Monday, September 28, 2009

At-One-Ment & In-To-Me-See

The word, atonement, is not one that I ever wanted to have in my vocabulary. It always brought to mind thoughts of nasty paybacks, punitive justice, harsh karma, penance and repentence. When I thought of atonement, I'd envision Christ suffering on the cross atoning for our sins. Not something I wanted to focus on.

After today, I no longer feel the same way about this word or the concept in general. The thought of redemption through atonement is now something I might even look forward to if it is needed, because I finally got the courage to stand in it, be with it and look it in the eye and see it for what it really is. For on the other side of making amends, humility and surrender (to my own soul) was not a brutal punishment or a defeating humiliation, but a chance to be as be at one...with someone I dearly love... and with myself...and with the world. Atonement gave me the chance for reunion, reconciliation and a measure of closeness and intimacy that I might not have otherwise experienced... A gleaming jewel in the muck.

a·tone·ment /əˈtoʊnmənt/
1. satisfaction or reparation for a wrong or injury; amends.
2. the doctrine concerning the reconciliation of God and humankind, esp. as accomplished through the life, suffering, and death of Christ.
3. the experience of humankind's unity with God exemplified by Jesus Christ.
4. reconciliation; agreement.

I found out that when you walk INTO the pain of what you are experiencing, that it may be a mixed bag, but there is treasure in the dark inner place. This religious language that evokes images of self-flagellation and suffering, "atonement" is not a word I thought I'd come to admire. But after I went with it, went into it and saw that what I had judged in another, what had wounded my psyche was EXACTLY something I had done myself. I experienced that the perpetrator and the victim are one.

In the process of reverse engineering my thoughts and not ignoring my feelings, talking openly, praying, meditating and asking for guidance all was revealed. The truth was just there, exposed and vulnerable, but free of anything unclean, no dirty, heavy energy. It just floated up into conscious thought. And it was in that moment that we became as one.

I have always said that we are each other's own personal Jesus Christ. We are each other's saviors and we are saving each other from ourselves. We do this by reflecting back the worst and the best of each other. Sometimes, oh boy....that can be pretty hard to take. In fact, when you do not love yourself, to have your "faults"so clearly highlights is excrutiating.

In the past, when my love for myself was not so apparent to me, I would run. Not physically, necessarily, but emotionally I would curl up into a tight little ball. Oh, on the outside would be what I now call the death smile...the smile that hides a cracking heart. And it is true...the mere act of smiling has a powerful effect on human physiology. A smile can hide alot of sorrow, and sometimes it can make things OK. But sometimes not. And if this becomes one of your coverups for an addiction to running away, you've just done the physical equivalent of putting a smiley face sticker on your gas tank. Because now it's all covered up in goodness and we are just surviving the lie. And it will take a great deal of pain to crack through that exterior.

I want you to know that there is great power in walking into the darkness and remaining vulnerable. It takes great courage and great love to do so. Through the power of true love...true love for myself....for another...for my fellow man I have vowed to wipe that stupid smile off my face and let the real me come forward. The truth does not need to be edited by my smiling face. The truth is the substance of life. And when it is clean and clear to inform our life this is the way to true intimacy - in to me see - and atonement - at-one-ment.

We are all one, at the level of the level of the mass consciousness..but we are also individuated on this physical plane. Never forget either of these things, because they are inextricably linked to being with wholeness and providing the powers of compassion and forgiveness needed to forge eternal bonds of love. This after all is why we are be with be in express and create our love in a million points of light, with others, with ourself and with all. I honor all my relations. Even the ones that hurt sometimes. All is one.

by Rev. Renee Bledsoe 2008