A Sense of Sin

It seems that lately in my practice (or perhaps it has always been so), as I approach the depths of my being, the inner light, God, what have you, I hit a thick layer of self-loathing, where my failures, imperfections, and neurotic conditioning-or to use the Christian language, my sinful nature or my sins-all become very apparent. As I approach the light of the rising inner sun, all the crap on my windshield becomes oh so very apparent. At that point, my prayer runs along the lines of “Oh, my God, forgive me!” Tears come to my eyes and I want to bury my head in shame. The clear light of God seems to call me to repentance for my blindness, lack of Love, on and on, and makes me cry out in my heart for forgiveness. If I don’t run or shut down at this point, out of fear and self-loathing, all my crap, conditioning, sins, and ego begin to be transluced by the Light and I am healed, forgiven (always have been), and the Father and I are not two. There is no place to fall but God… and there is only God. Then, all is somehow beautifully, wonderfully okay: life, death, good, evil, the whole shebang. It is okay.

In this light, the only possible response from my little, forgiven, transluced self is love, gratitude, practice, and service. How to talk about such a thing? Should I write about this experience, this knowing? How to write about such a thing in the light of my integrally informed cognitive acuity? The whole of the AQAL map is nothing but God. The whole manifest universe is nothing but God, and arises moment to moment in this pure presence, or as the Tibetans would say, “The Great Perfection.”

What to do with this and how does this apply to my work with my beloved addicts? I suppose that as we approach the Inner Light that is the core of our being, we will be pressed against the walls of whatever developmental structures we have in place or have developed. At Blue, we will be crashed against the commandments; at Orange shredded on the blades of our own rationality, our lost faith, and the utter failure of the rational and logical to fix ourselves and the world; at Green, we will drown in the despair of our own compassion and inwardly curse the Creator who allows the devouring of his own beautiful sacred world. At every level, the black hole of our own inadequacies collapses us into our own version of despair. We are sucked into the void, emptied into emptiness, and finally awoken into the light.

The secret seems to be to hold the annihilation of what we think we are until we are born again. The pain and chaos of addiction becomes the mother of our transformation-to be honored as the angel of God that leads us back. Over and over, from level through level, from life to life. As Rollie Stanich recently said, God cannot not fill us when we are emptied, when we finally arrive at our nothingness.  We bow our heads in the spirit of the great Franciscan prayer… “God, make us instruments of your peace.”

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