All spiritual belief systems or religions are illusions, thought projections designed to make us feel better when we feel out of control or afraid.
As with all our thoughts, I invite you to question them in order to alleviate your suffering. In reality, there is peace. When we are believing the stories we have created, we are arguing with reality and there is suffering. The universe is inviting you to believe that everything is always right. It is inviting you to drop any thought that brings you stress. It is inviting you to drop the dream world you have created with your thoughts. It is inviting you to realize that no person can hurt you, no circumstance can harm you, and there are no mistakes.
Imagine how it would be if your religion stopped expecting you to obey commandments. If they started accepting you just as you are. If they stopped telling you that you are flawed, broken, lost, or a degenerate? Imagine how it would be if you didn’t expect your fellow churchgoers to behave a certain way and you accepted them too. Imagine if churches started to be places of love instead of judgment, criticism and condemnation. Imagine if churches started encouraging people to question every thought, including the thought that there is a god that you need to worship. Imagine if you were free to decide for yourself if that’s true without condemnation. I was pleasantly surprised when Pope Francis stated that even atheists will go to heaven if they live a good life. If he really believes that, then there is no need to believe in a god or Jesus at all. Actually, when you ask the question, “Can you really know that there is a god?” The answer is a resounding “No.” And you can’t quote me spiritual books as proof because no book can never be proof.
If the question we are asking is “Is there a god?” and you want to use the Bible or some other document as proof, I have to also question the thought “Is the Bible true?” I’d have to ask on whose authority is the Bible true and you’d say “On God’s authority.” But we haven’t established that he exists, so you can’t use his authority to prove anything. It first must be established that he is real before anything he says can be taken as authoritative or as proof. So it’s a circular argument that can never prove anything. The Bible is the only thing that can prove God’s authority, but only the existence of God makes the Bible authoritative. And since neither can rely on the other for proof, neither can ever be proven.
You might say “I know in my heart there is a god.” Once again I have to ask you to question that thought. Is it true? You know from everything we’ve studied so far that 99% of our thoughts aren’t true. And the Bible itself says “The heart is deceitful above all things.” Our mind deceives us every day into believing our thoughts are reality when they are really just imagination. If your mind deceives you into believing that your kids should obey you and your spouse should love you and your employer should appreciate you and your dog shouldn’t pee on the floor, then your mind can also deceive you into believing there is a god. It is a very easy thing to do.
The fundamental, basic truth of The Work is to question every thought. So "There is a God." Is it true? Can you absolutely know it's true? No.
How do you react when you think the thought "There is a God"? Well, then you start expecting him to take care of you and you try to please him with your behavior. Except there's quite a bit of disagreement about what behavior he wants. And, he doesn't really take care of anybody.
How do I know he doesn't take care of anybody? Look around you. Supposedly he wants to heal your diseases, provide for you financially, and bring you happiness. But how many faithful Christians are sick, poor, and unhappy? How many truly evil people have vast wealth and how many of the faithful are destitute? Many, many, many.
So then I try to please him by keeping many commandments. But they're impossible to keep. What happens if I drop the thought "I need to please God"? I find peace. I no longer have to try to please anyone. I can live according to what I think is right without fear of retribution. I can love who I want to love, in the way I want to love them. I can stop being judgmental and critical of those who don't hold my belief system. I can choose not to have any belief system at all. All those belief systems are illusions. Who would you be without the story "I have to live by this belief system?"
You'd be truly free.
After you have done The Work and questioned all your thoughts, you are living in paradise. You are free of suffering and emotional pain. You have heaven now. And you have enlightenment. You won't understand this until you have done The Work and experienced it.
All the virtues, love, compassion, kindness, integrity, etc. are available to you after the Work. In fact, they are available to you at any time. They are within you. They are your nature. It is not true that the natural man is full of darkness. Your nature is goodness, light and love. Without any atonement, without anyone to redeem you. You are good, acceptable, worthy, without any help from anyone.
Enlightenment is simply being awake and aware. Through questioning your thoughts, you can come to wake up from the dream that is the story you've created or accepted about life. The story that says you need a god to take care of you, make you whole, make you better.
There is no good, better, or best. We are all the same. We are all equal. It is not our spiritual path to try and become a better person.
Listen to Byron Katie's presentation called "Non-creation is Your Natural State."
This presentation includes some discussion about the fact that god is a concept that does not exist.
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