In a more perfect world, the option of being either a Christian or awake would be a false choice. For fundamentally, these two things are highly compatible. Yet, in practical reality, it’s going to be hard to catch these two birds with the same stone, and here’s the reason why.
Back in the third century, when the founders of Christianity were setting up the ground rules, they cherry-picked* what to include in the documents that would become the Bible, to suit their taste. For example, early Christian leaders were well aware it takes us more than one shot at life to purify ourselves. But they were concerned that if we knew we got so many do-overs, we wouldn’t give each visit our full attention. They feared we would coast, which frankly was understandable.
So decisions were made to remove any reference to reincarnation from the Bible. But in trying to avoid one problem, they created a bigger one. Most notably, many Christians today take it as gospel that life is a one-and-done thing.
Further, power-hungry church leaders were intent on keeping their unruly flocks in line. Because although people may seem rather uncivil today, back then we were an even more out of bounds. Rebellion, resistance and acting against our own best interest are decidedly not new behaviors. As such, the founding fathers, who were no longer preaching about reincarnation, now had another way to keep us on our toes: the threat of landing in hell for the long haul. This gave some real oomph to the fire-and-brimstone message they were spouting from the pulpit.
The First White Lie
Embedded in their little white lie—the notion we get one shot at the ever-after and then it’s either heads or tails—are two big issues. First, we are then encouraged to live a “good life,” defined as managing to tightrope-walk our way across only the good side of duality. If this were actually possible, that would be a wonderful thing. But it is not. Attempting to ignore what’s unpleasant, in fact, actually rains more problems down upon our heads. Turning a blind eye, then, to our inner negativity does not make it go away. It simply makes us blind.
Turning a blind eye to our inner negativity simply makes us blind.
And that’s where waking up comes in. For when we start to wake up, we start to take stock of what’s not working in our lives and follow the threads. Truth be told, there is no lack of places to begin looking for most of us. Our life, after all—whether we realize it or not—has been strategically designed to teach us some things, and our lessons always arrive by way of our struggles.
It’s only when we turn and face into the wind, tackling the inner origin of our disharmonies head on, that we finally start to get somewhere. Until then, we can pray all we want to be delivered from sin, but until we start doing the heavy lifting of uncovering the real source of our pain—which always has roots deep inside us—we will remain burdened.
The Second White Lie
Here we must fold in the second white lie told in many Christian churches, which is that all we have to do is believe and we’re home free. If only. Here’s the rub: Believing anything from our ego mind is like a wish in the wind; it has about that much clout. Such heady beliefs don’t carry any substantial weight because the ego—itself a fragment of ourselves—has no depth of its own. The ego only truly shines when it learns to let go and live from a deeper, greater place within: our Higher Self.
But between our flimsy ego and our fully-connected, divine Higher Self lies the dark and lonely landscape of our Lower Self. So before we can live from our light, this part of ourselves must be cleaned up and cleared away. There are faults, misunderstandings and defenses in the Lower-Self mix, plus cruel intentions and an unwillingness to let go.
Believing anything from our ego mind is like a wish in the wind.
Again, this is where waking up comes in. For the waking up process is all about cleaning our inner house of everything that’s not aligned with truth. We must wake up from the illusion of duality by going through our darkness and coming out the other side into the light. We must discover how opposites can be reconciled, and we must make the effort to create peace.
The most important thing to realize is that our darkness is not compatible with the light. In other words, we cannot show up in heaven shrouded in dirty garments and hope to wander freely through mystical gardens. For when people are cloaked in a layer of darkness, being in the presence of light actually hurts. Heaven, then, will be a no-go if all we have is a shiny outer belief about Jesus that’s covering over a closet filled with filth.
Waking Up to the Truth
Waking up is about having an intention to be in truth, through and through. And there are flat-out no mental constructs strong enough to cancel out our unresolved negativity, which always harbors an untruth. So all our negativity counts—including both the stuff we’re aware of as well as the parts we are hiding. That’s why we must focus on sorting ourselves out.
If we do this right, we will eventually heal all our destructive, disharmonious bits. When that happens, we’ll be open to knowing the truth about everything, including about who Christ is and who Jesus was. We’ll recognize the light of Christ as it shines through our own being, and we’ll be able to see where and how it shines—or doesn’t—in our brothers and sisters. For once we clear away our Lower-Self obstacles, we will no longer be blind to either truth or to untruth, wherever it lives.
To reach such nirvana, we will need to release any painful feelings we have cut off and locked away. Sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but they haven’t disappeared. Instead, our buried feelings have only gone underground where they fester and eventually come out sideways. This is the real cause of our disharmonies in life, drawing people and situations to us like a magnet—so we can heal.
It’s our job to put one foot in front of the other.
For left to our own devices, we’d let that rot stay in there forever. And if that were the case, we’d never be welcomed back home into the kingdom out of which we have all fallen. The event that triggered our ousting from heaven is referred to as the Fall, and it was the very reason that darkness came into being in the first place. We are the ones who made choices that went against the will of God, and until we make things right, we can’t go home. Our own darkness is what bars the door.
As such, it’s super convenient for us to hope that Jesus will wipe our slate clean, if only we believe. But even if he could, would he? After all, this is the bed we made for ourselves. Yes, he came here himself to make sure we had a way to get back home, but it’s our job to put one foot in front of the other. For it’s only by doing our work of healing that we can set things right and be worthy of the homecoming we are destined to receive.
A True Motivator for Healing
Here’s one final thing to consider: No one is able to scrub their soul clean in one lifetime. The darkness we brought onto ourselves is simply too dense. And every time we turn our backs on our real inner work—when we buy the idea that it’s enough to believe and then don’t face ourselves—we rachet up the struggle. This is one of the Spiritual Laws we would do well to understand: It’s our own refusal to see ourselves in truth that makes each lifetime increasingly more difficult.
The way? We must get to know ourselves.
Now that is a powerful motivator for making the most of every life. This is what people ought to be taught in church!
The grand irony is that, ostensibly, the reason to be a Christian is to be saved. Yet Christian teachings, as they are typically taught, are just enough off target to cause traditional believers to come up short. Which is actually a beautiful example of how the dark forces operate. By worming their way into Christianity and inspiring church leaders to veer off course, a lot of humanity has gotten a bum steer.
Fortunately, there’s plenty of time to course correct. The way? We must get to know ourselves. All of ourselves. And then, when we start doing the transformative work of returning to our rightful, light-filled selves, we’ll be solidly on our way to somewhere good.
* Three centuries after Jesus’ life, many variants on his teachings were being followed, with friction among opposing viewpoints. This became an increasing political headache that Roman Emperor Constantine needed to solve. When Constantine brought the founders of the Christian Church together to set up common ground rules, the most powerful among them selected some teachings and omitted other teachings.
Learn more about waking up in After the Ego: Insights From the Pathwork® Guide on How to Wake Up
Learn more about doing the work of healing in Doing the Work: Healing Our Body, Mind & Spirit by Getting to Know the Self
Learn more about the Fall and origin of duality in Holy Moly: The Story of Duality, Darkness and a Daring Rescue