Posts categorized "Philosophy"

Did you know that the word “atonement” means “at one”?

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.


Posted by Abscondo

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Can you feel the “I am” that you are this moment?

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.


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The psychological term “projection” explains a lot about what is going on in the world today

To project is to subconsciously hate something about yourself—something that you have not quite come to terms with—and then attempt to rid yourself of it by throwing it on another guilty party. This never works.

How can we purge something from ourselves—or throw it outside of ourselves—by making so much noise about it? By doing so, you merely extend the concept from you out into the world, encouraging others to see your hatred of that trait or concept as your identity.

To get angry or worked up about someone else’s traits or behaviors is only possible when we first recognize what it is. The only way to recognize something is to first be familiar with it on a personal level.

The person slut-shaming someone wants a better sex life so badly he or she is angry about it. The person who hates Trump is taking part in a toxic relationship with him as an identity.

The African American community—a community that has seen so much self-inflicted violence—externalizes this by becoming entirely obsessed with police brutality (though this should never happen either). The same can be said about the police—many of them have violent tendencies which they hate about themselves, so they project that violence upon a minority rather than looking within and confronting their own demons.

Many Christians, rather than simply teaching the lessons of Jesus Christ, would rather damn those to hell who do not take his name as their Lord and Savior. This, too, is the externalization of their own lack of faith—which bothers them to the point of outrage.

The homophobe hates his or her own homosexual feelings. Maybe it can also be said that the homosexual person who strongly hates homophobes also hates something about his or her homosexuality.

The angry mask proponent strongly fears illness and death and hates him or herself for it. The angry anti-masker fears his or her own tendency to follow rules, and attempts to externalize this by blaming an enemy.

A healthy person—one who knows the self and has honestly looked within—is not bothered by the error and false opinions of others. That which has no truth has no power over you. To give someone else’s words, actions, or traits any power is to admit that it is also in you—and you hate yourself for it. Better to just accept whatever it is you do feel and what you do want.  Come to terms with you, your life, and your community.

Could it be that what we are fighting externally is an issue we need to solve within? To understand and openly talk about this concept is perhaps to initiate healing by learning to deal with and accept our own truths about ourselves in an honest way. When this is done, the errors and opinions of others no longer are recognizable and, therefore, no longer trigger an emotional reaction. We can see it for what it is—projection—which is a terrible, unnecessary, ineffective form of violence practiced by those who would do anything but look in the mirror honestly.

Posted by Abscondo

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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.  


Posted by Abscondo

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I love you as you are

You might think I don’t know you well enough to say this, but I do love you as you are. Whatever it is you might be struggling with; I’ve struggled with it too. Whatever the sins you might believe you made; I’ve made them too.

Whatever you tell yourself is wrong with you; I’ve told myself the same things. Whatever state of depression you might be in, whatever doubt, hopelessness, or despair, whatever fears may be keeping you up at night, whatever you feel you have to hide from people, whatever you really think about people, however mad you get, however you struggle with forgiveness or acceptance; I’ve been there and done that.

Yet somehow, miraculously, I learned to love myself. Therefore I know how to love you in just the same way. I remember the moment I learned to see past all this, to grab hold of that dim ray of light inside and let it grow, and I realized in an instant that none of this was ever the truth about me—nor is it about you.

With me, there is nothing you have to hide, nothing you have to be, no way you have to change—I love you unconditionally, right now, and forever.


Posted by Abscondo

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So we’ve come to a fork in the road

622b (2)

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.

Posted by Abscondo

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Chasing meaning where it cannot be found is the source of frustration and madness.

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.


Posted by Abscondo

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How to recognize truth from illusion.

Yesterday, we learned why there is a need to recognize illusion as the source of suffering and to turn, instead, to truth—the source of eternal joy. But how can we recognize illusion or truth with any level of certainty? As the introduction to A Course in Miracles states:

Nothing real can be threatened.
Nothing unreal exists.
Herein lies the peace of God.

If something can be threatened or altered, it cannot be truth. Truth is unchangeable. What meets the criterion of being beyond threat? Nothing of physical form does—which does not mean there is no truth, just that truth doesn’t have a form.

All matter, what we perceive as “stuff”, can be easily threatened and constantly changed. Stars can turn to supernovas, worlds can end, and our bodies can be murdered. But what is beyond threat and never changes is no thing at all. It is empty space, itself.

On the surface, this may seem pointless or uninteresting. The mind only cares about form. But recognize, for a moment, that what you really care about is formless. Can you see or touch love? Where exactly is the energy of life located? Do your ideas have a shape, or does a good feeling, or can you touch safety or inspiration?

Everything we care most about is formless—it is imperceptible. If we care about stuff at all, it is only because we believe the stuff is going to somehow help us reach a good inner state—which is actually all we really care about. This is the error we are talking about—believing that we are lacking something and that it must be found in the external world.

All things arise from the blackness, the nothingness of empty space. This is the source. Nothing creates everything, and everything returns to the dimension of nothing when it dies.

You can try to swing at nothing or attack it, but your fist will pass right through. This is the empty space between the stars and planets—and that same empty space is within you in the same proportions. Inside each of our atoms, there is 99.9999999% empty space between the nucleus and the outer shell. The same is true about all matter. What is real about anything is the emptiness—the dimension of being, consciousness itself, God. Herein lies your eternal identity, which continues unthreatened after the death of the body. To know this is to die to this world and to enter heaven—which can be done now even as your life goes on.

To align with this dimension, stop taking thoughts and the stuff of the senses so seriously. Recognize that there is no inherent meaning in the realm of form. We infuse meaning into the world with consciousness, perfect love, presence. To recognize these truths is to set yourself free from illusion.

There is no truth in these words. Words are form. But look to what these words point to and be released from the suffering caused by chasing the false idols of the world. Go within, embrace the love and life energy you find there, and learn to align with it each moment.

The implications of accepting this change in perception are so profound that you see everything and respond to everything with clarity, without confusion, and effectively. This, the outcome of gaining this understanding, is what I write about and talk about each day.

Posted by Abscondo

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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.


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How can a rational, educated person turn to spirituality?

I was raised Christian. For some time as a teenager, I was a true believer and reading the Bible or going to church brought me great comfort. But in college, I learned to place my faith in rationality and reason. I realized that the stories in the Bible cannot literally be true. I came to find religion silly and declared myself a proud agnostic.

For the next 22 years, my life as a non-believer was normal. There were constant peaks and valleys, good times and bad, but I played the game and accomplished almost everything that is supposed to make us happy.

Still, I lived in a constant state of stress, woke up frequently in the middle of the night with panicked thoughts, and suffered from pain and illness. I practiced deception and was needy in relationships. In business I was dishonest and, in friendship, I was always trying to prove superiority. Somehow nobody ever seemed to agree with me about how special I was—so I tried ever harder to conquer the world.

By age 40, my approach clearly wasn’t working. My life was falling apart, and my suffering was unbearable. Could I turn to the church for comfort? No. Not only did I not believe the stories, I utterly detest institutions and do not believe they offer salvation.

Then I started reading a book called A Course in Miracles. It isn’t a religion, but it does require its students to take a leap of faith. The author, Helen Schuckman, claims that Jesus appeared by her bedside and told her what to write. Obviously, I didn’t believe that to be literally true, but found the text fascinating and kept reading.

The thing is: every word in this book—which is about the same size as The Bible—is dripping with a wisdom and truth that is beyond question. There are no inconsistencies or holes—but you do need to suspend disbelief, to humble yourself, and to accept the use of words like “Jesus”, “God” and “Holy Spirit”. These are words I had strongly rejected for 22 years—and yet slowly I was beginning to embrace them.

If you truly go through it, A Course in Miracles offers assured salvation for anyone like me—someone who was raised Christian but has not been living the faith. It is not for everyone. If it is for you, you know.

I later found that there are also other paths that deliver spiritual awakening outside the structures of religion. For some, religion offers the community, the tradition, and the stories they need which often point to a higher truth. Others, like me, are turned off by conformity and ritual, and are suspicious about the worship of stories which are not exactly true. Yet we can agree, across faiths, that there is a higher truth!

For people like me, our path toward awakening is more of an inner journey, taken in freedom, guided by direct language—but we need the right guides or we will continue to be misled by our ego. 5 years later, I have been re-reading and writing about the book nearly every day. It always offers exactly what I need, and like any spiritually alive text, each time I read it I pick up something new. This is also the case with the works of Eckhart Tolle, the Tao Te Ching, and countless others.

Everything we care about: love, feeling good, health, fun—it is of the spiritual dimension. It cannot be seen or touched—it is formless. There is a spiritual dimension of truth and it is not of this world. It does not contradict rationality, it requires not that you believe in any crazy stories, but it does require a willingness to suspend disbelief and look at reality honestly.

This is what I write about and practice each day, and I wish you the same ongoing joy, freedom, and abundance in life that I have found—which is yours after spiritually awakening to consciousness and aligning with perfect love.

Posted by Abscondo

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