The Mystics, Theologians, and Philosophers through the ages have spoken of this true or authentic self. Psychology is a relatively new science which also speaks of a “self” hidden beneath the ego and person of an individual. Each person’s own self is unique to him or her. William Shakespeare wrote “To thine own self be true, and it must follow, as the night the day, thou canst not then be false to any man.” This axiom is carried almost religiously as a means to the true self.
In a theological context, monk and scholar Thomas Merton said, “There is another self, a true self, who comes to full maturity in emptiness and solitude – and who can of course, begin to appear and grow in the valid, sacrificial and creative self-dedication that belong to a genuine social existence. But note that even this social maturing of love implies at the same time the growth of a certain inner solitude. Without solitude of some sort there is and can be no maturity. Unless one becomes empty and alone, he cannot give himself in love because he does not possess the deep self which is the only gift worthy of love. And this deep self, we immediately add, cannot be possessed. My deep self in not ‘something’ which I acquire, or to which I ‘attain’ after a long struggle. It is not mine, and cannot become mine. It is no ‘thing’ – no object. It is ‘I’.” ( from his book,”Disputed Questions”)