Forget Yourself

Curriculum Focus

  • Forget Yourself
  • Separation

Material

The Cloud of Unknowing, Edited by William Johnson, Image Books Doubleday, New York, NY, 1973: Chapter 43, pages 102 103. ****Original Text has been modified for contemporary clarity.

That onemust lose the radical self-centered awareness of one’sown being if s/he will reach the heights of contemplation in this life.

Be careful to empty your mind and heart of everything except the Infinite Object during the time of this work. Reject the knowledge and experience of everything less than the Wholeness of Being, treading it all down beneath the cloud of forgetting. And now also you must learn to forget not only every creature and its deeds but yourself as well, along with whatever you may have accomplished in service of the One. For a true lover not only cherishes his/her beloved more than oneself but in a certain sense s/he becomes oblivious to oneself on account of the loved one.

And this is what you must learn to do. You must come to loathe and regret everything that occupies your mind except the One, for everything is an obstacle between you and this One. It is little wonder that you should eventually hate to think about yourself in view of your deep realization of inherent separation. This foul, wretched lump of foundational separation is none other than yourself and though you do not consider it in detail, you understand now that it is part and parcel of your very being and something that separates you from the Wholeness.

And so reject the thought and experience of all created things but most especially learn to forget yourself, for all your knowledge and experience depends upon the knowledge and feeling of yourself. All else is easily forgotten in comparison with ones own self. See if experience does not prove me right. Long after you have successfully forgotten every creature and its works, you will find that a naked knowing and feeling of your own being still remains between you and your Infinite Object. And believe me, you will not be perfect in love until this, too, is destroyed.

Reflection Questions

  1. What are the words, phrases, or concepts that caught your attention in this material

  2. How would most contemporary psychological therapists receive the message in this material

  3. What does it mean to forget myself What interior exercises can I do to approach this relational exercise Why do you believe the author recommends this as such an essential step

  4. What are the contemplative implications of losing a radical self-centered awareness of ones own being