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Posted by Simon Parke, 23 May 2019, 11.01am


Essence is our innermost psychology and distinct from personality.

Our personality is good at operating in the world and important for this reason. It gets us places and pays the bills along the way.

But essence is our essential nature, our truest identity. The poet Philip Larkin called it our ‘primary self’ while the contemplative Julian of Norwich called it our ‘substantial self’.

Different words…but they all try to grasp the same elusive experience - and why not? For the seven wonders of the world become an irrelevance in comparison to one’s experience of this phenomenon.

Tradition describes our essence as more radiant than the sun, purer than the snow and subtler than ether.

And while it can become hidden, and disappear from view, it is quite indestructible.

It can be mislaid, it can be smothered or ignored… but it cannot be killed.

Essence is the truth about yourself, the headline news, irrespective of time and setting.

It is something ages old, though as present as your breathing.

It is a prowling lion, a surging flood, all-powerful possibility, untutored in the world but connected to eternity.

When we touch our essence, it is a moment of grace… something melts; old walls fall down; horizons expand.

Our personality washes the clothes, mends the mower, buys tickets for the show.

While our essence is.

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