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  • Writer's pictureDaniloTambone

(9) Atonement With The Father - When the Two Become One

Updated: Mar 3, 2022


“Out, beyond the ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing, there is a field.

I’ll meet you there”

Rumi


In the stage of the Atonement with the Father the Hero confronts what holds the ultimate power in their life. The person, as it has been so far, could even "die" so that a new Higher Self may come to life.


There are moments when we finally look in the eyes the fears that were hiding behind our resistances. Those fears sit at the base of what we label as "our own identity", our little self, the limited perception of what we believe we are.


That little self is made up of the stories we have told ourselves and the titles and roles with which we present ourselves to the world. We may have invested a lot into those, and getting rid of them may hurt so badly as long as we identify with that self.

We may even experience it as a deadly Ordeal.


The good news is that, when we recognize that we are not that little self, and that we can expand

into an innate Wisdom that is larger than anything we may have experienced thus

far, fears disappear, potentials open up, and any wound is healed. All is well.


Have you ever truly let go of your past beliefs and your past self in order to overcome

a life-or-death crisis in your life? How did it feel like afterwards?


* * *


Atonement is about reconciliation. It's about integrating the opposites. It's about seeing the truth beyond the categories of what looks right and what looks wrong.


This chapter revolves around this awareness and challenges you to sense and see the Whole beyond any distinction.

There are also dysfunctional ways to look for this integration, and tragedies in myth and movies remind us of their dramatic consequences. The choice of which path to take is on you.


* * *


We've been taught that there is Light and there is Darkness, there is Good and there is Evil, and that you have to choose which side you're on.

That's how armies' identities are built; that's how the fear for enemies are evoked in people; that's how wars, even religious ones, are justified.


But is that really true?


What has always made me so doubtful about this Manichean, dualistic, black-or-white vision of life is that each opponent believes to be on the right side and to be fighting the evil ones.

I would argue that these opposing truths can't be The Truth.


Hollywood has made of this simplistic setup one of its most recurring theme. Think of The Lord of the Rings, the Marvel Universe, and any war movie. It sticks because it's easy to communicate and the audience instinctively knows they have to root for the good guys and disapprove the evil ones.


Yet, interesting insights emerge when films show much more complicated realities. A spotless hero could be tempted by the power of darkness, and the evil one can be moved by compassion.

The message then becomes: beyond the black-or-white appearance, each of us could open to a wider range of possibilities.


A Saga that is emblematic of this concept is Star Wars, that over its nine episodes explores the eternal fight between Light and Darkness with all the crises that people of both factions go through.


Before diving into Star Wars though, let's give a look at how Indian spirituality evokes the possibility that Good and Evil are just two sides of one single coin, two aspects that co-exist within the same Whole and that seem separate only under the illusion of the "not knowing".



Shiva as Nataraja, or Lord of the Cosmic Dance

Representations of the Hindu divinity Shiva as Nataraja, literally in Sanskrit "Lord of Dance", date back to the 6th century. They became popular in southern India in Tamil Nadu during the 10th century, under the Chola dynasty.


Under this depiction, Shiva represents the integration of opposites.


His dance takes both the form of Lasya (which is the gentle dance that creates the world) and Tandava (the energetic one that destroys the obsolete perspectives on life). Essentially, Shiva destroys what is old and weary in order to create the new.


This is represented via the gestures and the symbols of the Nataraja.


In the right back hand Shiva holds a drum in the form of a hourglass, with the beat of time as a symbol of the creation of the world. The front right hand is in the position of the abhaya mudra, standing for "fear not". With his right foot, Shiva tramples the dwarf demon Apasmara, symbol of spiritual ignorance. The left foot is lifted, with a sense of liberation and release of the soul. The left front hand points to this foot with the gesture of the elephant, the animal that opens its way through the forest, as a divine guide through the complexity of life. The left back hand holds the flame that creates and destroys.


Shiva is wearing a male earring on his right side, a female one on his left. In his hair there is a skull, symbol of death, and a crescent moon, symbol of birth and expansion. Throughout his body there are serpents, representation of the creative divine energy as well as of danger. On the right side of his whirling hair there is the goddess Gange, bearer of threats as a mighty river but also of physical and spiritual regeneration. Shiva's face is slightly smiling, as in bliss. All around the god a wheel of fire represents the cosmic flame that creates and consumes everything in the universe.


In essence, the dance of Shiva Nataraja represents the release of the soul from the trap of the illusion of duality. Around him everything moves in the wildness and ecstasy of the dance, yet his face is calm and still. The divinity transcends the pair of opposites and shows the way, beyond ignorance and through the embodiment of awareness.



Star Wars

The great Saga by George Lucas is structured in three triads of episodes.


The first triad, created many years after the original series as a prequel to it, and made up of Episode I: The Phantom Menace (1999), Episode II: Attack of the Clones (2002), and Episode III: Revenge of the Sith (2005), tells the tragic story of how Anakin Skywalker falls into the temptation of the dark side of the Force and becomes Darth Vader.


The second triad, the original Star Wars trilogy which include Episode IV: A New Hope (1977), Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back (1980) and Episode VI: Return of the Jedi (1983), narrates how Luke Skywalker becomes a Jedi, discovers that Darth Vader is his father, and tries to bring him on the light side of the Force.


The third and final triad, Episode VII: The Force Awakens (2015), Episode VIII: The Last Jedi (2017), and Episode IX: The Rise of Skywalker (2019), shows how Rey, the granddaughter of the evil Emperor Palpatine, discovers her origins, becomes a Jedi, and finally brings balance in the Force in the whole Universe.


In all of the triads the fight between new and old, light and dark, good and evil, repeats itself as an ecstatic dance.


* * *


In the first triad, we discover that Anakin doesn't have a real father, and the person that covers mostly this role is his Master Jedi Obi-Wan Kenobi.

Anakin is a tragic hero, and his atonement with the father takes a dramatic turn.

In fact, as he gets drawn by the dark side of the Force and changes name into Darth Vader, Obi-Wan confronts and defeats him in a lightsaber duel, severing his legs and left arm. Barely alive, Vader is then rescued by Palpatine and turned into a cyborg with the black armored suit and helmet that become his hallmark.


The fight against what was his fatherly principle forces Anakin to leave his past behind, and turns him into the worst version of himself.

In the process, he loses both the love of his life, her wife the Princess Padmé, and their twins Luke and Leia to whom she had just given birth. In fact, Padmé dies with a broken heart as she discovers that Anakin has chosen the evil path, while the babies, under false identities to protect them, are given in custody by the Jedi to foster parents.


The drama here comes from the fact that Anakin didn't choose the evil side for evil's sake nor for a delirium of omnipotence, but to fight the same fears that were consuming him.

In fact, several years before, his mother had died in his arms and he remained torn apart for not having been able to manipulate the Force and bring her back to life. Then, after receiving the news that his wife was pregnant, he kept having premonitory dreams on her dying in childbirth, and he doesn't want to relieve the same tragedy.

For this reason he is tempted by the evil Palpatine, who promises to teach him the power of the Force that would let him prevent death. Unfortunately, it doesn't turn as he expected.


* * *


In the second triad of movies, the atonement with the father takes the form of Darth Vader willing to take Luke Skywalker on the dark side of the Force, and of Luke willing to do the opposite with his father. Nobody wants to kill the other, both want to be "attuned" with each other.

In a first lightsaber duel, Vader cuts away Luke's right hand, but spares him from death. In a second battle it is Luke, now with a robotic hand, to cut away his father's right hand and to spare him. The Emperor Palpatine, who wants to take Luke on his evil side, incites him to let his rage break out, finish off his father, and discover in this way the dark side of the Force.

Luke refuses, Palpatine uses his Force lightning to kill him, but Vader intervenes and kills Palpatine.

In the clash, though, Vader is mortally electrocuted.

Before dying, he asks Luke to take off his black mask. The father wants to see the son with his own eyes, for the first and last time.

Through his son, the past identity of Darth Vader dies, and Anakin Skywalker is redeemed.


In the last scene of the movie, we see the spirit of Yoda, Obi-Wan, and Anakin coming together and watching over Luke.


* * *


The final triad of movies revolves around the two main characters of Ray, a scavenger who afterwards discovers to be the granddaughter of Palpatine, and Ben Solo, the son of Princess Leia and Han Solo.

Ray gets involved with the Resistance to fight the evil First Order, and gets trained by Luke Skywalker and General Leia to become a Jedi.

Years before, Luke had trained also Ben Solo, but had seen into him the seeds of the dark side and had tried to kill him. The young boy escaped and got actually seduced by the First Order, becoming known as Kylo Ren and finally becoming the Supreme Leader.

Afterwards, in a tragic moment, Han Solo tries to redeem Kylo Ren but is killed by him. Ben's atonement is dramatic, and leaves him empty and shattered.


For some reasons, Rey and Kylo are mentally and spiritually connected through the Force, and each tries to convince the other to change side. Rey senses to light part in him, Kylo senses the dark side in her.

They duel, and Kylo is deadly speared by Rey's lightsaber. Rey uses the Force to heal him, and flies away.

Kylo is then overcome by the memory of his father. The two of them converse, he finally throws away his lightsaber, and reclaims his identity as Ben Solo. He has taken a step forward to his real atonement, but something more has to happen to make it complete.


Rey decides to confront the dark Palpatine. To her surprise, he asks her to kill him, so that his spirit will pass into her and they will reign as one.

When no way out seems possible, Ben comes to help Rey, but Palpatine fights back and drains the life energy of them both to rejuvenate himself.

The spirits of Jedi come at rescue and lend the weakened Rey their strength. She raises up, holds Luke's and Leia's lightsabers, and deflects the lightning that Palpatine throws at her. He is killed, but Rey too dies.

Ben reaches her and uses the Force to bring her back to life, with the last bit of energy in him.

She revives, and he passes away.

Ben's atonement is now complete, with a sacrifice that crosses over to the apotheosis, the stage that we will discover in the next chapter.


Rey comes back to Luke's abandoned childhood home on Tatooine. She buries Luke's and Leia's lightsabers, since both sacrificed themselves to save Rey and The Resistance against the First Order.

An inhabitant asks her name. We see Luke and Leia's spirits watching on her. She replies "Rey Skywalker". The balance in the Force, and the atonement with the source, is complete.




The Atonement with the Father in Myth - The fall of Phaeton

The Greek myth of Phaeton is an example of tragic conclusion of an atonement with the father.


Phaeton, son of the Oceanid nymph Clymene and of Helios, the sun god, is challenged by his playmates on who is really his father.

His mother gives him assurance, and suggests him to ask directly Helios for confirmation.

When Phaeton turns to the sun god for some proof, Helios confirms, and as a proof he promises to grant him any wish he makes.


The reckless Phaeton asks then to do for a day what his father does: guiding the sun chariot. Helios advises against it, since not even Zeus was strong enough to keep the horses under control, but the kid insists.

With reluctance, Helios keeps his promise.


As expected, with the chariot in motion, the fool Phaeton loses control of the horses. The earth freezes when the sun is driven too far away, and then gets burnt when it swings too near to it.


To prevent further calamities, Zeus strikes down the chariot with his thunderbolt.

Phaeton falls down and dies.


Out of metaphors, here a permissive father allows an unprepared son to enter the world of adults without a proper initiation, without a proper Road of Trials. The boy gets struck and dies, without having adjusted his relationship with his father, moving from total ignorance of the fatherly principle to the wish to overcome it, without the patience required to master it.




Insurgent


In the dystopian world of the Divergent series, the clou moment of the second episode, Insurgent, happens when the main character goes through the last of her trials.

Beatrice Prior, known in code as Tris, has to open a secret box. It is likely going to contain precious information that could save her people, and she is probably the only one who could hack it. All the others have died trying.


To open the box, she enters a Lab and gets connected via cables to a sophisticated simulation system. It's been designed to recognize the worst fears of the user and to trigger them. It's so realistic that you can't tell the difference with a real life experience, and that's why everyone else failed. Tris has already passed the previous tests, but the last is the toughest. She has been told that this one has to do with demonstrating her amity, her peacefulness. For a warrior like her, that's definitely not a given.


Throughout the events narrated before in the story we had discovered that she is overcome by her sense of guilt. Her parents have died and she feels responsible. She shot dead one of her best friends not to be killed by him, and she hasn't been able to forgive herself for that.

Tris had kept for herself these secrets for a long time, and she had finally been forced to confess them publicly. She received forgiving from her community which agreed that she was not responsible nor could have she behaved differently, but she's not been able to tame this inner demon yet. As she enters the Lab, she's still torn inside and can't find comfort.


When Tris opens her eyes, another Tris is in front of her, separated by a glass wall, in the dark. It's her Shadow.


"What are you?," Tris asks.


"I'm you, Tris. I'm the real you."


The Shadow runs against Tris, breaks the glass with her body, assaults her, and crushes her on the wall of the lab.


"I'm not going to fight you," Tris says.


The Shadow smashes her face and knocks her down. "I'll make you fight me!"


"You're not me!"


"I am. I'm what they see when they look at you."


The Shadow hits Tris with such a violence that the whole ground and walls break in pieces.


"You killed Will and your parents. You are deadly," the Shadow says as she sneers at Tris.


The girl punches the Shadow away.


"No one is going to love you, Tris. No one will ever miss you. It's probably better off without you. You always ruin everything," and she pauses.

"And no one will ever, ever, forgive you for what you've done."


"You're wrong," Tris says as she starts breathing, releases her fists, and relaxes her arms and face. And she goes on, "Because I will."


The Shadow shakes her head with a half grin in her face and starts running against Tris.


Each step she takes is so heavy that the ground breaks where she plants her feet, and she finally jumps with violence against Tris.


The girl closes her eyes with serenity on her face.


As she hits Tris, the Shadow gets destroyed in thousand pieces.


Tris is untouched, safe, and in peace. She has let go of the fears that had kept her in her inner prison for so long. Her atonement is complete.


Now she's free, and the box comes to her to disclose its precious secret.





My Story

I realize that the Masterclass that I am taking is not the magic door to get out of my desperation.

I can't immediately use the tools and techniques that they have taught me to generate money and a new identity.


I feel that I've fooled and deluded myself and my beloved ones who had trusted me. I've lost precious time and money. I've followed a road that I hoped would have squashed my fears, while instead they had grown larger. I feel overwhelmed and devastated. I feel like a failure. There's no way out.


I find myself on the balcony of my house. Eight floors away from the garden. I look down.

I had been here several times throughout the previous months, wondering in my mind what would have been if everything finished in an instant. But they were just thoughts, and the flame of the sincere hope of a way out was keeping them at bay. I was still in control.


But now it's different.


I look down. There's no filter, no more boundaries, no more thoughts, just a threshold with the promise of ending the desperation. I sense that I'm not controlling it anymore. I take a step towards the railing.


And then, a voice in my head.


"Danilo, what the fuck are you doing?!"


It hits me like a cold shower. The immediate perception of danger crushes my belly, my chest, and my throat. A fraction of a second before it is too late, a final remaining bit of lucidity tells me to hold back.


I reenter home, in shock.


I reach my wife. "I want to talk with a psychotherapist," I tell her.


"What's happened?"


I had refused for too long her advice to go to therapy. I was too afraid of the stigma around it, of what people would have said. She knows me too well not to understand something tough has just happened. I was not used to change my mind easily.


"I'm no more in control. So far, I tried to do everything by myself, but this is beyond what I can do."

And after a pause, "I have to learn to ask for help."


That same minute my wife gives me the contact of a therapist. She had received it, several months before, from a friend of hers who was trained in a therapy center in my own city. She had advised me to follow up already back then, but I had refused. The day after I contact the person she had referred me to, who in turns recommends a colleague of him.


I start with her a journey that will last for one year, at first once a week, then once a fortnight, and then once a month.


Unexpected events start to happen one after the other, as a waterfall out of the Stream of Life, as detailed in the next chapter on the Apotheosis. I give great importance to the professional and loving care of my therapist, without whom I would have remained in the dark and cold forest of my thoughts, but I see the seeds of my way out in those few words of mine: "I have to learn to ask for help."


They make my past identity crumble. I was accustomed not to ask for support, but to find alone my way out. It was my way to prove that I was worth and adult and that I didn't need to ask for assistance to a fatherly figure that I felt missing. It was deeply ingrained in my identity since I was a child.


As in the case of Phaeton, moving from not knowing that fatherly principle into entering my Road of Trials without a proper aid was leading me to death.


Differently from the son of Helios though, by accepting to start psychotherapy I'm able to fall on my knees just before getting struck by a thunderbolt. I discover the beauty of humility, letting go of my own expectations to be the one who had to make all things happen, and opening up to the gift of receiving from others and from the Source.


I let go of the past self that isn't serving me anymore, and I go beyond it.


I embrace my Self. The Atonement is complete.


And the Apotheosis, the perception of the divinity within, is just one step away.


 


Your Story

  • At the end of your Road of Trials, after the Union with the Goddess within you, after overcoming the Temptation to give up, was there a moment in your life when you had to truly let go of your past beliefs and your past self to overcome a life-or-death crisis? Could you describe that moment? How did it feel like afterwards?

  • How would you describe yourself in terms of what you consider your identity? What would and could happen if you let go of it?



Beyond Your Story

  • Is there an "ultimate truth" in your mind that is holding you back?

  • Do you tend to see life as a sharp black-or-white reality, or you dwell in the possibility that the truth may manifest beyond the appearances of contrasts?

  • Rather than looking for answers, are you looking for the proper questions?

  • What if your true Self sits behind the labels that the society and you attached on your little self? How would that change the way you show up today?



 



Is this post lighting you up? Are you willing to Open Up to Your Potentials?

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Love,

Danilo


 

The Journey so far:


Copyright © Danilo Tambone. All rights reserved.



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