“You are created in the image and likeness of God.
God’s being is the source of your being.
You are as God created you.
God created you as whole.
God created you as complete.
God created you as good.
God created you as free.
God created you as beautiful.
God created you as love.
God created you as peace.
God created you as power.
God created you as truth.
God created you as awareness.
God created you as wisdom.
God created you as presence.
God extends outward in, through, and as you.
You are one with God.
This was the message and meaning of Jesus.
But we often do not operate within the reality of who and what we truly are. Instead, we are living through a False Self that contradicts our original and True Self. The only way the idea of being “born into sin” or “born as sinners” is real is that we are born into a notion of ourselves that falls short and misses the mark of who we truly are and were created to be.
Each of us were born into the story of the False Self. The False Self is a separated self – separated from God, separated from love and peace, separated from worth and value. The False Self is a guilty, condemned. incurably broken, flawed, deficient, inadequate, lacking, not-good-enough… self. None of this is true or real except in our own heads. This is why we are transformed by the renewing of our mind. Transformation or repentance is about having a radical change of mind, perception and awareness of who you are. It’s forgiving yourself for having created and lived a False Self, and rising up into the reality of your True Self as God created you. This is essentially what Jesus told the woman who was caught in the act of adultery and sentenced to death by stoning. After turning away her accusers, Jesus essentially said, “Why would I judge you? This isn’t even you! How could I judge something that is not real? So, enough with the False Self, okay?It’s time to get on with who you really are.”
We are born into this world wearing a mask. The False Self has become so prominent that the entire created realm, and especially humankind, has been indoctrinated and conditioned into playing the part every day. We don’t even see it, we are not conscious it – we just do it. The False Self is in the air we breathe, the water we drink, and the religions and gods we scheme up. This False Self keeps you unaware and disconnected from the very roots of your being.
You and I could probably have a one-hour conversation and we could pinpoint when your particular version of the False Self was born. It normally happens early in life. We develop our False Self in infancy, as a defense against an environment that felt unsafe or overwhelming because of a lack of reasonably attuned caregiving. We grow up and that False Self becomes a mash-up of all our fears and all the ways we externalize our worth and value. There’s a reason why codependency is epidemic – we desperately attach ourselves to anyone and anything that offers some inkling of worth, value, acceptance and love. This is one explanation for the attraction to religion. Religion offers what people think they need – a remedy, solution or salvation from the False Self. We are quite an inventive lot – we create the False Self, which is not real, and then we devise an entire system or methodology (religion) to solve a problem that isn’t real. Religion tends to be about False Self management, which means there is very little awareness or energy left over to live into the truth of who we really are.
The reality is, the most natural and human thing for you is to be love, peace, goodness, beauty, freedom, wholeness, completeness, wisdom, power, compassion, kindness, creativity… in spades. This was the meaning and message of Jesus. When you are not being these things, that is the unnatural state. In fact, that False Self is only real in your mind. Why would you seek to remedy something that is a figment of your imagination? By doing so, you are only giving it more credence. That’s why typical religious thinking doesn’t work. In all it’s effort to fight the False Self, it only empowers it further.
Compliance to religion or even seeking to imitate Jesus will never work. Both in their own way give credence to the false notion that something is wrong with the way you are. The False Self is a pathological guise, preventing and inhibiting the spontaneous gestures of your True Self.
Spiritual growth is burying the illusion of the False Self… and becoming who you really are and always have been. That’s the baptism we need – going down into the waters to shed the self we never were, and rising up into the self we are. Like Jesus, you will hear the divine affirmation in your heart, “This is my son or daughter in whom I am well pleased.”
– Jim Palmer, Notes From (over) The Edge