I am going to take a risk here.
Some of you know that taking risks is standard operating procedure for me. I am not certain when that happened or what caused it to be so. I only know that something shifted within me that made speaking my truth less scary and painful than withholding stating what is real for me in fear of criticism or rejection. I am clear that if what feels to me like a risky and courageous choice to share can touch one heart then it is well worth the potential evaluations of those who might prefer that I express less boldly.
I am going to take a risk here.
This thing that most people call God is only as good as is our own internal atmosphere.
If you reclaim the predominant off-planet God of theology, there is nothing out there to get to. Behind and beyond and interiorly the “we made God in our image” is a Universal All-Intelligence that is seeking to be a known as an intimate reality within our very being. It already is our very breath, the beating of our hearts, and our always occurring cell division. It is an Ever-present Intelligence and an all-pervading love. And the myths we have held about It compels us to put it up and out, at the expense of the down and within.
I have become clear personally that the God is love descriptive of my Evangelical upbringing was unconsciously obliterated by the hell and damnation meted out by the same being that was touted as Love. I was terrified even as I parroted how much I loved the God is love super-guy. I was “saved by the blood” yet always thought that I would be next. It didn’t matter what I was told at the level of the mind. In my heart I felt unworthy, unlovable, and unredeemable.
Did I mention I was taking a risk?
Part of my religious upbringing included the classification of all the other people who were to be feared, rejected, pitied, or at least proselytized. Those poor suckers would surely burn in hell, cast there by this same God of love.
Though theoretically I was among the saved that fact did not save me from a barely below the surface self-loathing. I knew I was among other things an abomination. A mistake of nature. I was a study in contradictions. I was imperfect. Based on my parenting, schooling, and religious studies I was very, very imperfect. I lived in an internal world of scrutiny, evaluation, and self-rejection.
That was my predominant inner atmosphere.
I found after decades of self-abuse and shadow boxing that you cannot have any real sense of a loving God while hating yourself.
And I really did hate myself.
It became clear to me that for longer than I like to admit my spirituality actually made me feel worse about myself. I lived in constant examination. I constantly compared myself to my spiritual heroes. Long after I had moved on from the religion of my upbringing, I was regularly nailing myself to the cross of my own assessments. My inner atmosphere was numb at best and turbulent at worse.
I began to discover that esteem is an essential part of any authentic spiritual awakening.
We live in a culture that almost reveres neuroses. We are at a point in our evolution when we can easily be obsessed with self-examination. We talk and even obsess about our issues. In at least American culture it is rare to find people who feel genuinely good about themselves, exactly as they are. If you doubt this go to the self-help section of any bookstore or eavesdrop at any coffee shop. And there are groups for just about everything imaginable.
I did not need a group. I needed a new God.
If God is indeed love, then it must be known as self-love and self-esteem. Otherwise, it is merely theory. I had to take the ultimate risk of reopening my wounded self to begin to let this mysterious Source in. Not intellectually. Vibrationally. Emotionally. I had to move through the traumatic love-equation that was holding me captive. I had to begin to loosen the armor, piece by piece. I had to put down the shield. Take off the mask. I had to challenge my self-definitions if there was to be any chance of a Sourced definition. The redefining was a radical refining. And it was indeed sorely needed.
It was scary. It was hard. At times it is still hard. The habitual self-evaluation is an addiction that is hard to break. I remain imperfect, just as I was told. Though in not all of the ways I was told. I am indeed imperfect, and yet I am lovable. That was the part that got left out. Or at least obscured by other contrary messages.
My esteem is not based on what I do. It is based on what I am. It does not claim perfection. It is, however, an opening for that which is perfect to flow through as wisdom, compassion, comfort, and love. I had not known those qualities. Not really. Not unconditionally. Now they comprise the inner atmosphere I most often dwell in.
Discovering that I lived in a state of true atmospheric pressure has changed my living in a real and deep way. Facing my own self loathing has loosened the grip of it. My inquiry into what is real and true within my own heart has made space for something softer, truer, more intimate, and vital to move within me. It initially felt scary. It felt risky for sure. And it has been beyond worth the risk.
As is putting this into words. If one person can sense a familiarity with what I am sharing, and it moves you to look more deeply into yourself and to your own inner atmosphere, it is so worth the risk. A loving inner atmosphere is everything! It is living in the climate of God Itself. When we are awake in Source, we feel the Love. We feel the connection to what never evaluates or berates. It is an embrace that invites us to soften into It.
Moving from self-loathing to self-loving is the greatest of miracles. To move from atmospheric pressure to atmospheric presence is the greatest of gifts. Coming to know our Essence is the basis of true esteem. It is not theology. It is reality.
And I just had to take to take the risk that for me it is so.