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Dismantling the False Self

  • is a process of liberation from the unreal
  • is God’s invitation to us to relinquish our false self so that God can replace it with His own virtues
  • happens through the Night of Sense and the Night of Spirit which make clear our deep-rooted selfishness
  • enables divine union to take place

Dismantling is also known as “evacuation”, “purification”, and the “unloading of the unconsciousness”.

  • OMOH: 72, 124-125
  • *OMOH: 67 
  • FG: 2
  • AW: 54-55
  • BP: 58, 94
  • MC: 62 
  • HC: 30-31 
  • DT& A: 47-49 

How can we possibly love the Lord with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength unless the false self has been significantly dismantled? If our strength is divided by all kinds of selfish desires, this commandment is impossible. In any case, the love of God is not something we can hope to observe on the first day of our conversion. It presupposes a lengthy process of liberation from self-centeredness.

Related Concepts




Dismantling the false self is a prominent part of the spiritual journey. The dismantling is applied to our emotional programs for happiness and our over-identification with a group.

Dismantling the false self happens most radically through the Night of Sense and Night of Spirit. God brings our deep-rooted selfishness into clear focus and invites us to relinquish it. If we agree, God takes away our self-centeredness and replaces it with His own dispositions.

Centering Prayer leads us into the dismantling of the false self and brings us into the contemplative life where we experience divine union. Here, we desire only to live out of God’s will in all the circumstances and happenings of daily life.


 Reflection: Listening

Dismantling the false self is a liberating process.

Reflection: Reflecting

Are you selfish? Do you know this is part of your false self? How is God calling you to change?

Reflection: Responding

Accept the fact of your false self and its illusory character. Avoid have-to behaviors.