Lancashire Methodist District


Christian meditation
Meditation may deepen one's experience of the presence of God, enhance self-awareness, and reduce stress and anxiety, valuable during this time of isolation.

Join a half-hour Zoom 'guided meditation' session, led by Peter Lumsden (Local Preacher in the Clitheroe Circuit), every Monday evening at 7.00 pm.

The sessions follow a pattern of 15 minutes of spiritual reflection, combined with a focus on breathing, leading into a period of about 15 minutes of silence.

Contact Peter Lumsden:

To watch videos from previous weeks, from 9th August 2022, onwards click 

Monday 21st August 2023

'Getting Past the False Self'

Our 'false' (separate) self is who we think we are, but our thinking does not make it true. Last time we talked about 'shedding thoughts'. Often it is thoughts which contribute to the construction, and maintenance of the false self - that which we think we are or pretend to be. It’s almost entirely created by our minds, our cultures, and our families. It is probably necessary to get started in life, but it becomes problematic when we stop there and spend the rest of our lives promoting and protecting it.

The false self is closely related with fear - fear unites the disparate parts of our false selves very quickly. The ego moves forward by contraction, self-protection, and refusal, by saying no - by turning 'inwards'. In this, all our problems are located as “out there,” never “in here.”

The soul or the True Self does not proceed by contraction but by expansion - by turning outwards. It moves forward, not by exclusion, but by inclusion. It sees things deeply and broadly not by saying no but by saying yes, at least on some level, to whatever comes its way. Can you distinguish between those two very different movements within yourself?

Our deepest identity, our True Self, our unique blueprint, is surely imprinted at our own conception. We are given a span of years to discover it, choose it, and live our destiny to the full. A beautiful example is from the poet Gerard Manley Hopkins in his Duns Scotus-inspired poem “As Kingfishers Catch Fire.”

As kingfishers catch fire, dragonflies draw flame;
As tumbled over rim in roundy wells
Stones ring; like each tucked string tells, each hung bell's
Bow swung finds tongue to fling out broad its name;

Each mortal thing does one thing and the same:
Deals out that being indoors each one dwells;
Selves — goes itself; myself it speaks and spells,
Crying Whát I dó is me: for that I came.

The poem begins with the speaker giving a few examples of how things, animate and inanimate, show their inner selves. The kingfisher catches “fire” as do the “dragonflies.” There is the sound of a rock falling in a well, and that of a hammer hitting the inside of a bell. These are the purposes of these objects and animals. Through their expression of their inner selves, they grow close to God. This is the same for human beings. If one taps into their most essential self, then they too will be inhabited by Christ and seen in a good light by God.

Painting by Leslie Gurrola