Rewinding the Way — Break Free to Follow an Untamed God, by Todd Wynward. Review by Bob Pajer
In a book I read recently, “The Jihad of Jesus The Sacred Nonviolent Struggle for Justice,” by Dave Andrews, the author considers Jesus as Jihadist. In Todd Wynyard’s book, Rewinding the Way, Jesus becomes the model for returning to the wild, which is supposed to be a place of balance, where all depends on all, creatures living in a form that preserves their nature and produces an environment that supports heathy continuance of the species (including one species preying on another to maintain some kind of fixed interdependence that is both, at least in our minds, cruel and loving.) The parenthetic comment is my thought, not Wynward’s.
According to Wynward we seem in this world to be caught up in a period that is aiming toward destruction. The cause of our demise is a growing world of corporate environment, gone astray with “afluenza,” which is the need for more and more of what great societies can produce, and — all through selfish practices. Get what you can while you are here and you will be doing what’s best for yourself, and some feel, for everyone. Live life to its fullest. Religions have lost their way in teaching us love, compassion and salvation. Our current political campaign to win the presidency of the United States and become head of the world’s richest and historically one of the most Christian and violent empires, seems to reflect a self-centeredness beyond what the world has ever seen.
Jesus, who is very much the hero of Wynward’s very thought-provoking book, is depicted along the lines of what he sees as an answer: something is terribly broken and what has to happen is a correction of the “out there,” namely our environment. The saving grace is rewilding, returning to what is natural in the environment that will provide a course for correction. An untamed God, meaning I guess we have tamed God, is our last great hope for salvation.
That we have “tamed” God is something I agree with. Of course you can’t tame God because there is no power outside of God. Taming means there is some power to do so. But we can think we have made God up to suit our ego. Genesis, I believe, essentially tells us we have killed off the old God and made a new one. If one believes illusions are true it will seem so. The story begins with God calling for Adam, “Where are you?’ where he is (spiritually), to God putting everyone out of paradise. The moment Adam expresses his guilt for his mistake by blaming or faulting Eve, Adam has separated from her and God, in his mind. Not in reality.
I think Jesus would agree with returning our minds to what the real God is and always will be. But that return is in our minds, which are in God’s mind. Not “out there”. In fact there is no “out there.” Only an illusion.
I believe in fact that Jesus’ only message is: salvation takes place as a movement inside us, in our minds, as we let go of the illusion we are separated from God. Yet, while we struggle to reach God, we struggle more in maintaining the horror of the struggle and maintaining our seeming separateness and the safety it seems to hold out to us. We are terrified of letting go of what we think we have: a life of illusion and separate state of mind we make up to search for the one way that will supplant the creation we think we have left. Jesus has only on answer to our one problem: because we feel and think we are separated (our problem), let go of and unlearn all the blocks we have made to God’s everlasting love. Separation and specialness go hand in hand along with loneliness and despair, even though neither choice is real. And it takes an enormous amount of our energy leaving no time to awaken and see what we really are: God’s holy children; we are His love for us. We make up an awful lot to disprove that which is the only truth there is. Yet we can unmake the path that got us to where we are. Not alone, but with each other and God’s grace. The one solution is: return to God through forgiveness in this world. Not to change the world, but to change ourselves. Not really to change anything. Forgiveness means we are exactly how God created us.
Jesus has a singular view that comes from his pure and absolute love for us, all of us: we need miracles to be saved, and he makes it possible to accept them, be a part of carrying them out, and for us to use them, as he offers them to us. In a sense, this is in agreement with Wynward’s idea of returning to what we are and can never be otherwise, because miracles are natural changeless states of being. However, for Jesus’, that is an inside job. The truth is we cannot separate from our Source (it is only in our delusional thinking that we can) and we cannot not be on a path which will free us of the feelings we are alone and endlessly searching for our home in God’s Kingdom. We haven’t gone anywhere and there’s no where to go.
Yet we can’t save ourselves. Separation is too complicated and depends on mighty mind tricks and magic so deep and so well constructed by the ego, our seeming dwelling place in the illusion, can’t be corrected within itself. However, it is the only place correction can take place. Miracles are needed because they come out of our higher Mind, in the unconscious place where we are still connected to God. Some call this the Christ Mind. There are other names for It and ways in addition to Christianity to reach it. Jesus is a Source for salvation because he re-established an unbroken connection to our Source in the realm of the Peace of God, the Atonement. Miracles are a return to a loving God who in truth never allowed it to be otherwise. There is nothing unnatural about reality. There is nothing at all violent about our return. We don’t owe a debt. We do need to repent: follow God’s plan for returning our compass in the direction of God.
Miracles are simply a return to how things always were and always will be. In our natural state we are as God created us. Miracles are a product of God’s changeless love to bring all of His children home. There is no special order to miracles. One is equal to every other. No matter what we think as to their special characteristics, perceived major or minor power, or how they stack up against the laws of the world. Yes, we do need miracles because our self-centeredness has produced only sorrow and suffering, for all, even if I think I’m sitting in my nice home with two fireplaces, a few bathrooms, a beautiful garden, a lovely family, without a dog. I cannot separate in reality from those who have or have not otherwise. Sadness is of the world we made.
There must be a better way and that better way is in all of us to be recognized through spiritual awakenings and experiences that are a result of Jesus’ miracles. Changing symptoms, or effects, will not change the cause that brings about our mistakes.
Our suffering, off the track world, will change before our eyes as we gain the vision that is ours. Jesus must have felt that. Because in the midst of his mind blowing, extreme example of what it is like to think, “Brother, you think you are murdering me. You are mistaken. I think not; and, my thinking is in my Father’s mind, as is yours,” — and in that one moment he changed the thinking of the whole world. And from that moment on we are set on a course to look upon Adam, who must have been insane for a moment, with forgiveness. We are no longer looking at a God who condemns, punishes, and dismisses His Son. We are looking at the thought we are forgiven, because nothing happened. Nothing could possibly happen to make God angry. God does not condemn. He doesn’t do guilt. We are sinless. We don’t have to change the earth, or protect it. We do need to see it differently and know that is in fact its protection. It is our dominion over the earth.
Wynward starts the book, as many of us know, implying there is something wrong “out there”: “The good life in modern society really isn’t so good. In fact, these days it often feels exhausting. Frantic. Broken. Headed for a cliff. Actually, why is it called ‘the good life’ when its so often stress-inducing, resource-hogging, soul-deadening, never-ending pursuit of more?” (p. 9)
Maybe, what we call life is not just not all right, but it’s not reality. Just maybe we mess things up and God corrects everything the moment we do so. But correction now becomes a correction in mind, perception, not any change in what we see as something amiss in God’s world. Because we don’t see. Nothing is amiss and His correction is so the moment in time when we believe something is amiss. We, however, dream a world that we can’t let go of, an illusion of life, built on perceptions that could never be a part of our co-creator role with God, yet we cling to,which takes enormous energy to prove we’re right and God is wrong. But maybe everything is heading in the only way God’s plan will take it after all. I believe it is.
How painful is or world in its constant effort to deny God’s existence! Excruciating if we really think about it. Miserable, definitely. Brutal, conflictual, deadening, murderous, violent, hateful…..? Yes. And no religious belief but perhaps the Mennonite religion comes anywhere close to bringing about a leadership process that opens our minds to the Peace of God instead. Only forgiveness will bring us back to a loving God. Todd Wynward is a Mennonite and he is certainly on course in seeing this group of people on the path, as true practitioners of forgiveness, as Jesus teaches us. ( Amish School Shooting. http://www.lancasterpa.com)
That Wynyard recognizes Mennonite people have come about as close as anyone has ever come to peace and understanding in this world is truly a reminder to all of us who take a breath here: forgive and we change the world as it changes before our eyes. That is happening. Here and there, but on a steady course. In God’s time.
Jesus is no holier than we are. He asks that we not ever consider ourselves holier than anyone else. Yet Jesus is still far ahead of most everyone in terms of what it takes to recognize union with God and union with all of our brothers and sisters. I’m not sure, however, re-wilding our description of him and his teaching will get us there. We are really called to achieve the level of thinking he did, a change in perception brought about by God, who then takes the last step in returning us, away from perceptions to Knowledge and our true nature, which is complete acceptance of God’s gift of creation: everything. Anything short of our truly changing our perception to recognize our holiness in ourselves and everyone, cannot work.
Jesus has done something perhaps no one has yet done. It is accept that our only function here is forgiveness. The ego has a way of changing how we use words to keep us in the dark over our fear mongering. Understandable, because it want’s nothing to do with forgiveness. Except to re-define it as a judgment, condemnation, pardon within the context of those two mindsets, and then feeling superior to the person we try to pardon for what we also do, but cannot see.
Forgiveness means, a recognition that each and everyone of us is God’s creation, “given” all by All. To recognize means to re-know. It is in this process we begin to understand that we are all in God’s hands and cannot be harmed. Peace comes with this understanding. No where else. Forgiveness is a mighty reflection of God’s love on earth. Since we know so little about Love here, God offers us a reflection of it we can put into practice. At least practice its meaning as often as we need to to get it through our thick ego skulls that nothing can harm us in our true reality. It does not mean we are credulous. People do harm people. Bodies can be torn apart. But we are not bodies. Our minds are in the Mind of God, all of us. No exceptions. My interests are shared, as are yours, along with everyone else’s in this world. I am here for the same reason you are: I forgot one day that God is God and we, you and I, are His children who need guidance and love. He has no special child among us because His love for us won’t allow it. His laws are non-dual, meaning He alone has no opposite or opposing force. All defense then becomes an attack on God’s will. There is nothing to defend. We are invulnerable and when we try to defend ourselves, the defense is an attack on our own God given invulnerability.
Todd Wynyard has done some wonderful things with his life, as described in this book. I love this book because it is so very well written and touches on all the things we need to be concerned about but must know that whatever we do alone won’t work, for alone we are nothing. I think that kind of surrender is what it takes for the Christ in all of us to awaken to the only connection there is, in oneness we find God. It is God’s plan for all of us and it is being carried out. In different forms, surely. Christianity is one of many forms of returning to the Father who has never left us. Our mistake of thinking we can think without Him, is our mistake. We are not to feel guilty for such an arrogant thought. God will always prevail in our thinking, where the thought of Him has never left. God only wants us to see the unconditional love He has for us, in His divine children, our brothers and sisters, and to forgive each for what he/she has not done. Guilt can never be a part of that. We don’t have to prove anything to God, for nothing has ever affected His love for us. Changing our environment, returning it to its original place, seeing to our garden is a wonderful first step. But caring for our spiritual centers through the forgiveness Jesus taught us is all that will ever return us to, “I am come home.” (p. 262)
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.