To atone (at-one) is to be at one, or in union. The word describes a state in which you no longer perceive yourself as separate from other people, from God, or from the universe.
Christians normally use the word to mean something like “confess your sins, humble yourself, come to church and acknowledge Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior.” But this is not the real meaning of the word. This version is not even atonement because, to start with, a person using the word in this way is suggesting that we ought not to be at one with other faiths.
The real meaning of the word points to real salvation. A person living in a state of atonement is honest about everything all the time and is no longer split into pieces. Here there is no perception of duality, no good versus evil, everything is one and is part of the greater good pervading everything.
Atonement is a state of being that is beyond thought and aligned with perfect love. Here there is no sin because sin is only the error of thinking and doing without love.
To live in the state of atonement is to experience joy and peace as normal and ongoing. It is to respond to inspiration within, to live in such a way that you are wide open to people. You can easily experience whatever is happening externally because none of it has the power to shake you or bring you down.
To atone for your sins means to end the errors of ego and live at one, in truth. This is salvation, escape from ego, awakening to consciousness, or spiritual awakening—a state of union, oneness that is beyond all words and concepts.
Posts categorized "Happiness"
To atone (at-one) is to be at one, or in union. The word describes a state in which you no longer perceive yourself as separate from other people, from God, or from the universe.
A spiritually awakened person is someone who has learned not to lose that connection with awareness each moment. Everything happening in any situation, any thoughts of past and future—this is all going on in the background of life. Front and center of your awareness is always the present moment—now.
Noticing everything around you—the sights, sounds, textures, colors—helps you to become more aware of now, but even this isn’t the ultimate reality of now. This is still the background.
Try it now. Look around the room for a few seconds. Can you feel this moment becoming more silent and still? Can you feel that here is all the power? Here exists all of reality, now and eternally.
Most people fail to seize the power of now because they are waiting for some imaginary point in the future. As Eckhart Tolle explains, “it is not uncommon for people to spend their whole life waiting to start living.”
The power of the present moment is also denied when we believe we are limited by the past. But the past is not here, and neither is the future. These are only ideas, concepts, and they are never exactly true because our minds cannot grasp the entirety of reality—which only exists here, now.
Some of the present reality is visible to you here, most of it is beyond your physical perception because it spans the entire universe. Always moving, but it is all here as we move and adjust with it…now…the only field where everything is happening, will happen, and ever has happened.
Join everyone in your life here. Stay here as you feel each movement, enjoy each step, notice each feeling inside you. Become aware of your breath and observe each thought. It isn’t your mind doing this. This is the real you—the conscious observer of your mind and your senses, who is inhabiting your body during life in this dimension.
Through a meditation practice and a basic spiritual practice, you can live in such a way that you are never pulled away from the present moment—the dimension where you are easily able to access all power. All the stuff of life will be allowed to happen, but now it is happening around you, for you, as you live in this peaceful stillness, greater comfort, and safety.
Here you are more effective, make better decisions, and get everything done calmly. No matter what you are doing, you never get worked up or pulled away from that natural state of joy. You never become ill and remain vital even into old age because your body is functioning properly. Here you are fully alive and unafraid even of death. Life is better here.
The world’s definition of success is to win the battle against yourself. Think about how insane such a victory would be.
If you sacrifice more, fight harder, work yourself to the point of exhaustion, and if you play your roles flawlessly; then the treasures of security, riches, fame, approval, and recognition are supposedly yours, right? Isn’t this the world’s basic lesson?
Because we know how impossible this battle is, we admire those who achieve worldly success very much. But what exactly are we admiring, and what exactly is everyone trying to defeat?
This is a battle where we attempt to think, say, and do exactly the opposite of how we feel, who we are, and what we would like to do. Why would anyone want to win this war? What could possibly be won in a victory over ourselves?
Is a true victory found in the defeat of the self, or in the full alignment with it? The true self—our life force within, our divine love, our endless creativity, passion, and desire to be free (all those honestly embarrassing truths that we have been taught to hide and repress)—success is what happens when this part of us shines and when we stop carrying the weight of all those dimming expectations of the world.
Success, by the world’s definition, would be death to the self—to the real me and the real you. The path only seems bearable to the extent that we fail. If it were even possible to succeed completely, by the world's definition, it would be no success at all.
This is what Jesus spoke about when he referred to gaining the world but losing the soul. All value is in the soul, spirit, the life force within, consciousness—this is who we are. We create value not by hiding this self; rather, by extending it through loving creation and service. This is true success because it brings not only material abundance and recognition, but also ongoing joy and everything we do want.
Before 2020 and the so-called pandemic, it felt like the road was straight and steady. It was never exactly a smooth ride and the views were not great, but we were traveling it for such a long time that it all felt so familiar.
Then came a fork in the road. Even as all the so-called leaders and their unquestioning followers are pointing us clearly toward the paved road on the left, deep down we are questioning whether it is the way.
Gazing down this road, every sign appears incomprehensible, senseless, and confusing. We are told to trust our old guides, to believe they know what they are doing as they continue to assure us that this is the path to safety. And yet, all we see when we look in this direction is insanity with no end.
Is this not a road to nowhere, paved with fear? In truth, they are offering us only violence, confusion, sacrifice, and sickness. This is not like the road we have been on, and not one we would wish to take if there were a choice.
Thankfully, there is a choice. To the right, there is another direction. This road is paved with love. Here, the signs teach us always to forgive ourselves and others, to be our good selves and have fun, to accept reality, to speak honestly and seek truth, to enjoy each moment, to celebrate beauty, to live in perfect health, to create abundance by serving one another in freedom and inspiration, and to teach love to all those along the way who do not know what love is.
The right path is not a fearful road or a difficult journey, so it should not be a difficult decision at all. But it is unfamiliar.
A real choice must be made. Now that we can no longer go straight ahead, we all must choose either the path of ego on the left or the path of unconditional love on the right.
Thankfully, there is some time to learn about these two different roads, and time to contemplate this decision. But there is not much time, and the wrong choice could be deadly.
Yesterday, we learned about how the world of form contains nothing real or true because it is constantly changing. Yet we think certain things, certain concepts or affiliations, have meaning. This can only mean one thing: we assign meaning where there is none.
This is illusion-making, and what we give meaning almost seems to have it...but never quite. It is in this space of "never quite" that we suffer. Chasing meaning where it cannot be found is the source of frustration and madness.
We might believe in a particular religion, but this form never quite delivers true salvation. We might then place our faith in a political movement, but no party or government is going to solve the problems of mankind. We might chase wealth in an attempt to buy comfort or status, but this involves only great sacrifice. If we seek to fulfill inner needs in the dimension of form, we will only seek but not find.
But the world's faith in illusion is so strong that this is so rarely explained. We cling to these illusions, talk about them, celebrate them, build them up...always believing that other people have found the path to happiness in this way...that it is possible. To maintain this world of illusion, such dishonesty is a must.
We cling to all these illusions as though recognizing truth would leave us disillusioned, in despair. This is a complete misunderstanding of what truth is. Truth is love, beauty, inner peace, perfect health, fun, enjoyment. Everything we want is found only in truth. If there is any feeling of disillusionment, it is only the first step. After that, all the steps that follow are like walking the stairway to heaven.
Illusions carry only guilt and suffering, sickness and death, to their believers. The form in which they are accepted is irrelevant. No form of misery in reason’s eye can be confused with joy. Joy is eternal. (A Course in Miracles)
“Reason will tell you that the only way to escape from misery is to recognize it and go the other way. Truth is the same and misery the same, but they are different from each other in every way, in every instance and without exception. To believe that one exception can exist is to confuse what is the same with what is different.” -A Course in Miracles
The question here is why we should care about illusion vs. truth. Illusion may produce boosts of pride or pleasure—maybe even the temporary feeling of happiness—but it is always short-lived. Interestingly, the price of this happiness—always paid in suffering—is always greater in measure. Thus, our suffering increases as we age and the need to find joy becomes evermore urgent.
It should bring great comfort to understand that, as the course puts it, “illusions must give way to truth, not to other dreams that are equally unreal.” In reality, illusion always does give way to truth—it can be no other way. This appears to take place in time, as our bodies age and we eventually die. Whatever illusions we were clinging to are then instantly gone, and we are released to the dimension of truth, where there is eternal joy if we are prepared for the transition.
But if we wish to end suffering, to experience eternal joy, and to awaken the world from this hell now, we can recognize truth from illusion while we are still alive. These illusions all exist in the external dimension of physical form. Seek meaning or release from suffering there, in the external world, and you will only find more of it.
Truth is in you. It is beyond even words and concepts, which are also form. But there are words and concepts which point to it—such as "God", “perfect love”, “consciousness”, “being”, or “presence”.
The purpose of establishing a daily spiritual practice is to recognize and align with truth each moment. You can still take part in the illusions. You can play the game of life and dance the dance—but in a way that you are not expecting it to save you from suffering or bring you joy.
Our purpose here is not to seek salvation in the external illusions; rather, to recognize the truth within. Tomorrow, I will describe in more detail how to recognize truth vs. illusion. Today’s post was about why, tomorrow’s will be about how.
Most people do not know that it is possible to live without ego controlling our emotions and behavior. Transcending the ego is far easier than living with it—it’s just that people don’t know exactly what the ego is and what it does.
So here are my top 12 signs that a person is stuck in the egoic state of existence:
- You are afraid. Worried thoughts that are believed cause panic and fear, which leads to stress, loss of sleep, ineffectiveness, and exhaustion.
- You get angry or attack. If something that someone else does causes your heartbeat to accelerate, pulls you into an argument, or leads to any sort of mad reaction, then you’re still giving control of your life to the ego.
- There is someone you have not forgiven fully. Non-forgiveness is always the ego’s attempt to blame something external for the suffering that, in fact, it is causing.
- You don’t enjoy the present moment. Your mind keeps pulling you to problems or situations of the past or to worries and hopes about the future. Now never quite feels good enough or right.
- You experience wild emotional swings of ups and downs. Every thrill or high (which you usually get from an escape or boost to your pride) is followed by a low that is even more severe (depression).
- You feel the need to change the world to be happy. You tend to control other people and situations—and get frustrated when it doesn’t work.
- You are jealous, suspicious, and afraid to trust. You are taking personally what other people might choose to do for their own reasons. You feel that someone is going to cause you harm—that they are against you.
- You attach a set of rules and expectations to love. That isn’t love; it’s an arrangement. Real love is unconditional, open, and accepting without any limits.
- You break or avoid relationships. The ego always seeks salvation by separating from others. When your ego gets bruised, you run.
- You are frequently ill or suffer from an addiction that makes you feel lousy.
- You feel a need to be right or better than others. The ego will argue, debate, brag, or do whatever it takes to prove superiority. Obviously, this is harmful to relationships.
- You lie. The ego believes it can keep its own reality hidden. Of course, lies are always eventually exposed and, in reality, do not work.
This is not a perfect list. In fact, I could easily add 12 more symptoms of ego—all of which are considered perfectly normal in this insane world. Nonetheless, anyone can see that the ego causes problems that nobody would want if there were a choice. There is a choice.
If I recognize any of these signs in me, I observe it, acknowledge that it is ego, and re-commit to aligning my thought system to perfect love. Others choose a conscious practice of present moment awareness. A practice of always telling the truth and wanting only truth will also destroy the ego.
If you can break any of these habits, then the ego is losing its grip. If you can love unconditionally, if you can eliminate fear, if you no longer feel anger or jealousy sweeping over you, if you no longer feel the need to debate, if you can forgive everyone by seeing error and trying to lovingly help the correction—then you are one of the millions of people in the world who have awakened from the ego, which has been the cause of all the world’s problems for several thousand years. By merely look at ego and recognizing the illness, we can evolve beyond it.
Saying no to what we don't want requires some bravery, but it is only the first step toward claiming freedom. Too often, we get stuck on the level of resistance and eventually end up in a sort of paralysis where no positive steps are taken toward what we do want.
The best way to resist something we do not want is to take the opposite journey toward what we do. The best way to end a bad relationship is to open your heart and mind to a perfect one. The way to break an unhealthy behavior such as an addiction is to become obsessed with healthy habits instead. Likewise, if you are going to quit a low-paying job, do so by starting a high-paying business.
Too often, we claim our power to resist something seen as negative only to end up waiting around for someone else to bring us what we want. This doesn't work. Politicians are not going to save us. The economy is not going to be fair. The next romantic interest is not going to make anyone happy. More likely, the cycle of resistance and waiting around will only continue.
Focus on what you do want. Openly and honestly do exactly what inspires you because doing is knowing. This is how you move forward in life and get unstuck. You find out what something is and what it isn't. This is the proactive approach to life, and the only way to be and to experience everything you want during your stay in this dimension. Enjoy!
We are afraid to look within—to explore our inner dimension honestly and deeply—because we are afraid of what we might find. We’re afraid that we will see our own darkness, ugliness, and errors—and that this is the truth about who we are. But anyone who has ever looked deeply within has found just the opposite.
What we have found by looking within is that we are good. Do you not believe you are good? Deep down, everyone does. So why the fear to look within?
To truly look within is not to find guilt; rather, to recognize that all the errors, all the violence, and all the dishonesty in your life is from the external. Sin is of the world, not within us. It is only our belief in a violent, dishonest world that leads us to attack others and do harm.
We lie and treat one another violently only to the extent that we believe in the violence and dishonesty of the world—to the extent that we believe in the media and other centralized institutions of power. To put our faith in these violent institutions is to carry out their violent agendas against our brothers and sisters; hiding the truth of our goodness while causing others to needlessly suffer.
If we look within and come to terms with what we already know to be true—that, at our core, we are pure love and goodness—then we must speak the truth about us and the world. This is what we fear most because we believe the world will punish us for it. The opposite is true.
The world already punishes us though endless, escalating sacrifice and abuse—but this stops when we learn this very lesson. Once it is learned, personal suffering ends because we are immune to the horrible effects of the sick thought system of violence, fear, and abuse. This is the escape from ego and, when this happens, love becomes the only thought system, honesty the only language, and perfect joy the only state of being.
Faith and vision and belief are meaningful only before the state of certainty is reached. (A Course in Miracles)
“In Heaven they are unknown. Yet Heaven is reached through them.”
These teachings are simple and are ultimately about just one thing: establishing complete certainty about love. This—the entering of heaven now, the awakening from the world’s dream of hell in this life and for eternity—cannot be achieved without first taking a leap of faith and trusting an inspired vision.
It is only through faith, vision, and belief that perfect love can be applied and put to the test in reality. Only when love is practiced completely, in every situation, can the truth about love be proven. This is how certainty is reached, and then there is no sliding back into confusion.
Establish faith, see the vision, and believe that perfect healing, total success, joy and salvation are possible. This is an inner journey that requires no sacrifice at all; rather, that you stop holding back your goodness, your truth, your passion, your freedom, your beauty.