Doubt-filled spiritual leader and reluctant Grammy-nominated Christian musician Michael Gungor finally let go of his belief in God as he tried to whittle together a god that he could love. Letting go of the stories that defined his identity and value in the world led Gungor and his family on a wild and painful journey through atheism, mysticism, betrayal, loss, medical issues, moving trucks, and thousands of online trolls.
The deconstruction of his faith is one story. The transformation of it is another. As Gungor lets us know, our stories are the seams of illusion that we sew into realityin order to label this and that. But what you think of as you (or anything else for that matter) is simply movement within the ocean of Beingof THIS. Once you see that is it just a story, you can let go and be free.
THIS is beyond words, category, or distinction. It simply and fully is.
Through personal story, parable, philosophy, physics, and absurdity, Gungor shows us that who we think we are is an illusion, a constriction of reality that creates suffering in our lives. This: Becoming Free is a letter of love, reminding you of who you truly are under those stories of yours.
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About the Author
Michael Gungor, aka Vishnu Dass, is a Grammy-nominated artist, composer, and author who lives in Los Angeles, California, with his wife and two daughters. He leads the musical collective Gungor, cohosts The Liturgists podcast, and is the author of The Crowd, the Critic, and the Muse: A Book for Creators.
Read an Excerpt
Enlightenment. Nirvana. Moksha. Freedom. Realization. Salvation. Union. Satori. Samadhi. The Kingdom of Heaven. Call it what you like, but it’s real and almost entirely missing from the Western imagination. The language isn’t missingI grew up talking about salvation all the time. We were not only “saved,” meaning that we were on God’s good side and the ones who would get to dwell with him for all eternity, but we were “being saved” as well. This meant that we were being purified and made more like Christ while we awaited his final return. In other words, salvation was always about something other than THIS. We would be fully saved someday if . . .
In the same way, people in the West have taken the word enlightenment and used it in ways that the ancient traditions never intended. For a Hindu person, to be enlightened is to have seen through the illusion of separateness and experienced union with the divine. Immanuel Kant’s famous essay “Answering the Question: What is Enlightenment?” more accurately defines enlightenment in the eyes of Western individualismthinking for oneself rather than simply following another’s direction. In more contemporary language, the term woke, a popular slang word used to denote someone who is awake or enlightened, has nothing to do with waking up to the nondual nature of ultimate reality, but instead is about becoming more aware of the important, relative truths of social and racial justice. Ancient terms like awake or enlightened are so distant from our collective consciousness in the West, that we can’t even begin to distinguish the difference between the unity of ultimate reality that transcends story and the particulars of the relative reality of our stories. In other words, we’ve fundamentally lost sight of our own seeing.