Contemplative unmasking

Photo by Finan Akbar on Unsplash

There’s a certain kind of despair when we do something hurtful to someone we love.

We’ve done it. 
We’ve said the thing. 
We’ve made the remark. 
Maybe we’ve slammed our hand down on a hard surface.
We’ve messed things up. 
(And we can’t take it back.)

So what do we do?…

I don’t know about you, but my first reaction is to flee. To go hide under a rock somewhere so as to keep myself from doing any further damage.

Things get blurry in that space. Vision gets foggy. Emotions smear together. You’ve been there…

This happened to me fairly recently and something dawned on me as to why I was reacting this way. What came up was fascinating…

The reason I wanted to flee wasn’t to escape them, but because I couldn’t stand to look back at myself from their eyes.

The mask of my surface personality had been shattered. And I was terrified that they could see the person I’d been trying to conceal since childhood: an insecure kid who feels like a disappointment and has zero options.

This is where contemplative practice comes into play.

Contemplative spirituality helps us pry ourselves away from ourselves in order to reveal and heal the toxic dynamics of the human ego in the light of God’s love.

I had a false premise (that I am inherently unsafe and powerless) covered up by a false persona (that I have everything under control, so no worries). When that mask was shattered, I saw my false self reflected back at me in the eyes of someone I love.

Contemplative spirituality is an invitation to wake up and die so you can truly live.
 — Phileena Heuertz

And so, the work continues. Consciously and repeatedly removing the mask and letting the false self peel away under the radiant love of the divine.

Because this is our true nature. This is the Christ essence inside of us. We are deeply loved in the eyes of God no matter how much we believe our false selves or how many masks we place over them. God sees right underneath all of it.

This is who I want to see looking back at me in the eyes of others.