The Radical Power of Forgiveness
Atonement is a word that contains a mysterious power. It symbolizes the crucifixion of Jesus Christ—a cross over in consciousness—a return to the living eternal truth in the core of your being. Atonement is a radical power—the living foundation of forgiveness. In life one of the greatest challenges we face is to atone or forgive especially when you know you are right and the other person is wrong. The fight to be right makes it almost impossible to forgive. Perhaps forgiveness is one of the most misunderstood words in the dictionary. What does it really mean to forgive or atone?
In life there are moments that stand out. Painful moments that break your heart so deeply it can tempt you to seek revenge or follow the powerful movement of your mind to prove you are right and the other person is wrong. The common reaction when you are hurt is to fight back. It is the natural egoic reaction to anything you feel is wrong or unjust. It evokes the insidious egoic desire to inflict pain in someone else. The ego naturally seeks revenge. Revenge feels good to the ego, but like all moments of pleasure, it only lasts for short time. The moment of revenge is fleeting and usually only serves to cause you more pain or frustration and anger.
One of the most painful experiences you can face in life is betrayal. If you are betrayed you have been tricked—you have been lied to—you are victimized. The betrayer and the betrayed is one of the greatest tricks of the human mind. The belief that you are a person who has been betrayed or tricked is the crux of the problem. It requires the deep belief that you are a victim—a person who has been betrayed or who can be betrayed—this belief not only solidifies the role of victim, but also serves to solidify the role of the betrayer. This generates a story of betrayal that serves to extend the deep suffering of betrayal over time. It is egoic. It only serves to make the egoic sense of separation feel even more real.
Ultimately, the attachment to any form or relationship, or even the attachment to things unfolding in a certain way in your life, is deeply rooted in your ego—this is the source of all the pain and suffering you experience. If there is no ego there is no one suffering. It is simply impossible to experience any pain if you realize you are not the limited mind or ego of the body. The Self or essence of your being is never betrayed—it is simply impossible to betray pure consciousness. The atonement is the deep direct realization that you are the vast consciousness of the one Self—the most sublime peace and pure happiness alive in the core of your being. This is the foundation of forgiveness.
Forgiveness is not condoning the depraved behavior of someone else. It is simply the sublime wisdom of letting go of the illusion—a deep recognition the past you remember and the story you weave in your mind about whatever you remember is simply not real—it is an illusion or mirage generated by your mind. It is only a figment of mind or memory. Letting everything you remember go completely is the atonement—absolute forgiveness—the end of the story. Atonement is the annihilation of the story and ultimately the storyteller. It is total union with God or pure consciousness as that vastness. If you want to forgive let go of your story. It is that simple.
The temptation to tell your story of betrayal to elicit sympathy or to justify your deep desire to seek revenge is genetically strong. It takes a deep determination to stop following this intense seduction of mind that will always attempt to convince you that your version of the past is true and real and you must take action—you must expose the scoundrel that caused you pain or avenge your badly bruised ego. But this overlooks the real scoundrel—your own ego and mind—the genetically engrained tendency to fight to be right.
If you don’t move to touch a single thought it is possible for you to intimately discover the peace alive in your own heart free of this insidious movement of mind. This is the atonement—the return to the one love alive in your heart free of the betrayer, the betrayed, and the story of betrayal. Atonement is simply the annihilation of the ego—the sudden dramatic end to the ego’s strong tendency to fight to be right. Atonement ends this illusory fight unfolding in your mind.
To atone is to reconcile with God. It is the death of the ego or feeling of separation at the root of all suffering—the death of the victim, the betrayer, and perhaps more importantly the death of the deep feeling of ‘me’ or ‘doer’—the end of the story of you. It is an intimate surrender to the invisible omniscient realm of the heart. Only the ego reacts. Do not react—be still. Burn in this stillness. This is the bonfire of your ego that sets you free.
It is through your own willingness to inquire into and see beyond the source of the heartbreak of betrayal or any form of suffering that it is possible for this atonement to live fully in your heart as the vast stillness of love—peace beyond all understanding. It represents a deep and total letting go into the infinite now.
In this realization Papaji’s words come to life: Nothing Ever Happened!
This is the atonement—the radical power of forgiveness.