What to Do When You Can't Find Your True Self
Our True Self is surely the "treasure hidden in the field" that Jesus speaks of. It is your own chunk of the immortal diamond. He says that we should "happily be willing to sell everything to buy that field" (Matthew 13:44)—or that diamond mine! Could any one thing be that valuable that we would sell everything for it? In all the Gospels, Jesus is quoted as saying, "What will it profit you if you gain the whole world and lose your own soul?" (Matthew 16:26), and the context invariably implies he is talking about something happening in this world. If you find the treasure hidden in your own field, then everything else comes along with it. It is indeed the "pearl of great price" (Matthew 13:46) to continue our precious gem metaphor.
The early Christian writers tell us that this discovery of our True Self is also at the same time a discovery of God. I have far too often seen the immature and destructive results of people who claim to have found God and do not have even a minimum of self-knowledge. They try to "have" God and hold onto their false and concocted little self too. It does not work (1 John 4:20). I have also met many who appear to know themselves and do at some good levels, but not at the largest and divine level; they have to keep scrambling for private and public significance by themselves and in their mental ego. They still live in a separate and very fragile self.
Some who use the language of integral theory or "spiral dynamics" call it the "mean green" level: these are people who are just smart enough to dismiss everybody below them as stupid and everybody above them as falsely spiritual. A little bit of enlightenment is a very dangerous thing. I have seen it in myself, in many clergy, and especially in the arrogance of many academics, early feminists, and loners who can never trustfully belong to any group and seem to believe they have the only correct ideas. Their "smartness" makes them also mean or arrogant, and we intuitively know this should not be true.
The two encounters with a True God and a True Self are largely experienced simultaneously and grow in parallel fashion. If I can do nothing more in this book than demonstrate why and how this is the case, I will have achieved the best purpose here.