Because we lack understanding, yet think we understand, we aren't capable of the first step towards understanding without help.
Life is a fundamental mystery which presents itself as an understandable fact. Our superficial relationship to it prevents us from moving any further than the surface of our experience. So while we think we see things clearly, we are unable to see anything clearly.
Let us take, for example, our lack: our sin, our insufficiency, the measurement of the distance between what is right for a man, for a woman, for a human being, and where we actually are in this mess we have made of our lives. Make no mistake about it: everyone is in a mess, even the ones who don't seem to be in a mess. This insufficiency is a fundamental condition: it is already known to God, it is, in point of fact, the exact condition that man is born into, because he has no chance of discovering what he is and seeing himself if he is not born within this insufficiency and does not exist throughout his life within his own insufficiency.
We are here to see this insufficiency.
Our sinfulness is already well known to God and is a precondition of our birth. It is not a punishment or a failure; it is a requirement and a need. We are given this life and the exact nature of this life as it is for each of us as a gift. It is a merciful and loving gift, meant to edify us and feed our souls. No matter how awful or difficult–no matter how wonderful or joyful–it seems, it is there as a merciful and loving gift. A three- centered perception of life can make this clear in a single instant.
Because of the infinite mercy of the Lord, our sinfulness is already forgiven. This covenant existed before Jesus Christ visited the planet, but mankind has never properly understood either the condition or the forgiveness. Christ's appearance was necessary in order to make this message explicit, rather than implicit. So few men are able to receive a correct impression of this question that a definitive statement was necessary. Christ was not bringing a new condition for the forgiveness of sins of the planet; like God, who was embodied in Christ, the conditions of mercy and forgiveness are eternal, and not limited to moments of revelation.They are not part of a barter system which we have the privilege of buying into if we behave properly.
Part of our insufficiency is our lack of trust in the higher. We know we are untrustworthy–this is part of our own insufficiency. We therefore think that God is untrustworthy, and we don't trust His Endlessness the Lord to be merciful or forgive our sins. We think that somehow God is like us–fallen–when in fact this is quite impossible. Because God is not fallen, mercy is already infinite, forgiveness is already infinite, and there is actually no requirement for us to ask for forgiveness of our sins.
I know this seems peculiar, but it is an established fact. When we pray for forgiveness of our sins, if we do so thinking that we must actually ask God to forgive, we are mistaken. God, in his infinite intelligence, infinite grace, and infinite mercy, has already forgiven us. In a certain sense, although it is incumbent upon us to try and rise above our sin, there is no sin in sin. One might equally say that there is no lack in our lack; in the infinite realm of the Dharma, all things are perfect and all things are included. I know this seems to be mixing metaphors between Buddhism and Christianity, but there actually can be no mixture, because there is no separation.
What we seek to do as we conduct our inner confessional is to forgive ourselves, because we are without understanding; we indulge in our own fallen nature, and we don't trust God. There is, in fact, no absolute need to petition the Lord. There is indeed a need to worship; petition is however unnecessary, because God already knows all that is needed for us, and has already given it to us. There is no perception of a progression from here to there, from bad to good or from good back to bad, from sinfulness to unsinfulness, on the part of the Divine. Everything is part of one whole, and our nature, both before, during, and after this moment, are all completely embodied in one whole. That whole was created by God and although it exists within the limited realm of our own consciousness as a distinct entity, it cannot in fact ever be separated from its origin, which is in God.
Insights into this particular set of questions about the nature of man and of our existence are difficult to write about and convey. Understanding on this point is a single whole thing within an organism, but it becomes fragmented the instant it is expressed in words and is much more difficult if not impossible to understand. This is because the understanding can only come through a whole insight, arising from the participation of all of our parts.
It's quite important to turns towards this question of a lack of trust, because this lack of trust lies at the heart of all the dilemmas we face as we ask ourselves the questions we ask when we search.
Everything in us hinges on this.
may our prayers be heard.