A Lenten Journey, part 4: Discovering Our At-One-Ment With God
Negative energy, which is created by negative thought patterns and behaviors, causes a chasm between God and us. For the vast majority of humans, this is our modus operandi—we plod through life without giving a thought to anything other than survival. This unconscious trekking is the key to understanding the temptation stories about Jesus.
In the wilderness stories we’ve been meditating on this Lenten season, the devil in the wilderness represents our human desires: our fear of lack and limitation (Matthew 4:3-4), our hubris (5-7), and our lust for power (8-10). When our lives are guided by negative thought patterns, all we concentrate on is power and survival (and typically, survival by abusing power). These stories are meant to show us how subconsciously we live into and create negative energy.
Jesus can resist these earthly temptations and overcome these very human tests because he is perfectly attuned to God. Moreover, Jesus understands this connection. Jesus is motivated by positive thought, which creates positive energy all around and through him. He is consciously aware of his inherent God connection, and always allows God to work through him. There is no chasm between Jesus and God. They are at one with each other. This is the deeper meaning of atonement when we talk about Jesus.
The life, death, resurrection and ascension of Jesus represent at-one-ment (Oneness) with God. It’s a much more powerful and appropriate analogy than the substitutionary atonement theology that would have us loathe ourselves as unworthy creatures that need the blood of God’s son (who is, in fact, God, so it’s suicide AND filicide) being spilled for God to love us. That’s negative thought, and it has no place in our relationship with God—or each other, for that matter.
We are not unworthy. We are perfect and perfectly created. Jesus understood this and wanted everyone he met to understand this too. God loves us so much that God incarnates in the flesh as every single one of us. That’s positive thought, and it obliterates the disease most religions have forced us to believe we have for the last 1000 years.
Jesus had a conscious realization of God’s love, and, therefore, could resist the temptations of human conceit and negativity. He could perform what many people thought of as miracles. Jesus is clear, however, that all his followers should be able to do the same things as he, “and even greater things” (John 14.12). Jesus understood—and tried to teach—the power and freedom of being consciously One with God. Many of us today use the term “Christ Consciousness” to convey this deep, powerful, and natural connection to the One Consciousness of the universe.
In order to more closely experience Christ Consciousness, it’s important to shift our thinking about God. Rather than an angry, demanding, extremely human-emotion-filled entity akin to a superhuman, God must become an energetic, conscious force of unconditional love. God is more than electricity or gravity, but God is also electricity and gravity. God is not an alien being, but God is all being and all beings. God is so we too might be.
Jesus could see God in everyone he met. He saw beyond blindness, beyond earthly powers, and beyond death. This is a very freeing state of existence! Once convinced of our unity with the Infinite Oneness of God, our fear, our doubt, our uncertainty, our need to control—it all just melts away into nothingness, because all those emotions are nothing in the first place. There is no power in negative thinking other than what we allow.
The truth is very simple: We are spiritually one with God. We all have the consciousness of the Christ within us. We will all experience this consciousness at various times throughout our lives, and that experience will help us transcend the worst of times. It will probably not surprise you to learn that the easiest and most profound way to experience Oneness with God is to love. Love ourselves, and love every single person we meet as God--the same God we pray to for peace and justice. We create the beauty we want to see in the world by understanding that the beauty is already there, in every mountain, river, stream, and human being.
There is a way out of the wilderness of constant trial and temptation. The path lies within. All we have to do is look, and it will appear. Don’t be afraid to follow the paths that open for you, because all paths lead to God.
Meditation: Show me my spiritual path and enlighten our world.