I’m reading Interior Castles by the great mystic Teresa of Avila. She writes this almost preposterous claim, “I do not know if I have explained this clearly: self-knowledge is so important that, even if you were raised right up to the heavens, I should like you never to relax your cultivation of it.”
Chad Harbach (an American writer) says this, “A soul isn’t something a person is born with but something that must be built, by effort and error, study and love.”
I was listening to an NPR On Being podcast called “Spiritual Boundaries in Modern Turkey.” (I highly recommend you check it out.) Towards the end of the program, a man uses the most alluring phrase – the “dialogue of life” – to describe his work in revitalizing the people and communities in Turkey.
Cultivation. Building. Dialogue.
We need these images as we think about our identities. Who you are is not simply given to you and it’s not something you ever “arrive” at. No, identity is something you create – through cultivation, building, and discussion – as you live.
This is essential life work. Yet, we don’t teach it in school, we don’t talk about it within our communities, and we go through life hardly even aware that it exists.
Here’s a call for a new and better conversation – for the work of identity, for the dialogue of life.