Self – False #1

The earthly desires men cherish are shadows.  There is no true happiness in fulfilling them.  Why, then, do we continue to pursue joys without substance?  Because the pursuit itself has become our only substitute for joy. TM, Ascent

Unable to rest in anything we achieve, we determine to forget our discontent in a ceaseless quest for new satisfactions.  In this pursuit, desire itself becomes our chief satisfaction. TM, Ascent

The goods that so disappoint us when they are in our grasp can still stimulate our interest when they elude us in the present or in the past.  TM, Ascent

Men who call themselves civilized do not hunt foxes because they want to catch a fox.  Neither do they, for that matter, always study philosophy or science because they want to know the truth.  No: they are condemned to physical or spiritual movement because it is unbearable for them to sit still.  TM, Ascent

Incapable of the divine activity which alone can satisfy his soul, fallen man flings himself upon exterior things, not so much for their own sake as for the sake of the agitation which keeps his spirit pleasantly numb.  TM, Ascent

Pascal sums up his observations with the remark: ‘Distraction is the only thing that consoles us for our miseries and yet it is, itself, the greatest of our miseries.’  Why?  Because it ‘diverts’ us, turns us aside from the one thing that can help us to begin our ascent to truth. TM, Ascent

[The one thing that can help us to begin our ascent to truth] is the sense of our own emptiness, our poverty, our limitations, and of the inability of created things to satisfy our profound need for reality and for truth.  TM, Ascent

We imprison ourselves in falsity by our love for the feeble, flickering light of illusion and desire.  We cannot find the true light unless this false light be darkened.  We cannot find true happiness unless we deprive ourselves of the ersatz happiness of empty diversion.  TM, Ascent

The inner, basic, metaphysical defilement of fallen man is his profound and illusory conviction that he is a god and that the universe is centered upon him.  TM, Silent

There is an irreducible opposition between the deep transcendent self that awakens only in contemplation, and the superficial, external self which we commonly identify with the first person singular.  We must remember that this superficial ‘I’ is not our real self.  It is our ‘individuality’ TM, New Seeds

The ‘I’ that works in the world, thinks about itself, observes its reactions and talks about itself is not the true ‘I’ that has been united to God in Christ. It is at best the vesture, the mask, the disguise of that mysterious and unknown ‘self’ whom  most of us never discover until we are dead. TM, New Seeds

Our external, superficial self is not eternal, not spiritual.  Far from it.  This self is doomed to disappear as completely as smoke from a chimney.  It is utterly frail and evanescent.  TM, New Seeds