Why Go Away?

First, this is worth quoting at length:

In saints you find that perfect humility and perfect integrity coincide. The two turn out to be practically the same thing. The saint is unlike everybody else precisely because he is humble… Humility consists in being precisely the person you actually are before God, and since no two people are like, if you have the humility to be yourself you will not be like anyone else in the whole universe. But this individuality will not necessarily assert itself on the surface of everyday life. It will not be a matter of mere appearances, or opinions, or tastes, or ways of doing things. It is something deep in the soul.

Thomas Merton, New Seeds of Contemplation

This is the essence of it: you get away because the truth of the matter is that, as much as you’d like to be otherwise, you really do not know yourself (yet).

You tell yourself in the busy-ness of life that you are your thoughts and your beliefs and your experiences and even your brokenness, but when you get quiet enough and humble enough, you realize that who you are is deeper than that.

You need to release all of the distractions, and go deeper than the surface. To hear the voice of God in that mysterious silence who will begin to tell you who you REALLY are: which starts with “BELOVED.”

From there, you can realize that so much of who you think you are in your day to day life is nothing but illusions and tapes installed by years of struggle and fear. The deeper water of true identity and humility linger underneath.

And so you begin to become yourself at last.