Friday, March 8, 2013

The Mystical meaning of Easter

Christian mysticism may be defined as the encounter and experience of our union with the divine as Jesus. This in fact partially defines my spirituality, as a mystical experience and understanding of Jesus has been very helpful to me in my journey to authenticity and the “all-knowing” of my divine self. As we approach the Easter season, I am considering the mystical meaning of it.

Traditionally the season celebrates the death and resurrection of Jesus, and consequently his substitutionary death on the cross and atonement for our sins.  His resurrection gave us the power to live a new life, free of sin and spiritual death. To the mystic, that is “too much information”,  as the mystics would answer:  What does that mean to me?

All the points and experiences of Jesus’ life represent some aspect of our own journey. The story is not about a “God out there” named Jesus, but it is about my journey, my spiritual incarnation, my death and resurrection.
Jesus did not come to be the God, the savior of the world, the atonement for my sins.  He came to do a greater thing: to show me how to save myself from the illusion of duality. He shows me that my feeling of separation from everyone and everything was false. He shows me that love is the very essence and fabric of human action, and that my compassion is the sweet incense which will awaken the world. After all of the illusions are stripped away, after all the programming stays hanging on my cross, after all the charged emotions and behaviors are exposed so that I can be healed, then I see it!  . God is not outside of myself. My resurrection shows me truly WHO I AM.

When I consider Oneness, I now realize that Oneness is the nature of all things. This concept may be felt as the dance of God in the garden and in the dance of God in the swamp. It is my worship of the new born child, and the worship of the beggar outside of my local store. It brings absolute non-judgment, and the acceptance of what is. Death and birth are cycles of reality, not things to be feared. All things are perfect, and where we see need, that activates our compassion. It can help me to say, “Forgive them, for they know not what they do”.
When the stone is rolled away and I walk out of the tomb, love is waiting there for me, and so are people suffering. The balance and experience of equanimity and compassion helps me to do my own divine dance.
 This experience is perhaps expressed well in the Bodhisattva vow.  The bodhisattva is the representation of the God realized person, who knowing they have experienced bliss in existence and consciousness, forsake the immersion experience of bliss for the sake of alleviating the suffering of the world. Their intention is simply to be there for all of those suffering souls, to point the way out of suffering. The vow is here:

Creations are numberless
I vow to free them.
Delusions are inexhaustible,
I vow to transform them.
Reality is boundless,
I vow to perceive it.
The awakened way is unsurpassable,
I vow to embody it.
                                           from     Upaya Zen Center, Santa Fe, NM

Jesus was a realized Bodhisattva, and his intention was to awaken that spark and intention in us all. This vow is experienced in duality as a ritual vow, a ceremony.  But in non-duality it is the nature of our existence.  It has always been our vow, we just had to awaken to realize it.
My intention is that I not allow some old stone of resistance to keep me in my tomb, this year, or today, or in this moment.  That is the mystical meaning of Easter for me.
Virginia Stephenson  03/08/2013

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Unity with the Divine.......Oneness!

Meister Eckhart said:

“The eye through which I see God is the same eye through which God sees me; my eye and God's eye are one eye, one seeing, one knowing, one love.” 

 Mysticism is the term to describe the direct experience of God or the Divine. The divine does not have to be a personal God, such as Jesus, etc.  It can be an impersonal God, a divine consciousness, existing in all sentient beings. The quote above refers to the process by which we realize that we are the divine. That there is a unity and complete identification with the divine that we can experience.

For those of us who have grown up in Western Civilization, this may sound absurd.  How can we be the God, the Creator of all? The answer lies in our understanding of the nature of reality.  Is our reality one of Dualism? This is the reality that we have been taught by our culture, our institutions, and our religions, that we are all separate human beings. We are in competition with others, we judge others and they judge us.  We compare ourselves with others and they with us. And God exists outside of ourselves, in His Heaven or some other sacred place. We learn through Dualism that there is a separation in the sacred and the mundane, and furthermore that we have a body, mind,soul and spirit, that are separate parts of ourselves.

 Oneness or Non-duality on the other hand, says that we are all connected, in fact, that we are One. We are not separate even though our senses have signaled to us that we are.We are not in competition with others, because we are one with them. We do not judge others because none of us are "better" than others. We can see differences in the decisions that we make, but that refers to our paths, not our value. God does not exist outside of ourselves, even though we have been taught that. God is not outside of us. All of existence is sacred, and all the parts of ourselves can be united so that we are WHOLE, and not fragmented. 

When we experience the awakening into Oneness, and see that we are not separate, and when we realize that God and I are one, then we see the truth of Eckhart's quote. We see the beauty and the majesty of sharing our eyes with God, and being in unity with all.