exploring self-realization, sacred personhood, and full humanity
How To Sit Quietly
In A Room Alone
An ancient Spirit Guide, 3500 years on the other side, asserts that crushing burdens of sin and guilt are caused by humankind’s failure to enter into higher self-realization, a relationship between the thinking mind and the deeper person.
return to the "contents" page
SELF-REALIZATION, SIN, GUILT, AND ATONEMENT
Questioner. A lady in our circle has been reflecting on questions which have been life-long ideas with her as with many other people – the things which have been called ‘Sin’ and ‘Guilt’, and the associated idea of what is called the ‘Atonement’. We have suggested, after listening to teaching from you, that any ‘Atonement’ must in some sense come from or through oneself after viewing the supposed Sin and Guilt. She does not find that, as yet, a satisfying answer. Will you please try to give us some clearer ideas on this subject?
Abu. I would, by way of preamble … refer you to a phrase [which speaks to] one of the purposes of your meeting here together [which is] to come into a relationship with yourselves, and this is a phrase which will bear considerable examination.
I would venture to say … even [concerning] educated mankind [that it, mankind, is] in no sense really in a true relationship with itself, largely because the open … relationship which man should have with his own being, his own ‘ego’ … is smothered, is overlaid by accretions, by ideas and by notions, which have slowly grown up over [mankind’s sense of self]…
Editor’s note: To understand Abu here, it would be very beneficial to the reader to review the main article on “true self” versus “false self.” Abu uses his own terminology, but he speaks of the same principles which are so often referred to in many of the Word Gems writings. For example, just now, as he references “smothered, overlaid by accretions, by ideas and by notions,” he speaks to the many externals with which the “false self” identifies in order to bolster an inner sense of “not enough.”
And, for no good reason … man has generally refused to enter into a true relationship with himself [which means] the relationship of the conscious thinking part of the mind of man with the greater part of the mind of man; of which he is [so often] not … conscious. [And if a person] shall arrive at a happy and … harmonious relationship between the conscious and the ‘subconscious’ facets of his mind, then that man will be at peace within himself, and … the concept of sin will not have weight with him and he will feel no guilt, because [of] the process of self-realization…
Editor’s note: Abu’s use of the term “subconscious” is not done with allusion to Freudian lore but to the deeper part of human intelligence, the soul -- universal consciousness, our link to God -- which stands against the “thinking mind,” which tries to convince us that it is the true self.
For the conscious mind [that is, the thinking mind, the ‘false self’] cannot delve into the subconscious mind [the ‘true self’, the part of us that knows we are thinking and serves as background, wordless, witnessing presence to the thinking mind] and endeavor [for the thinking mind] to arrive at an appreciation [of the deeper, silent, witnessing part of us] and a relationship [between the two]… And so for such a one [who has successfully joined the two parts of the human mind and created a relationship between them] the subject of sin holds little difficulty. [My words here might seem glib and facile and] would appear to sweep away the project [of overcoming a burdening sense of sin and guilt] ruthlessly and without regard to the difficulties and the troubles which my sister may be experiencing within her own conscious thinking mind… but I would not wish that it were so…
This process of self-realization is not a simple one [because] the thinking part of the mind has become cluttered up … with debris, with rubbish … which inhibits the very process of self-realization, and it is necessary for a [person], before he can come to grips with himself, to throw away a great deal of the lumber which the conscious [thinking] mind is necessarily cluttered. ‘Necessarily’, because of the accident of birth in place and time, which carries with it these things [that is, the ‘lumber’ and ‘rubbish’ of the mind] and [therefore] it is a difficult process to commence consciously, because the conscious [thinking] mind has apparently no external standard by which to judge which of its contents are lumber and which are of value…
Editor’s note: “Necessarily” and “accidents of birth in time and place” refer to the cultural baggage that we drag along with us wherever we go in our mental lives. We find it difficult to escape our childhood programming. We unwarrantedly pay homage to what we were taught by fallible others. More on this from Kairissi and Elenchus, below.
cherished notions of “motherhood and apple-pie” vary from culture to culture
Herodotus (writing circa 450 BC), in his treatise on the Greco-Persian wars, comments on “nomos,” the Greek word for “custom, convention, or law.”
He talks about the arbitrariness of “nomos,” of how people become accustomed to what they know and what they’re taught in a particular culture, religion, or society.
barbarity to one, the good life to another
In Greece, Herodotus says, a certain activity “X” is considered a barbarity, something, according to his sensibilities, beyond the pale of what any person of even modicum advancement would tolerate. But, he asserts, in another society of the Near East, “X” is considered a normative expression of “nomos,” indeed, a reasonable, even honored, course of action, with the refusal of “X” deemed to be an atrocity and appallingly distasteful.
who wrote the html-code for your programming, what you believe
The great “father of history,” Herodotus, is correct, of course. That which the average person believes is simply a product of what Grandma said, the Nice Young Man at Church said, what teacher in third grade said. These early pedagogues “wrote the html code,” our cultural programming, for what would become our personal sense of propriety, of right and wrong. In popular parlance, we refer to this burdening weight of prejudicial assumption as our “baggage,” which is not easy to set aside.
As Abu intimates, the churches play on people's fears in this regard and offer "religious schemes" (see below) to offer solution; an irony, as the churches are the main part of the problem.
you can be conditioned to believe anything
Krishnamurti's lecture, Brockwood Park, England, Sept 14, 1969
"You know, there is a whole section, the Communists, who do not believe in spirit, not in a spirit, nor in a soul. The whole Asiatic world believes that there is a soul, that there is the Atman. You can be conditioned to believe anything. The Communist doesn't believe in God; the others believe in God because that is the way they have been brought up. The Hindus believe in a thousand different gods, conditioned by their own fears, their own demands and their own urges. Can one become aware of these conditionings - not only of the superficial conditionings but also of those deep down - and be free of them? If one is not free, one is a slave, always living in this rat race, and that we call living."
READ MORE, as this inset-box is featured in the "Morality" and "Reason Behind The Reason" articles.
My sister has also used the word ‘guilt’ and I would wish to define these two words [sin and guilt]. Sin then is to be regarded as the offence, be it of omission or of commission… and guilt is the feeling which follows upon such ‘sinning’…
Sin, as I have said, implies an offence… “We have done those things that we ought not to have done and we have left undone those things we ought to have done.” But to whom, against whom, is the offence committed? … against the earthly laws of the country? [then] earthly justice [will deal with this] but this is not necessarily sin.
Then, against one’s fellowman? Yes, perhaps, for sin can be committed against one’s fellowman … if you insist upon … the word ‘sin’…
Then, sin against oneself? Yes, that is possible… If you wish to offend against yourself [by doing or not doing the things one ought to have done for or to oneself] then you will [suffer] for this [infraction]; [for example] over-eating… [However] it is [more] foolishness than sin.
And now we come to the sin against God… My children, it may be difficult for some of you to accede to the words I am about to use, but I say clearly to you now that you cannot sin against God… sin against your loving Father you cannot do, for sin would imply that he will arise in his wrath and will be offended… offence implies an offended one, [but you cannot offend God]. You may cause him to weep, perhaps, but to make him arise in wrath, to offend against him, no, it cannot be.
[And why is this so?] Your Father, the great spirit … cannot only see into your heart, your Father is part thereof. The hearts of all of you are part of the Father, and how could he lack complete understanding of that which is [part of God himself]? …
I must finally touch upon this matter of atonement, if only because certain religious schemes in your world have offered various suggestions of a vicarious atonement – that one man may suffer and take upon himself the burden of sin for another… That, I reject utterly, utterly and completely. It does not matter who the man may be, how willingly he may be to suffer for another – it may not be done.
There is no vicarious atonement [as the moral universe doesn’t work that way]. Your Father demands no reparation, demands no atonement, for, as I have told you, you do not sin against him, for he understands… [even if you were to deliberately attempt to insult God] his smile continues. It will be a pitying smile, [but] he will not be cross, he will not arise in wrath; you have not offended against your Father… More than this I cannot say.
Editor’s note: At this stage of the discussion, one of the circle members comments that, despite all that Abu has said, the feelings of guilt continue. Abu becomes a little direct now:
Abu. I would administer a mild reprimand to mankind in general in this respect that he does tend to set himself a little on a pedestal in the matter of sinning, appearing to think that he is of such vital importance that he can offend against his almighty Father… [And] it is not material whether you subscribe to a certain creed, or to none, it does not matter; and in the spirit sphere, to which you must all eventually go, you will be given opportunity to achieve this self-realization, to come to grips with yourselves, and in so doing you will enter into a proper relationship with God… Further than that, I cannot go.
Do not, I beg you, do not place too high a rating of importance upon this earthly existence which you now undergo: your triumphs are petty… your sins are equally so.
Kairissi. Spirit-Guide Abu is incredibly wise and one of the great teachers in the next world. I have to admit, though, sometimes he makes me smile with his formal language. His native tongue is Egyptian, so he probably studied the Queen’s English in a textbook or some such; he certainly didn’t learn it “on the street,” playing with kids in the neighborhood.
Elenchus. I know what you mean. In one of his lectures he was talking about some major sporting event, and the phrase he used was “a match of sport.”
K. (small smile)
E. This reminds me of a story Bob Feland told. During WWII he and buddies were stranded behind enemy lines. Finally, they made it to the Allies’ front, but the GI sentry wondered if they were German spies and was considering shooting them. Bob recalled:
"We finally made it to our line, but the American sentry shouted at us to stop, thought we were German spies, and was about to machine-gun all of us! But one of the guys with me suddenly started cussing a blue streak, and called the sentry every damn name under the sun. The sentry was so shocked by this, and thought that no German could speak American like that - so he let us in!"
K. Sometimes a sentry, to weed out the spies, would ask a trick question, like, who won the World’s Series three years ago? Master Abu would have said, “Oh, that match of sport” – and that’s when the shooting started.
K. Ok, we better get serious for a minute, the author wants us to comment on the above discussion. So, buddy, what can we say about Abu’s lecture?
E. It’s strange, you know. Our light-heartedness here is so antithetical to the dark subject of sin and guilt and all that rot, which so burdens people in this world.
K. Abu gave the right answer, but when he did, it made no difference to those suffering under this cloud of gloom: “Thank you very much, but we still feel as guilty and condemned as before.”
E. But this was to be expected. Words alone, teaching alone, cannot remove that kind of poison from one’s spirit. And that’s why Abu said that the real answer is to enter into relationship with oneself. Another way of saying this is, only a ratcheting up of one’s level of consciousness can offer relief.
K. Elenchus, you’re the philosopher in the family, explain to all of us how raising one’s level of consciousness relates to creating relationship with oneself.
E. Well… the need for “relationship with oneself” means that we, most of us, are operating on the level of the false self, the thinking mind. We're certain this is all we are. We’re oblivious to the true self, the soul energies, our link to God.
K. The thinking mind is not supposed to be running things; it’s meant to play a supporting role in service to the deeper self.
E. But how many people know that? All they know is the “chattering” mind that won’t shut down, all the sad movies in the head, all the fears and regrets, the anger and the victimhood, the scheming and the “I don’t have enough.”
K. And when that’s running your life, there’s no hope of getting rid of feelings of guilt and condemnation. The dysfunctional ego just loves that stuff as a “me against the world” mentality strengthens the ego.
E. So, let me ask you: How do you help people overcome the sense of “I’m a bad person, I’m no good, I did this in the past so now I’m under condemnation”?
K. I liked Abu’s answer. He said that when we enter a realization of finding God within, we will also perceive that God is for us, and has been for us all the time, and that God could never be offended or be angry with us.
E. This is one of those perceptions that simply hearing about it will not really cut any ice. You have to experience it.
K. And how do we experience it?
E. That’s a big subject, and the author wrote an entire book, “The Quiet Small Room,” to discuss this issue. The short answer is that, as we find our true selves, as we find God within, we will learn, by personal experience and mystical perception, that there is no such thing as sin and guilt in the universe, no such thing as an offended God. Yes, people mess up all the time, but it’s just part of growing up and immaturity and, as Abu said, none of this causes God, the Divine Parent, to lose any sleep, and we need to stop thinking that any ill-advised act we might have committed would have been so shocking to disturb God’s day. It doesn’t work that way. God's seen everything and understands.
K. We should also mention that, even when we begin to perceive God within, the feelings of guilt will not surrender in one day. It will take some time. The dysfunctional ego is like a great and well-armed fortress…
…and its inflexible mental habit patterns have been constructed over a lifetime of negative thinking, and so it's well entrenched. The creation of this pathological state of mind wasn't totally our fault. Traditional views of sin and guilt were invented by the power-and-control churches to keep the troops in line. Their "one, true doctrines," as Spirit-God Abu charged, are just "religious schemes."
E. But even when we see what's happening and how we've been had, it will take a little while before a white flag flies over the fortress.
K. People need to understand this, or they’ll be discouraged. But we just need to keep at it, keep accessing the “life within” every day, and then, every day, the domain of ego will grow weaker and weaker, and before too long, we’ll begin to feel ok, the sense of guilt and condemnation will gradually be displaced by rising positive feelings.
E. The bad feelings were never part of us, the real us. We’ll soon be casting them aside -- to switch analogies -- like an old coat that we no longer want.
K. We can do this. We can take back ourselves for ourselves. We don't have to be slaves to the ego's fear-and-guilt.
E. The important question becomes, can we transcend our "nomos," our cultural baggage, our "html programming," can we grow beyond what Grandma said, what third-grade teacher said, what the "Nice Young Man at Church" said? When we do, and when we discover the life and liberty deep within, we will finally become fully autonomous, self-directing, true human beings.
Editor's last word:
Recently, with a small circle of childhood friends, I was discussing these universal issues; that of, unremitting feelings of guilt, a vague floating sense of condemnation, the playing of “sad movies” in the mind which never altogether recede.
One of our friends in particular has been laboring under a dispiriting cloud of guilt, and so I wanted to write this especially for her. Funny thing, concerning her debilitating “guilt,” she is the gentlest of creatures and least likely to require such instruction.
However, as with many of us, we're the battered survivors of Despotic Ecclesia. During tender, formative years, our “html programming” suffered injection of a “software virus,” a systemic fear-and-guilt. We can’t be rid of it so easily now. It’s like trying to delete the latest Microsoft Explorer version when you prefer to use Firefox. The system won’t let you get rid of it so easily, they’ve got their mercenary talons into you, and it's hard to break free of them.
Feelings of guilt and condemnation – misplaced, ill-fitting, undeserved – afflict the billions on this planet. This is how the “respectable” religious cults keep you in line and coming back for more ill-treatment. You can’t get away. A little "voice in your head" says, “God will be angry with me if I leave the Church. He’ll punish me in the afterlife.” None of this is true, of course, but the despairing masses, fearful of judgment to come, acquiesce to the psychological abuse. They feel they have no choice.
Concerning these same issues, I well remember another childhood friend, about 25 years ago, voicing a frantic, “I feel so guilty!” A gross anomaly, again, as she is the finest of persons. But she, too, couldn’t break away and, in a kind of split personality, continues to support Dear Mother Cult. The bloodied talons of the predator sink very deeply into her heart and spirit. She’s controlled, manipulated, does not live authentically, even though on a clearer-eyed level she well knows that the Church spreads poison with its teachings.
What shall save us from this worldwide spiritual pandemic? Something’s gotten into us, taken over our best judgment, and we can’t seem to get it out of ourselves. This "software malfunction" causes us to go through life expressing our person in a manner incommensurate with authentic desire. We seem to live according to dictates of some invisible force – an impetus that is not our true selves.
Our healing will not come from trying very hard to be good, resolving to buck-up, promising to think better thoughts, or doubling down on efforts to be more pleasing to God. This kind of intensity would be fear-based and make us more neurotic, feel more out of control. We're already pleasing to God, we're already "enough," no matter what the "little voice in the head" and Dear Mother Cult report to us.
Help for us will not arrive by attending self-help seminars, reading success-books, going to church, reciting memorized prayers, or even by listening to encouraging words of friends; this article included. All these externals, at best, serve merely as signpost to what needs to be done. No one can truly help you but you, no one can save you but you yourself. It does no good to pray for what you already have.
Editor's note: See extensive discussion in the "500 testimonies from the afterlife" article on the difficulty, and even the impossibility, of helping others directly concerning anything truly important.
A shift in one’s level of consciousness is necessary to provide release from the inner demons of cultish control by predator organizations. Consider again the advice of Spirit-Guide Abu: only the entering into “relationship with oneself” will prove efficacious to our quest for inner freedom. We are already "enough," with deficit on our part that of lack of perception not of possession.
I submit to you that the solution is not so difficult; moreover, something as needful as this would not have been made to be difficult as a labor of Hercules; in other words, God would not have made the answer so out of reach and inaccessible. There is reason why, in the New Testament, Jesus says,
“Come to me all you who are laden with heavy weights, and I will release you; for my burden is easy and light and will not crush you with requirement.”
The "voice in the head" doesn’t really believe this, though. Instead, our fears cause us to align with the smiling “Nice Young Man at Church” who works hard at power-and-control with anti-humanistic teachings, his "religious schemes." Somebody's seriously wrong somewhere.
Adrian Smith, A Prison For The Mind: "The standard definition of fundamentalism includes strict adherence to inflexible doctrines, either religious or secular. Such doctrines are variable and transitory, being in the nature of opinions, theories, or propositions, improperly elevated to the status of absolute truth by a priestly caste which benefits in status and power. Where there is knowledge (of the propositional kind), it will pass away. All truth claims eventually fail. In my book I often refer to the Wizard, the founder of our church/cult, who had his own definite ideas about what constituted 'wholesome entertainment', and this was taken as absolute truth by we impressionable students. No one dared say, “I disagree with him about that” or, “that’s just his opinion”...
Elevating oneself to a higher level of consciousness, we will be happy to learn, is not so difficult. An easy way to begin is with simple breathing exercises. Yes, that sounds unlikely, how would that ever work? And why breathing? Conscious breathing will serve as vestibule and doorway to the inner energy, the hidden inner life, which has been smothered by the egoic “chattering in the head.”
The following inset box has been offered in other articles, but it bears repeating. Consider it carefully. Additionally, for more discussion on how to gain a better level of consciousness, how to access the inner life, you’ll want to review the essays on zen, life, surrender and acceptance, guilt, fear, the three writings on spirituality, true self vs false self, the Course In Miracle's discussion of "guilt," and maybe primarily, the book on the “quiet small room.”
All the best to you.
an excerpt from Eckhart Tolle's "The New Earth"
more powerfully transformative than 100 seminars and workshops
Someone recently showed me the annual prospectus of a large spiritual organization. When I looked through it, I was impressed by the wide choice of interesting seminars and workshops. It reminded me of a smorgasbord, one of those Scandinavian buffets where you can take your pick from a huge variety of enticing dishes.
The person asked me whether I could recommend one or two courses. “I don't know,” I said. “They all look so interesting. But I do know this,” I added. “Be aware of your breathing as often as you are able, whenever you remember. Do that for one year, and it will be more powerfully transformative than attending all of these courses...”
Being aware of your breathing takes attention away from thinking and creates space. It is one way of generating consciousness. Although the fullness of consciousness is already there as the unmanifested, we are here to bring consciousness into this dimension... One conscious
breath is enough to make some space where before there was the uninterrupted succession of one thought after another.
Editor’s note: In an online discussion I added this:
Daily deep breathing, be it only 60 seconds, will be more powerfully transformative than attending 100 seminars or 100 church services.
Why is this so? It stops the “monkey mind,” the chattering in the head. And why is it so important to stop the monkey mind? The monkey mind is the voice of the dysfunctional ego which attempts to convince us, “I don’t have enough” because “I am not enough.”
Stopping the monkey mind, even a brief daily meditation of 60 seconds, over the months, allows us to realign our inner selves, attune ourselves, to Universal Intelligence. And that’s all anybody needs, today or a million years from now.