. He has a lot to say about how we encounter the shadow self when we try to face our inner growth needs. Read the link for more info on this here. We will be addressing what the false self is in later postings.