Of Endings and Beginnings: A Memoir of Discovery and Transformation, by Robert Speigel

Robert Speigel’s book is in a way not to be enjoyed. Who can enjoy the sadness of a world gone mad, bent on destroying itself. A world that cannot contain collateral damage to its children, brought into the it to suffer and die. A bloodbath, where we are all overcome by a selfish and complicated thought system that affects, no traumatizes many of us. The ego wants us dead. And its good at getting what it wants. It is after all its most magnificent achievement, death, hidden well among its glimmering trappings of an existence that isn’t, but convinces us it is. This book is a story of salvation. Taking the definition of that so Christian word to mean “something that saves someone or something from danger or a difficult situation.” (Merriam-Webster) Speigel shares with us his life experiences, enduring the pain while certain his calling through it all is to teach peace.

While approaching the subjects of horror, hatred and war with a detachment that causes him to stuff his pain in a part of him he learns in childhood, only to learn as an adult all are still with him. Ideas leave not their source. His early age “adjustments” are all the while hiding behind a set of made up “beloofs” (a term he uses to hide false beliefs from a false self.) Safety nets in a young mind are needed to survive. But in doing so there’s a price: he finds he can’t hide hurt within the ego’s delusions because its own delusions are made not in our best interests, but for the ego’s own survival. He speaks for all of us who try this. Speigel discovers the only way to face false beliefs is to expose them to the light, light which like the beliefs themselves resides in us. They are not where they seem to be. Not “out there” where the false self seems to be. We make up an “out there” so we can play the mind games we do. Spiegel tells a compelling story about how he, with the help of others, finds a way out. The process he adheres to is in itself moving and fascinating. However, his outlook is on life, gained from experience. In the process one sees the very core of his personality to be caring and compassionate. A loving human. He says,

“I apologize for placing these images here. (The pictures of Nazi death camps showing the worst known atrocities make by man to date in history.) They are abhorrent to me and make my stomach turn in nausea and disgust. They represent the depths to which man’s inhumanity to humankind can slip. I am firmly committed to my new belief that I am not a victim, and there are no other victims either. I am one hundred percent responsible for my life, and I hold others to be one hundred percent responsible for their lives. I believe that life is difficult and we are all here to learn to overcome difficulty. I believe that it is our suffering that develops us into the people we are meant to be. I try to teach these simple spiritual constructs to my clients so that they might be empowered to recover and change.” (page 67)

Our author recognizes the truth in this because of his own suffering and eventually realizing that healing must come from within. All the darkness, the demons, the mis-thoughts, the ego thought system that believes salvation is in grievances and resentments, (there’s a beloof for you) are not our true Self. Adam got us into a troubling thought system that requires us to buy into all of it, which makes it appear at times there’s no way out. But there is, by owning our own darkness. Adam couldn’t, for he makes the one fatal mistake: he blames Eve and she blames the serpent if you recall. Blame leads to guilt and more pain. We can transfer it, or transform it. Spiegel, unlike Adam decides on the latter. It requires we keep our faith in one wonderful thing about all of us. We are already what we’re supposed to be, love. With all of our nonsense here, God has not changed His mind, and He never will. We are all His perfect children, no matter what beloofs we come up with. And in the very depths of our insanity we know this to be true. Everyone. Yet, we just have to see it where it is. There is no “out there.” Trying to change the “out there” is like attending a movie we discover we don’t like. To see a different picture we don’t normally believe we can change the image on the screen to one we like better. The projection, our only choice is to leave or change the film, up in the booth. We take the film out and destroy it, not necessarily by ripping it apart but just seeing the truth in its place. The only place where true change takes place. It takes as much as it takes, before we realize it is our projection that makes our perception. Our illusions come from a sick mind. They do not make our minds sick, merely reinforce them.

As a professional therapist, in the midst of some terrible cards he has been dealt, Speigel uses the cards to perform the difficult work it takes to heal. The ride can be rough, he shows us, the way narrow and the end, well, sometimes seeming to be not there at all. We are created in relationship, which is the only place our true being can do what it is supposed to do, extend love. Desire is a major defense with a double edge, but we can help turn it about to our benefit if we engage in what we’re made for, relationship.

We can ask to take this ego alien journey with someone beside us, other than the ego, because the ego will always be there, convincing us over an over its way is the easier softer way.

Because it is one of my guides in life, I end this enjoyable review with the following, a quote from Victor Frankl’s book, Man’s Search for Meaning, in which he tells his story of being a prisoner in a Nazi prison camp. Just by chance he discloses he is a doctor without being saying he is a specialist in Psychiatry, and as a result he is saved to care for his fellow prisoners. The woman he speaks with below is about to die in the gas chamber:

“This young woman knew that she would die in the next few days. But when I talked to her she was cheerful in spite of this knowledge. ‘I am grateful that fate has hit me so hard,’ she told me. ‘In my former life I was spoiled and I did not take spiritual accomplishments seriously.’ Pointing through the window of the hut, she said, ‘This tree here is the only friend I have in my loneliness.’ Through that window she could see just one branch a chestnut tree, and on the branch were two blossoms. ‘I often talk to this tree,’ she said to me. I was startled and didn’t quite know how to take here words. Was she delirious? Did she have occasional hallucinations? Anxiously I asked her if the tree replied. ‘Yes.’ What did say to her? She answers, ‘It said to me, ‘’I am here — I am here — I am life, eternal life.””(page 68) Man’s Search for Meaning Viktor E. Frankl
Robert Spiegel is a professional therapist who recognizes his worth with with proud humility, I suppose one of the traits he would want for his clients. Listen as he describes his practice:

“My practice is rebirthing in a way that I could not have imagined. I am re-energized and experience a joy in my life that was not possible since being born into such shock, grief and fear. I complete my two-year Internship and take a year off before deciding to enroll in the next certification training, the Person Transformation Intensive Leadership Training.” (page 128)

Humility isn’t possible without love. It allows us to see what we are and where we are. (A trait Adam lacked for the moment when God sake him where he was. To share this with us is Robert’s great strength, in his belief he is not a victim and nor is anyone else. If we seek help it means we are in relationship that is a requirement for healing. Trusting the other person is paramount to growing with that person. This is because in the final analysis we do not heal alone. It is for everyone and for us. It is about the “giveness” part of forgiveness that we heal. In my opinion forgiveness is the only way to God (Enlightenment) available to us here. It is, once again calling on Adam, what he missed and we don’t have to.

Thank you for a wonderful book, Rob. I hope there’s more coming.

Review by Bob Pajer

Book Review by Bob Pajer: The Atonement of God – Building Your Theology on a Crucivision of God

“For the cycle of retaliation and violence to end, one party must be willing to forgive.  Violence is like a whirlpool that spins faster and pulls deeper with every new act of violence.  When one is violent — even “righteously” violent -in response to an insult or injury, this violence leads only to more violence which threatens to drown both parties.  “The only effective way to stop a whirlpool is to introduce a fixed point.  A whirlpool dissipates quickly when it hits a rock that refuses to whip.”

(In a footnote, p. 147, the author of , The Atonement of God, J.D Myers, comments, Mark D. Baker references Bernard Eller who borrows the image from Soren Kierkegaard.  See Brad jersey and Michael Hardin, els., Stricken by God? Nonviolent Identification and the Victory of Christ (Grand Rapids:  Eerdmans, 2007, 306)

J. D. Myers has written a bold new book about the cruxifixction of Jesus, bold in the sense that Jesus died not at the hands of our Father, as a sacrifice for our sins, but to show us how to forgive and not that God requires blood sacrifice for the forgiveness of sins. “Instead, in the context of Hebrews 9:22 reveals the exact opposite, and also reveals some deep and amazing truths about the grace of God in our lives… God always forgives sins freely and that He does not need or want blood, but instead wants us to live life in the freedom for which we have been set free.”

If Jesus is real, and he is, I would want him to be perfect in God’s eyes. God is perfect, and as His/Her children, we are. However, hidden underneath our fear, which is made up by a mighty “power” joined together using God’s mind, us. If we could strip away all fear there we would be, perfect, holy children of God there and we would again know ourselves.

We have place ourselves in a difficult situation. Life is not difficult, but what we do and inflict upon ourselves appears difficult, sometimes impossible. Yet, because of our decision to make up an opposing force to God, which cannot be, the effect of such arrogance is difficult. The only way out of the perplexing situation is, using the same a Higher Power to change how we understand God. Believe me, He will have it no other way.

I try not to define God. Well, I can’t actually. I can, using the same conceptual method to defy Him, understand Him or Her through my own beliefs. I ask and I do receive. This understanding can lead to truth only by practicing forgiveness here, where I find myself. The solution to sorrow and sadness, upheaval and impermanence is given us. See your brother and sister differently, with love, and you will see yourself as you are.

The reason I start my review of J. D. Myers book, The Atonement of God, this way is I would not now want any other explanation for my belief in a power greater than myself than God is perfect and as His/Her children so are we. That I believe is Jesus message in the Resurrection, leading from the crucifixion. Jesus tells us in A Course in Miracles, his second coming, which we have been waiting for, this very thing. Don’t focus on the crucifixion, it is an extreme example he used to tell us a story about the illusion of sin, guilt and death. The rest of his message is in our Resurrection.

I call the Higher Power I’ve come to understand, God. Although I call the Holy Spirit the same, a Power given by God to restore me to sanity in a world I made that appears to be insane. I know, its a tough word “insane” because we lock up the insane and treated them as the outer fringes of society. But I must ask myself, what is more insane than living a life where I must everyday work so hard to believe in illusions, where I am constantly, relentlessly trying to make the unreal real? Isn’t wonderful Jesus came back to us to tell us we don’t have to do this and that is the meaning of the crucifixion.

I would not want the God of my understanding to be anything less than perfect. Simply, God is, as St. Anselm said, “greater than that which cannot be thought.” I’m not too certain about the rest of Anselm’s theology, but this I get. Nothing exists over God. He is at the top of the spiritual chain that has no borders and cannot be contained, for there isn’t a top and there isn’t a bottom. God can and does, always, give His/Her whole being to us. Nothing is left behind. Everything grows in the unending giving. He wants what we know as each other to do the same. Of course, we seem to have other ideas, which can only be illusionary. God has no opposite because His/Her love is all encompassing.

In coming here, and I believe his coming is the same coming we do, Jesus did for us that which he also did primarily for himself. Like the cabin attendant says on Alaska Airlines, if that oxygen mask comes down in front of you, put it on first and secure it before helping your child next to you, so you can help him/her. Jesus, at some point in his life, perhaps culminating in the Transfiguration, made the decision to no longer separate from God (separation is a decision on our part) and to place himself on the path to Atonement, which can only involve us. No one can heal alone. He would now practice no longer listen to two voices, as most of us do, the ego and God, or just the ego, and listen to only one voice, God’s. I am far from a Biblical scholar, but my guess is that’s what happened. He returned to His natural state of mind. God’s mind because that’s the only mind there is.

Jesus became what all of us will become and some of course already have, inside and outside the Christian faith, non-dualistic. After all Jesus was not a Christian and I believe at some point in his presence here he became a universal figure, pure of heart, as St Paul said of himself, “I live now not I but Christ lives in me”, (Gal. 2:20). In my opinion, that is the most profound statement in scripture. Jesus has come to us again to say to us, that is true of you and me. Perhaps in the Hassidic community Jesus could be considered a zaddik. Although there were many who felt he was mistaken in his message. There’s a problem in that message for us: it is our most feared fear. That we are not in this flesh, the Word was not made flesh, because it can’t be. More than that it is true and we all know it because God leaves His mighty calling card within us, right were it is in our face every day. God’s plan for salvation is of course perfect. The Word comes through the Holy Spirit, from God to us, while it resides exactly where God put it. Flesh is used to convey it, yes; but only because its our choice to have flesh, not God’s.

God did not create flesh, give it free will and decide we went too far and sent flesh incarnate to save us by pardon. Not my God. Who only knows the only thing He created that can be and must be extended on into infinity without end. Jesus came here and found his way to tell us this through his love, not sacrifice.

I believe his message was completely true in every respect, so much so that he was an intolerable threat to what we all know deep down but are terrified of recognizing, while we are as God created us, we have insanely decided otherwise. We can do that, but there is a price for us. For will always will be bothered by the truth, which God has built His altar to, in us. to break with Him, our “truth” now becomes: we know better, and God knows better. For that we gin up a vengeful god and your sure to fear he is going to get you for opting out. “God, it sounds like you’ve got something good going up there, but I think my way is OK for what I’m doing. Thanks. But no thanks. On second thought, maybe later. (I might want to see my options open here.)”

No wonder we need to sleep, which God does not do. This is monumental work.

What is so important to me about Jesus is that he says in a Course in Miracles that he is no holier than me, but to be sure I don’t think I am holier than anyone else in the world. That blows my mind. The reason being it blows my mind is because I was taught by my teachers, the Trinity is a mystery, don’t try to understand it. A mystery is a mystery, you can’t understand mysteries. But be sure of one thing, you are not in that Triangle and don’t even think how you might possibly be. The truth is, I am in it. Always was and always will be. I am, like Jesus, God’s son. You are like Jesus, God’s Son or Daughter.

Yes, its not what I was taught at St. Jerome school. “Forgive them, Father, for they know not…..” Of course they know not because knowledge does not exist here in this world. Knowledge, like Love and Truth, has no opposites. So none can be where they are not. Not because there are threats to them, but because each is embodied in God’s Law of cause and effect, which we don’t adhere to in the world of illusions we spend so much time making up.

But Jesus is among many wonderful things, persistent and patient. Jesus embodies and shows us the path back to God, our home we’ve never left (but in our minds). Not by sacrifice, but by love which requires no sacrifice. His message is, we are in “a deep ego trance” a term used by Greg Mayers in his wonderful book, “Listen to the Dessert — the Wisdom of the Dessert Fathers and Mothers.” due to “separation” from God. We forgot what God said and then took God for the lesser power: “Mark 10:9

“What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.”

The delusion of separation drives us crazy. Yet, we need not suffer so, because there is no separation. Who can separate from the All Powerful? Our whole struggle is thinking we did, are doing, and the guilt we lay on ourselves is unbearable.

In this regard Jesus’s message is simple. He was our scapegoat and anyone who comes here with his message of course is one as well. We do kill people as they get close to it.

While simple, Jesus’ message is unequivocal. He says that in A Course in Miracles. Therein lies the problem for those who have come to this world. Its enticing. Its attractive and its, we think our world. In a sense it is, because we made it up. Yet even that is impossible. Separation is impossible and it is impossible to make any sense out of how we did that. As Jesus says in A Course in Miracles, the ego loves questions like “how did that occur”, because there is no such question to begin with. It always has a foolish answer because that is a foolish question. Why did I separate 10 minutes ago is a better question because the recency of it may help me to think truthfully about separation. The question that follows best is, how is it possible to separate from God? Is God weak in some areas? Does God allow his love to have loopholes we can slip through? Adam could have asked such questions, but decided not to.

J.D Myers writes an insightful book. The Atonement of God, Building Your Theology on a Crucivision of God is a wonderful book that exposes all the Catholic church misunderstandings of Jesus’ message, in particular the meaning of the crucifixion. It is, however, not close enough to the unequivocal Jesus. The non-duality of Jesus, Jesus himself teaches us and so beautifully describes in A Course in Miracles.

I believe we cannot find the message in the cross without a full understanding of the problem, the separation. The base point has to be there is no separation. Of course that does change our view of the world, heaven and God. When we admit it never happened we find ourselves in a world of dreams, sleeping because we cannot exist without God, which isn’t possible. We cannot leave God’s mind and go somewhere, unless we fall into a sleep that allows us to have our way. Freud called dreams “wish fulfillment,” referring to our sleeping dreams. However, the Course teaches we are not awake to begin with. Preposterous? Well not more preposterous than the world we live in, which is for the most part crazy.

So to fully understand Jesus’ suffering we have to see that he didn’t suffer the way we think of suffering because he knew there is no suffering. Bodies can be torn to pieces and we can be made to cry out in pain, yet if that moment were received by God in truth, in God’s loving hands we come closer to eternal life, which is what we are, what suffering? He also knew there is no sin, guilt and death, the unholy trinity he came to expose. For us? Yes, in a sense, because although we think we’re separate form one another, an effect of the thought of separation, we are not. His extreme example on the cross was indeed for everyone. A terrible mistake for those who were involved and not courter attacked, but exposed to truth, as Myers intimates in his book (page 142).

God attacks no one. Myers so correctly says that instead God shows us the truth. There is no need for sacrifice. All are called, although few choose to listen.

J. D. Myers gives us an interpretation of the story of Adam and Eve in the garden from Genesis. I believe this interpretation has been around for awhile and I was happy to see it told in the author’s book because it makes so much sense. The mistake in the garden was unfortunate for all of us because it changes, as Myers says our view of God. One cannot blame a brother or sister and not change our concept of God. The last we hear of God is in his asking Adam where he is. Of course God knew, but He was merely asking where he was spiritually, which of course already knows. How do you feel, Adam? Adam, now because he decides to listen to a tiny mad idea, oppose God by, instead of saying, “I messed up”, at which point he would have been reminded that God does not condemn, He overlooks, to remind us of the truth in case we’ve forgotten. So it was not even a matter of God’s forgiveness, which He doesn’t do because He doesn’t condemn. The fatal mistake, the only sin there is, the forgetting God never condemns, therefore, forgiveness is not even an issue, Adam makes. And, just as Jesus, through his own salvation, saves us (because we’re all connected in Spirit), we are affected. We seem to go on doing the same thing as Adam, not own up, blame your wife (or vice versa of course). Myers tells this same story, which I heard after asking the Holy Spirit, how does He/She explain an angry God when anger is insane. The answer I received was the same one Myers expresses. Blame is blaming God. Even though we think we’re just blaming our brother or sister, we forget that God created this person out of His perfect Love. The audacity of blame is incredible. Yet not sin, for God always overlooks in order that we may learn once again. I am never really lost until I blame someone else. Emphasis on really. I’m lost most of the time anyway.

Perhaps this was the beginning of marriage therapy.

It may be obvious to the reader I don’t believe there is a devil. Our author seems to. I do not believe in sin and our author seems to. I do not think Jesus died, because he came to dispel that, along with sin, guilt and the devil. We make up stuff here. The ego loves to persist in its teaching of its own way to salvation: blame, attack (now or later), it is capable of only two things, suspiciousness and viscousness to carry out its teaching, which does not teach at all. The ego needs a devil and guilt to run its show. It simply does not know what its doing, except that it wants me dead. So I try to live as though I don’t have an ego. At times that idea might last for about 10 seconds. But I am perfectly capable of choosing otherwise when I want to Making a devil within and then trying to use that idea to convince myself that I can after all be harmed from without, is part of the ego’s plan for salvation.

Jesus’ real message in providing us with an extreme example on the cross is to jolt us out of our illusions. Brothers, he might say, have at it, it feels terrible, but not as terrible as you must feel and will feel, but truth has taught me I cannot be harmed, I can but crucify myself. And, I am going to do that. I am right now free, as you look at me suffering. Your are not free, and perhaps you think far from it. Yet I see you only as God created you. And that’s what glory is. I will not my glory go. It is my whole (holy) purpose for being here. “I am not a body, I am free.” Jesus says in A Course in Miracles and he says for us, for we are the same. I will now teach you that your only function in this world is forgiveness. Not the false forgiveness thing you talk about, you already know that does not work, but “I forgive you brother/sister for what you did not do.” (ACIM) Your have no problem here other than separation, the solution is atonement through God’s plan for salvation. I will always be here to show you how to atone, not for your sins, because you can’t sin to begin with, but how to walk in the light with me, to proceed to our Father. I need lovingly wait for you because I can’t proceed alone and God is incomplete without you. (ACIM) Your ego hates the word inevitable because your return to your Father is inevitable. And the only way to come to Him is through forgiveness, letting go of your ego, here. When we know we can’t be harmed, Jesus’ demonstration on the cross, we can’t attack and any defense becomes an attack on ourselves and this truth.

Jesus says about the crucifixion in A Course in Miracles:

“I elected for your sake and mine, to demonstrate that the most outrageous assault, as judged by the ego, does not matter. As the world judges these things, but not as God knows them, I was betrayed, abandoned, beaten, torn, and finally killed. It was clear that this was only because of the projection of others onto me, since I had not harmed anyone and had healed many.” (ACIM, Page 87)

Jesus goes on to say, we are not asked to follow his extreme example and in that sense it was done for us. But his teaching is imbedded in its purpose —
“The crucifixion cannot be shared because it is the symbol of projection, (anger is projected, only love is shared here and continues to grow in us. We think that our projections go out of us, aimed at our enemies outside us. That is their intention. However, there is no outside of our minds, so each stays exactly where we put it, within our minds, to fester on and on. “Ideas leave not their source.” (ACIM) Thus the sayings, harbor a resentment, cherish a grudge. Language is interesting in that it belies its true meaning in just what it says.) but the resurrection is the symbol of sharing because the reawakening of every Son of God is necessary to enable the Sonship to know it wholeness. Only this is knowledge. (ACIM.)

“The message of the crucifixion is perfectly clear:

Teach only love, for that is what you are.”

“If you interpret the crucifixion in any other way, you are using it as a weapon for assault rather than as the call for peace for which it was intended.”
I highly recommend J. D. Myers book because it begins the process of exposing the false messages of Christian teaching using the Bible as a false god.

I received this book free from the author and/or publisher through the Speakeasy blogging book review network. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR,Part 255.