I think the thing that I have hated most about the Christian church is guilt. My life has been ruled by guilt. Every day is a battle between what I should be doing and what I want to do. The church calls this your sin nature. You're supposed to feel guilty about it. You're supposed to feel terrible and deserving of punishment because of a condition you were supposedly born into. It's awful. But it's the crux of the argument. It's the reason people supposedly need a savior so badly, because we are such horrible, sinful people. No wonder I feel so guilty all the time.
I guess that is where I leave Christianity. I don't believe in a sin nature. It just doesn't make sense that one decision one person made would doom all of humanity to life without God in a burning lake of fire. I mean, come on. I know, I know. God is holy and therefore cannot tolerate imperfection in his presence. Right? But isn't he supposed to be love as well? It just doesn't make any sense to me. I just outright do not believe that a loving God would allow the vast majority of people he made to suffer so immensely because of a condition into which they were born.
But for the better part of the last ten years I have continued to feel guilty. You have read my posts about knowing how I should be living and yet not making decisions that are in line with that belief. Every day I eat food I know I shouldn't eat and feel guilty. Every day that I don't exercise I feel guilty. Every time I watch TV or spend too long lying in bed or don't clean the bathroom I feel guilty. I hate myself. I carry around these secrets of my true behavior and try to present a completely different version of myself to others. I don't want them making me feel any more guilty. It's exhausting.
Well, for the first time in my life I have been enlightened to an entirely different way of looking at my nature. I feel a lightness of being that fills me with joy and excitement about my day and my life.
Last night I went to a book store to watch Oprah's webcast of her class on A New Earth with a group of other people. I have been so moved by this book, but no one I know is reading it. So I had to seek out other people who were being moved. I was a little nervous and worried that they'd be a bunch of hippies who just wanted you to hug yourself and eat vegan. I tried to remember that that is just my ego worried about what others think - passing judgment to make myself feel better. And they were a little odd. Well, they were just regular folks trying to find their way. It was truly amazing. It wasn't like church. It was just people being moved by this energy. I imagine that is what the Quaker silent service is all about.
Well, this woman had called in to ask Eckhart Tolle a question about guilt. She said she always has this "tennis match" with her ego about what she should or should not do. She gave the examples of french fries and red wine. But rather than giving some lecture about not eating french fries and just resisting and using will power...Eckhart said, "How about the next time you eat your french fries you make it a meditation. Enjoy every single bite. See how it makes your body feel while you eat them. Then see how you feel afterwards." And it makes total sense. If you do things consciously you are aware of when you are satisfied, when your mind says more but your body says enough. It's the unconscious eating that is truly dissatisfying. But no guilt - just noticing, feeling. And when one woman said she was struggling with letting go of the ego he said - it's not something you believe and force upon yourself. This book is meant for someone who is ready, who is awakened just upon reading it. There was no judgment. In fact, he said to go enjoy her life (the form) but that eventually she would be ready for something more.
Rather than looking at it as a sin nature, Eckhart is looking at is as the ego. But we are not the ego. We are the presence behind the ego. We are the consciousness. Your true self is not the voice in your head that says, "I exist." You are the awareness that your mind is thinking those thoughts. And the ego wants and craves and destroys. We are not those things. The goal is to be free from the ego. But that doesn't come from feeling guilty and forcing things upon ourselves. That comes from living in the now, being truly conscious of this present moment. It is about awakening to the illusion of form. As you become more and more aware of the illusion you become free from it. This is what Jesus was talking about so much. He wasn't saying you had to believe in him. He was saying this is how to get free.
And you want to know something cool. This concept, the illusion of form, is a Hindu concept. And the word for the "veil of delusion" is MAYA. It refers to accepting the temporary as having lasting value, and looking for enduring happiness in this world. Once you recognize the illusion it dissolves. I think it is no coincidence that I named my daughter Maya. I think that having her has helped me to see the illusion. She is a constant reminder to live consciously.
I'm only on the fourth chapter of this book, but already it is singing in my soul. I told Marco last night that the humming energy I feel inside me is like hearing two voices harmonize. It fits with everything I have learned up to this point and harmonizes with my consciousness. I know it is Truth. I don't believe it. I don't think it. I know it in my being. I am being awakened.
2 Corinthians 5:17: Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!
Revelations 21:5 He who was seated on the throne said, "I am making everything new!"