As we grow from childhood we all freely (but initially innocently) make the choice to hide ourselves from God and each other by hardening our hearts.
We betray ourselves by violating the law of love and choose to harden our hearts against God and others.
In so doing, we alienate ourselves from authentic existence and engage in numerous behaviors that injure our relationships with others.
We engage in a self-deceived way of being where we convince ourselves that remaining alienated will bring us the greatest happiness.
COMMENT: This passage resonates strongly with my own experience: that as a child my heart was open and warm but at points throughout growing-up and adult life I felt a very strong temptation to close and harden my heart; and indeed made strenuous attempts to achieve this; and indeed for exactly the reason of believing that completing the process and remaining alienated would bring me the greatest happiness - because then I would be independent of circumstances. As this progressed, however, I became increasingly alienated from authentic existence and engaged in numerous behaviours that injured my relationship with others. From this I was, more than once, by good fortune and my failure to have completed the corruption, rescued - several times by a temporary stay, then by a potentially permanent re-birth.