The "More" of Myself

The lamp of the body is your eye. When your eye is sound, then your whole body is filled with light, but when it is bad, then your body is in darkness.
— Luke 11:34

When I'm running late for the train, I will be short with my wife; I will probably forget my lunch, and I will likely drive like a maniac, speeding through traffic, cutting people off, and gunning it through intersections as a yellow light turns to red.

If I don't recognize this behavior or its causes, I will act like an ass every time I am late for the train. However, if I have a certain amount of self-knowledge--namely, that that whenever I run late, I will behave like said hoofed mammal--I will be more free to choose my reaction. Instead of being short with my wife, I can share my feelings with her; I can tell her that I am frustrated with myself for not scheduling my time more effectively. By sharing my feelings with her, she might remind me to not forget my lunch and to drive safely.

Self-knowledge is the recognition of where I am, how I am, and who I am in any given moment. It is the "lamp of the body." When I am aware of where and how I am--that is, when the my "eye" is sound--I will know who I am--that is, my whole body will be filled with light. This is the True Self, that is, the person I am in God.

When I cannot recognize where or how I am--that is, when the eye is bad--then I will have no idea of who I truly am in God's eyes--my body will be in darkness. I will only know my False Self, an idol that I have created of what I think--or what others think--I should be; I will only see the masks that I hide behind.

How can you see through these masks? Here are four ways:

  1. Be honest about your current state. How are you doing? Of course, this requires freedom, a sense of detachment from the things that prevent you from being the loving person you are called to be.
  2. Describe your feelings. Instead of describing yourself in terms of a feeling (e.g., "I am angry), describe your feelings as feelings (e.g., I am feeling angry).
  3. Share your feelings. Talking to someone about how you are feeling might help you remain objective. Remember that you can always talk to Jesus in prayer.
  4. Imagine God's love. Imagine what love would compel you to do in the situation and picture yourself carrying out whatever that action may be. We are created out of love; when we behave in a loving manner, we will see through the mask and to our True Self.

Self-knowledge does not prevent me from feeling anxious, afraid, frustrated, or angry. Rather, it allows me to recognize these feelings for what they are--feelings. They do not define who I am. They are just masks that I often hide behind. Self-knowledge gives me the choice to take off that mask and attend to the person behind it; it helps me recognize that I am  more than my feelings in any given moment.

This "more" of myself will ultimately lead me to God.