A Message From “The Family”: On Atheism

celloatSarajevoMister Rand is often disturbed when he encounters advertisements or Internet posts from and about persons espousing atheism as a rational, more balanced approach to understanding and coping with life than theism, religiosity, mysticism, or theomancy. He is disturbed because deep down he himself does not entirely believe that he can be lucky enough for his channelings of unconditional love and light to be accurate and valid. Particularly since his mystical experiences feel so undramatic to him—familiar, almost ordinary in their safeness and familiarity—and never accompanied by UFO sightings, beams of mysterious light breaking through ceilings, angels with outstretched wings, and so forth.

But true mysticism is not always expressed via the melodramatic  memes one encounters in television and film. True mysticism is less likely to be a riotous adventure of alien abduction and much more likely to be turning a corner in one’s day and discoverin g that one is suddenly seeing everything afresh, as though one were awakening from a dream.

Beliefs are not the same things as experiences. One can experience the mystical without believing in it; similarly, one can believe in something without experiencing it. The keynote of whether a belief is core or a superficial adoption lies in whether one takes that belief and builds a world for oneself to inhabit out of it.

Atheism is currently fashionable, particularly among certain classes of intelligentsia in the USA where Mister Rand dwells. As a belief structure, atheism dates back thousands of years in Western civilization, and like religious beliefs, atheism often arises from (1) trauma, (2) acculturation, (3) home rearing, and/or (4) gender role identification.

Traumatic atheism, like traumatic religiosity, arises from unbearable psychological wounds such as those suffered by rape, war, accident, and bereavement victims. Traumatic atheism, however, often can be traced to an individual’s abuse in childhood or another vulnerable life period at the hands of overtly religious persons or institutions. Hence, for the traumatic atheist, atheism can be experienced as a liberation from the manacles of “terror theology”—religiosity rooted in Force, Threat, and Blame, that seeks to expunge the individual self and soul in order to make the self more easily controllable by the religious hierarchy. Where traumatic atheism does not arise from religious abuse, but from unbearable pain due to violence and loss, it can provide liberation from the torment of a sufferer’s wondering whether their suffering is a “punishment” by Deity for some deed or character flaw in a given or former lifetime. Traumatic atheism can also be an expression of rage against a deity one secretly still believes in, the atheist “punishing” that deity (or one’s parents, or one’s pastor) by refusing to worship the deity one has been taught to venerate. In all these cases, therefore, atheism serves the same purpose as other belief systems: protection or liberation of the self from the unbearable weight of pain.

Opportunistic or social atheism is our term for atheism arising from an individual’s desire to fit in with a desireable social group, usually a group that confers upon its members or adherents social, intellectual, [monetary] or political status not afforded to individuals who are theists or religious. Fad atheism, like fad religion, depends upon group pressure for its continuation; when the individual outgrows the need for group authentication, fad atheism—like fad religion—often fades.

Environmental atheism, like environmental religiosity, is atheism arising from family or bonding-group indoctrination. It is cultural in origin, with powerful emotional triggers and anchorings. For such atheists, theism can seem like a betrayal of intensely intimate familial and cultural values and kinship ties.

Gender-based atheism arises, usually amongst boys and men, when they are exposed to the notion that religiosity is somehow effeminizing, something that “real” men do not believe in—the province of moral, intellectual, or sexual “weaklings.” The statement, “Religion is the opium of the people” is [in our view] an expression largely of gender [role] based atheism.

Then there is a kind of atheism that arises from a genuine, heartfelt examination of one’s observations of the world and experiences therein. This kind of atheism, which we may term “true” atheism, is a true reflection of the internal process whereby an individual seeks to make emotional, intellectual, and philosophical sense of a frequently violent, apparently heartless, and often random and impersonal world. Just as “true” religiosity may be said to arise from an openhearted examination of evidences for universal consciousness, “true” atheism may represent a “high” and transfiguring awakening within the individual to a broader sense of reality. As such, true atheism can be a powerful tool for healing, acceptance, resourcefulness, and balance within the individual. And we thank you for sharing. •

— Channeled by Rand B. Lee on 7 September 2015 6:40 AM MT.

On Casual Malice

A few days ago an act of casual, impulsive malice on my part caused a possibly irreparable rift between me and a dear, emotionally vulnerable friend. The impulse to hurt this person’s feelings did not come from the Devil; it came from a part of myself that I consistently refuse to acknowledge and give safe voice to, a part of me that some call the Shadow, others the Wounded Child, still others the Beast Within.

ImageAs an abuse and neglect survivor with PTSD, I prefer to think of myself as an abuse victim in recovery, not an abuser. And in general I do not go out of my way to hurt people. But my coping mechanism as a child in an alcoholic incestuous home was to be the Good Boy, which meant shoving under the surface all my unacceptable feelings and thoughts: jealousy of my mother’s preference for my baby brother; rage toward my father for his scary emotional aloofness and abandonment of me to the care of my pedophile mother; loathing of myself for my sensitivity, which my culture termed girlish—and bear in mind that in the gynephobic 1950’s, when I was a child, the worst thing one could say about a boy was that he acted like a girl. So as a child I became a compulsive eater, using sugar to shove my bad feelings down as deep as they would go. Later I became a compulsive self-castigator, criticizing my every thought and move, turning my anger upon myself because I could not feel safe expressing it toward those whom I felt had harmed me.

Needless to say, these tactics did not give me more than transitory relief from the storm inside me. It is a well-known metaphysical principle that if you wish to make a spell or sacred object more powerful, hide it out of sight. This is one of the reasons sacred objects are found buried all over the world, and sacred Paleolithic art, aimed at attracting game to the hunt and fertility to the community, was created in nearly inaccessible caves. Stuffing shadow with food or sex or overwork or gambling or alcohol or heroin or any other numbing substance or activity merely makes that shadow stronger, so that when it resurfaces, it does so with a power impossible to contain completely by an act of will alone.

I’ve done a lot of work with mentors and healers over the years. Through my Twelve Step programs I have opened successive chambers of my heart to Divine Love, and in my art therapy work with the Solace Crisis Intervention Clinic in Santa Fe I have taken major strides toward acknowledging the terror and pain of my inner self. But I can still be blindsided by my shadow, and in the case of my relationship to this dear friend, the unrequited sexual attraction I felt for my friend, my unconscious social and professional competition with my friend, and my growing emotional dependency upon my friend, changed to resentment when—and I am loath to admit this publicly—a series of tragedies in my friend’s family made my friend unavailable to me for much of the summer. So I posted several snarky and suggestive “jokes” on my friend’s webpage, despite the fact that my friend’s family (including a 12 year old niece) would have access to them; and I posted a comment on the webpage of a Meetup group my friend had organized suggesting edits to the website opening page that lessened recognition of my friend’s role as founder in the interest of “helping” the current facilitator of the group to achieve more public recognition (a recognition that worthy has never sought).

ImageIn deep grief and pain over the loss of beloved relatives, my friend—with uncharacteristic verbal and emotional violence—severed relationship with me. My friend had been under so much emotional pressure that finding my posts on the website was too much to bear with equanimity. So I, who hate to think that in me lies the potential to abuse others, have had to face the fact that under the right circumstances, my Shadow can arise and take control, suborning my empathy, muting my memory of shared kindnesses, and unleashing in me my repressed desires for revenge against my childhood caregivers. I have had to face the fact that, while I never intended to devastate my friend, I had intended to punish my friend a little bit for not meeting my infant needs—punish my friend just enough that my friend would pay more attention to me. I underestimated my friend’s emotional alertness and vulnerability.

Did I plan to hurt my friend, as my friend has accused me of doing? No. My posts were action of impulse, and I “forgot” or minimized the possible alienating effects of them as soon as I had made them. Am I responsible for the intensity of my friend’s grief and rage toward me? No. I had underestimated my friend’s vulnerability, and had had no inkling of the possibly far-reaching effects of my actions. But my shots, having been fired, cannot be taken back. They found their target. And the result has been disastrous.

However unintentioned the scope of the wound I have given my friend, and however intermixed with other wounds my friend carries from other betrayals and abuses, I have lost the privilege of our friendship. And I’m sorry. •

To Force

mushroomcloudSlightly more creative than the level of consciousness I call “To Control Absolutely” is the level of consciousness I call To Force. People and civilizations operating on the consciousness level of To Force—like those on the level of To Control Absolutely—still tend to view the world around them as an enemy to be conquered in order to obtain wanted safety, housing, food, sex, goods, and other commodities. However, people operating on the level of To Force are not as ego-blinded as those on the level of To Control Absolutely. Though self-centered, they are capable of empathy, once they get their needs met; and though they may glorify militarism, conquest, and aggression, they can at times relax and feel more or less secure, something that those on the level of To Control Absolutely can never do.

People invested in To Force can include not only violent criminals, violent gang members, militant groups and professional mercenaries, but can also include aggressive corporations, businesses that despoil the environment for profit, spouse- child- and animal-abusers, thieves and barroom brawlers—all those who believe that they must take what they want in order to enjoy it, rather than learn to cooperate with others to get their needs met.

The flip side of To Force is the consciousness-level I call To Allow Oneself To Be Forced or To Allow Oneself To Be Victimized. This consciousness level does not include random or one-time abuse victims who are truly incapable of removing themselves from the line of fire. This consciousness level includes those who believe that the only way they can get the security or love they want is to allow themselves to be subjected to repeated abuse, and who therefore refuse to remove themselves from abusive situations even though it is in their power to do so. People stuck on this level of consciousness can also include those who abuse their bodies for the sake of religion, fitness, peace of mind, or weight loss; binge eaters; binge dieters; anorexics; bulimics; exercise addicts; compulsive eaters; those who cut themselves to relieve anxiety; and sadomasochists. In such cases, one can be both abuser and victim simultaneously.

Root chakra blocks are common among persons operating on the consciousness level of To Force and To Allow Oneself To Be Forced. Impotence, feelings of powerlessness, frustration, and rage can jeopardize job, sex life, and material security. Persons operating on these consciousness levels are also much more likely to become involved in workplace accidents, car crashes, and premature fatalities.

NEXT: To Threaten.