The Myth of Certainty is Keeping You From The Divine

Photo by Joao Branco on Unsplash
“One always learns one’s mystery at the price of one’s innocence.” — Richard Rohr

The wisdom tradition I grew up in was all about certainty and absolutes. It offered no place for mystery, doubt, or paradox.

The church was about rules, exclusion, and holier-than-thou doctrines that repelled me from an early age. It seemed as if the entire structure was built on what one should not do…

  • No “secular” music
  • No drinking
  • No dancing
  • No R rated movies
  • No inquiry into other wisdom traditions

What kid wouldn’t run?

It was a great closing, rather than what spirituality should be, a Great Opening. For the longest time, I threw out the baby with the bathwater. Said differently, I threw out God with the exclusive dogma of the church that I couldn’t stomach.

The ironic thing about the tradition was that the people within seemed to be following what some call functional atheism.

Functional atheism is when a person says a lot of pious things and lives “morally,” but deep down believe that to receive the grace of God theymust do the right things and live the right way, which is counter to what all wisdom traditions teach.

Spirituality is about being naked. It is about giving up. It is about surrender. It is not pretty, heroic, or glorious.

You must die, to be reborn.

Die to your own logic. Die to your own morality. Die to any notion that you could control God’s love for you.

It is already completely and wholly within you and ALL beings, not just the pious ones among us.

Recently, I have come to see how this dualistic, selfish way of viewing spirituality has been playing on my subconscious in negative ways. It has been the basis for so much shame, guilt, and anxiety.

I realized that I have never truly believed that I could receive divine grace without doing something to “earn” it. I noticed that in my attempts to come closer to God, I was relying on myself to get there rather than humbly offering myself to that which holds all.

Rational Atheism is synonymous with most of Western spirituality today. We cannot comprehend non-doing as a way of coming home to wholeness. We have no idea what to do with the concept of being childlike.

We want plans.

We need goals and agendas.

We desire the security that by doing this we will get that.

But it is for this very reason that I (and millions of others) are starting to find the Jesus stories so countercultural and compelling.

He preaches that you must die to any belief in your egoic self if you are to experience the Divine. He preaches that you are already fully within God.

And it is impossible to attain that which you already possess.


This is why God’s reply to Moses’ question of selfhood is I am that I am, which Jesus projects one step further to be You are Who I Am In You.

Take a moment and see where this rational atheism is being played out in your own life.

Where do you say that you are trusting in God, but really believe that it is up to you to get the job done?

If you are like me, you will realize that most of the areas of your life fall into this category. And that is okay. That is normal. That is what contemplation and prayer are for.

The purpose of prayer is not to change God but to become aware of God within you and of all of the illusions that keep you from this Truth.

I want you to remember today the beautiful message of the father to the “good” son in the parable of the prodigal son:

“You are always with me, and everything I have is yours.”
  • There are no pre-requisites.
  • You do not need to belong to a select “appointed” tribe (i.e. American, white, and male).
  • No amount of rule following will change your Divine importance.

Now that is good news!

Go Deeper

Do you define yourself as someone who is spiritual by not religious?

Me too.

Are you compelled to believe that there is more to life than your career, material possessions, and Game of Thrones episodes?

If so, join thousands of spiritual seekers on my daily email list who are Falling Inward to [re]discover the Divine within them.

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