What is the substance of the false-self? What is it “made of”? All of those experiences, choices, thoughts, opinions, tastes, and preferences that I have chosen that God did not have in mind for me and which I collected due to my own weakness, my own desire for reputation or pleasure, or my own ignorance of the truth. For most people, this act of construction of a false self is, due to a culture that promotes it, seen as a great and honorable artistic journey, but it can never bring peace in life, and it ends at death.
Peace and fulfillment can only be found by answering the following questions: Who am I? Why am I here? What am I to do? Clearly, these answers are to be found by encountering the one who created you, since only the creator understands the nature and purpose of the creation. A more difficult way of putting it: God does not provide the answer: God is the answer. The reason for your being is hidden in Him, and the only way to possess it is to identify yourself with Him. This is why we must discard our false selves and seek the Self who is in God and who is God.
You are held in existence by God only because there is a point within you which is always in contact with Him. Wherever you God, unless you cease to be, God has placed a finger on you. It is this point of contact, not physical but more real than physical, which we call the heart and which is the Holy of Holies where we can meet God if only we can reach it. But it should be clear to you by now that we can never, ever reach it nor even conceive of its existence so long as we think the false self is all there is, and so long as when we say “I” we think only of it. It is superficial, temporal, and passing, but the inner abode of God is that part of us which is capable of touching eternity: it is our immortality. The false self would be obliterated if it even came near this holy place. Only by moving beyond the false self–dying to this self–can we discover the hidden temple within, and by perpetual seeking, enter into it, and by entering into it, encountering God there, and by allowing God to dwell there and to increase, while your ego must decrease, the ego fades into the shadow it always was, and only God remains, and you have then realized that you are not separate from God, and never were, and you are finally yourself.
This point of contact cannot be found through a process of emptying oneself of all desires and of all awareness, or by becoming a void. It is good to prepare, but we cannot “make it happen” by any exercise. God speaks in us, speaks our identity deep in our depths, utters our true names. We prepare to hear, but we cannot make him speak. We purify ourselves, we make ourselves supple and ready to love Truth when we meet it.
To be saved is to have the Self drawn out of the bog in which we have drowned it, from out of the muck we have piled onto it since birth. Damnation is to have this treasure withdrawn from us as a result of never having cared enough to look for it in the first place, or by denying its existence and preferring the misery of the swamp.
To abandon the search for the Self is to be “lost.” That is why the common Christian platitude about “abandoning oneself to God” should be carefully deployed.
God knows himself in all created things. When we discover our identity, it is He who discovers Himself through us, for we can only know Him insofar as He knows us, since He is Knowledge Itself.
Taking what has been said into account, meditate on the Scripture: “I live, now not I, but Christ lives in me.”
Make it your daily prayer that the Self will awaken in you, and if you do this God will make a missionary journey to you. This is the prototype of all other missionary journeys.
Some people who do not understand what the Self is, when they hear of the value of Self-knowledge, and that you are making inroads into your own depths to seek the Self, they will warn you of the dangers of self-centeredness. It is true that we are born “self-centered” and therefore “selfish,” and that this is the essence of sin, but the self in question is the fictitious self, the superficial ego, and not the Holy Self that dwells in God. That is why it is best not to tell people about your inner work, because it requires that you work very hard to alter your terms to adjust to their understanding of things, but even then they will find it difficult to recognize what you are doing as Christian, so alien is this doctrine to the modern mind.
God is present in all men, else they would disappear, and in this sense he “knows” all men, but he knows them in their true identity, which is in Him and is Him. He does not “know” the false self, and those who embrace only the false self will hear Him say at the end: depart, for I never knew you.