THE INVISIBLE SHROUD - HOW SIN TRAPS US
(Excerpt from Devrah Laval’s forthcoming book.)
Many people would argue that sin does not affect them, that Sin is only for the religious minded. They say that they are their own person, moral and ethical, and besides, they point out, what about the real sinners—murderers, rapists, and pedophiles?
These sorts of questions arise from the belief that we are separate from one another. At the absolute level of reality, which is where we really live (our true home) and of which we are mostly not conscious, the only thing that exists is love. It is here that we are sinless. At the relative level, our everyday world (the world that we think we see) is actually only a dream based on the belief that we have separated from our true home. Here we experience the nightmare of sin. We dream we’ve separated from our source and are therefore a sinner, which is untrue. What is true is that we have never left our source and are innocent and pure.
In effect, this is completely opposite of what we’ve been conditioned to believe—that which is considered “real” is in fact a dream. The purpose of this book is not to make excuses for murderers or evildoers or to absolve them of their crimes because in this realm, sin and punishment do exist. In order to ultimately stop these and other atrocities, we have to stop our own many little murders—of ourselves and others—in our everyday lives. Everything originates from us, hence becomes our world and affects our world. If the evildoers are in our world, they are a part of us—a part that needs to be forgiven and healed.
Perhaps this sounds extreme, but if we would take just an hour to watch how we commit these many little murders by seeing how much we judge ourselves and others in numerous small ways, be it directly or just in our minds, we would likely be very surprised. Also, we might notice an underlying sense of guilt, thinking, “I’ve done something I shouldn’t have,” or “I haven’t done something that I should have.” We then berate ourselves incessantly, often unconsciously, with this sort of thinking. When we’ve exhausted the self-flagellation, we take that fatal next step and project our low-grade judgment and guilt onto some unsuspecting person, for example, a cab driver, cashier, receptionist, waiter, our spouse, our children, the government and even another race or minority or country. Anything is fair game for release. We may feel relieved for a moment when we blame others because we seem free from our sense of sin and torment for a short while, but then someone says something to trigger us and before long, this low-grade, unconscious self-doubt and guilt begin to stir within us again.
You get angry, you might have a drink to numb yourself or to give you courage, you might curse your lot in life, or you might simply deny that anything is happening at all. These “solutions” will only lead to obsessive thoughts bubbling up inside wondering what you’re going to eat next, who you’re going to sleep with, who you hate and would like to blame your troubles on or maybe even get rid of if you could. Or you might head to the medicine cabinet to pop a pill in order to relieve the emptiness and depression that you’ve been hiding for so long.
These behaviors are common in today’s world. Yet we are surprised when someone we know has a slip—they can no longer keep up their façade of “everything is fine”. “What went wrong?” we ask, but we don’t have to look very far for the answer. We only need look more deeply into ourselves, where we will see the pain that we humans bear in our deepest, darkest moments, pain that cries out, “I’m not enough, I’m not worthy, I feel this endless, empty hole, and I’ll never be good enough to crawl out. I’ve sinned somehow, God must hate me, this is why I must suffer, I can’t tell anyone, they won’t understand.”
Yes, we can’t reveal our malaise to anyone; they will simply deny it and tell us to think positively, and then they’ll smile to hide the shame of the sin that we all carry. We prefer to live in denial of the amount of guilt and shame that exists within us rather than live in our hearts, where we are held in forgiveness and love. But of course, this is much harder to do, because then we’d need to see sin for what it truly is—the biggest lie of all, and an invisible shroud casting despair on our lives. For example, we all know some people who flippantly use phrases like, “It’s all good,” or “This too shall pass,” or some other trite phrase that is unconnected to what they are really feeling. These phrases are used to minimize the intensity of the pain that they might be really feeling, partly because they know that others may not be interested in hearing their problems and partly because they feel ashamed at even having these feelings in the first place.
And you may notice that as a result of denying their feelings, you yourself feel that the human/heart connection is severed and you then may feel excluded or separate from them. When we cut ourselves off from our true feelings, we are in turn cutting others off from connecting with us and this leaves us feeling ever more alone and despondent and this is what the ego would have us feel in order to not break free of the invisible shroud of guilt. Whereas if we could openly talk about the guilt and shame that we experience on a daily basis with someone who could simply listen without judgement or trying to “fix” us, we would progress significantly as both our hearts could then open to the love that lies beneath all issues and is in fact the source that we need to return to so that we can see the lie – the lie of separation that masquerades as sin.