Richard Rohr – Levels of Spiritual Development 9

Stage Nine: I am who I am

Stage Nine is what we mean by the freedom of the children of God (Romans 8:21, Galatians 5:1). At Stage Nine, I am who I am. I have nothing to prove or to project to make you think I am anything more than who I am. Stage Nine is the most radical critique of religion possible. It sees religion as the fingers that merely point to the moon. And now I am sitting on the moon! So, thank you, fingers, it was great being a Holy Catholic finger for so many years, but I really don’t need to prove that the Catholic Church is the only way to God, because I know better now. I do not need to deplete the resources of the earth and the world to militarily protect the USA, because it is only one small part of God’s kingdom.

There is no need at Stage Nine to appear to be anything other than who you really are. At Stage Nine you are fully non-dual, fully detached from self-image, and are living in God’s full image of you—which includes and loves both the good and the bad parts of you (Matthew 22:10). This is total non-duality. You are living in God’s gaze: I am who I am in God’s eyes, nothing more and nothing less. This is the serenity and the freedom of the saints.
This is the goal, yet there is no non-stop flight to this goal; you must in some way traverse all eight stages to get here, and you cannot skip one of them! But don’t try to engineer this journey; you are being led, and God will make sure you get what you need and when you need it. (You only fully know that for yourself at this last stage!)

Maybe this is what Jesus meant when he said it is “those who become like little children who will enter the Kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 18:3). At this final stage you return to that early little child that you once were—running naked into the room of life. I am who I am who I am. God has accepted me in that naked being, and I can happily give myself back to God exactly as I am. I am ready for death, because I have done it now many times, and it has only led me into Larger Worlds.

Adapted from
Where You Are is Where I’ll Meet You: A Guide for Spiritual Directors,
disc 2 (CD, MP3 Download)
and The Art of Letting Go: Living the Wisdom of St. Francis,
disc 5 (CD)

Gateway to Silence:
Open me to wholeness



Author: DanutM

Anglican theologian. Former Director for Faith and Development Middle East and Eastern Europe Region of World Vision International

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