The Risky Journey to the Self - Essay Example

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The writer of the essay "The Risky Journey to the Self" analyzes the words of Robert Lawton and suggests that "journey to be oneself" seems like the riskiest of all journeys, but it is the only way we might truly understand ourselves and therefore find our way to salvation…
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The Risky Journey to the Self
In his homily at the Class of 2005’s Baccalaureate Mass, LMU’s President Fr. Robert Lawton, S.J., said: “So what is the answer to this deep insecurity we all feel? The answer, I think, is to embrace the adventure of becoming deeply, and fully, ourselves. This is what God is really calling us to. It seems like the riskiest of all journeys, this journey to be oneself. But it’s ultimately the journey that leads us to happiness, that leads us into God’s dreams for us.”
In coming to understand the world around us, we are more accustomed to looking out and judging what we see based upon ideas that exist on the surface of our being instead of why we might feel that way. The journey to the self is a direction of focus we’re not used to and we are terrified of what we might find there. Since we don’t usually look this way, we are not certain of the terrain and this presents a source of inner tension. On the one hand, we understand this is fundamentally who we are so we should be very familiar with the territory. On the other hand, we have to admit that we really don’t know the ground and therefore aren’t as familiar with who are what we are as we thought. Examining our ideas and beliefs, understanding why we hold these beliefs and ideas, can reveal elements of our personality that aren’t as pretty as we’d like them to be. Discovering these monsters within is much like finding a sleeping dragon in a cave, unaware it was there and finding ourselves confronted with a fire-breathing, claw-wielding giant that must be subdued or defeated before we can move on. This unfamiliar darkness and possibility of danger is why Fr. Lawton says this type of journey within the self “seems like the riskiest of all journeys”, but it is the only way we might truly understand ourselves and therefore find our way to salvation.
As I move forward in my education, I am sure I will encounter many situations in which I will need to confront my inner self. I will be tested with moral and ethical challenges and, being a fallible human, I won’t always make the correct choice at the time. Challenging the comfortable beliefs I was brought up with will be frightening, and taking responsibility for my own ideas will be even more frightening. There may even be many times when I’m not even aware that I am testing my inner beliefs, but the consequences or later reflection will reveal my choices to me and force me to face elements of my character that are not what I envisioned myself to be. The sooner I examine things that happen to me and because of me, the sooner I will begin to understand myself and the beliefs and ideas that are important to me. I will later need to come to grips with the decisions I’ve made and how they’ve shaped my life, why I made those decisions and begin to define my individual understanding of the world. Finally, I cannot truly say I believe something unless I have tested those beliefs and ideas, know where they have come from and be assured within myself that they are consistent with how I view myself. Once I have overcome the fear of undertaking the ‘risky’ step of facing my inner self, it will be easier for me to face future challenges, always developing my definition of myself to greater and greater detail and depth. Read More
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