In our meditative practice, we are encouraged to come to a place of full awareness and acceptance of one’s experience, one’s self with all its faults and virtues. In this view, mindful acceptance gives us a much-needed peace and freedom from suffering. But, is this the end of practice? Is the end of suffering the ultimate goal? I think not.
This acceptance-based peace is not the end of practice, even as the end of suffering is not the ultimate goal. Why? Because of sin.
Sin is much more than mere moral transgressions of the law of God, or the committing of immoral or non-virtuous actions like killing, stealing, lying, or sexual misconduct. Sin is not merely that pesky thought, word, or deed that causes us to feel guilt or shame. Sin at its root is disregard, disobedience, and rebellion directed at God, knowingly or unknowingly. This is not a matter of religious belief but is deeply experiential and existential. We are blinded to this truth because of our prideful ego that seeks autonomy and the cloud of deception that covers over our ability to see. Darkness hides.
But if we are truly honest and desire to seek truth at all costs, it is possible to break through to this daunting realization of our sin. Not sins in the plural (moral transgressions) but sin in the singular (selfish resistance to and rebellion against God). Nature and culture, particularly spirituality and meditation, point us to the existence of God. But our sin prevents us from seeing God at work in nature and God calling us in culture.
If we look at our own experience of life, without bias and preconceptions about God or the absence of God, we can come to see just how contingent we are as fragile conscious creatures whose existence is completely attributable to God. We are not our own. We belong totally to God. If we can allow our eyes to see without blinkers on, this truth will become self-evident to us and its transformative power effectual for us. We will see, perhaps for the first time.
Sin is not a matter of belief. Neither is God. Both sin and God can be experienced by human consciousness that is honed and refined to see. Such consciousness must be willing to challenge its preconceived ideas of postmodern skepticism and affectively open to enter a dimension beyond the known. Let us not trivialize sin and God by relegating them to the heap of unprovable religious beliefs. This would be intellectually and ethically unfair.
Are we willing and bold enough to take our meditation to its end, to come to the final end of self? If we are, we can see sin and see God. And in seeing God, come to love Him in ways you never thought possible.