What does Easter mean to you? I don’t know what it means to me, honestly. I grew up a Jew, so Easter was the holiday where all my friends got dressed in their beautiful, pastel and colorful Easter clothes and went to church. In those days we wore white gloves with our dress coats–I had a beautiful gray dress coat and white gloves. That was the coat I wore to temple on Friday nights–Family night was once a month. However, I knew nothing about what Easter meant because my mother wouldn’t allow me to study or read anything about Jesus, or Christ or the Christian religion. I was seven when I brought home a little book from the school library, The Story of Jesus. My mother went ballistic and told me we are Jews and we didn’t study things about Jesus ( she didn’t call him Christ) and she made me take the book back to the library the next day. I returned it to our librarian, who unfortunately lived up to the stereotype of the grouchy, white hair in a bun spinster many librarians were in those days. She pursed her lips and looked at me as the heathen I was. It was actually a sweet little book and I was intrigued about the baby Jesus.
Many, many years later I spent twenty years as a Christian studying the new testament from a more mystical but also detailed point of view, and I had a kind of epiphany. No, I did not become a born again Christian or join a cult, although me and the kids attended Unity Church, a metaphysical Church, for many years, (we also kept going to temple and my son had a Bar Mitzvah in that period of time), but then I realized that the Buddhist and Zen approach to life and practice more suited me, my spiritual values and outlook and my temperament. I will not reveal here what my epiphany was because it is so politically incorrect that some might call me an anti-Semite even though my ancestors in this life are “Semites,” whatever that means. I will leave that epiphany for another time, when I am just about to kick off the earth plane. As for now, I have no need to share it, but I am pretty sure that the Jesus story, some of which I am sure is historical, was the cause of a major rift in the human species that continues to this day, and if the Jewish people don’t embrace reincarnation and the realization that they have been everything at one time or another, the fight in Middle East will continue until Global Warming stops the whole damn thing, which I am pretty safe in saying will happen fairly soon.
I am grateful for the fact that I can call myself a Jewish, Buddhist, Christian Astrologer and I see no problem with holding all of those religions and philosophies all together in one person. I can have two opposing ideas in my head at the same time actually–however these religions, philosophies, stories, inventions or science of mind as the Dali Lama says Buddhism really is, are not a dialectic but the roundabout storytelling about why we are here that the human species has been telling itself for a very long time. The Jesus Story, the Buddha Story, the Mohammed Story, the Moses Story, the Abraham Story–these are all incredible and insightful parables and their historical significance or reality is just not important. I take what works for me from each story and move on. Many people think this makes me a dilettante, but I could care less.
I see truth in just about everything and falsehood in just about everything. Fortunately I have good critical thinking faculties and I can give myself permission to take a bite of enchilada without obligating myself to eat the whole damn thing. A small bit of the Christian enchilada, the Jewish enchilada and a big bite of Buddhist enchilada mixed with astrology and mystical studies: mix, stir and eat! Yum! A really full and rich spiritual meal. Alan Watts used to call himself a “spiritual entertainer” and I call myself a spiritual salad–all the ingredients are necessary to make a really full and rich meal out of a salad such as this, and boy, do I enjoy it! I believe in the Angelic Hierarchy, I have guardian angels and spirit guides and writing angels (thank you, guys!) and my music angel is–well–he’s an angel! I’ve had angelic intervention several times in my life and it has saved my life a few times. Other times it has given me the strength to go on when I felt all was lost. And that is what I am getting to today, Easter, 2014. I took my morning walk, got my morning cuppa joe and sat in the little Monument park a block from my space. The gentle breeze, the warmth of a gorgeous April day, so welcome after the Arctic Vortex Winter from Hell, warmed me, and depressed though I was, I was able to re-address the day and get to gratitude for being alive. I find, more and more, that this exercise is absolutely essential for me on a daily basis. I just don’t wake up feeling all that great and unless I meditate and do something tangible to touch something spiritual inside of me, I am going to be walking around day after day depressed, miserable and filled with self-pity.
I have to confess I really do not know or understand the Easter revelation. Something about how Jesus rose from the dead and came back to disciples to show them that, indeed, life is eternal and there is no such thing as death? I don’t care whether I or anyone else believes this or it is true or not. It can or cannot be true; that is irrelevant. What matters is that we understand that life is eternal, that there is no such thing as “death” of the essential essence that is the human spirit. The body dies, yes. The personality is scattered off into the ether, the perspective (I imagine) widens and deepens, we get to see the whole panorama of personalities and lives we’ve lived and others have lived and the groups and people we’ve lived these lives with. Why is that portal closed to us while in our bodies? Precious few of us ever have the privilege of glimpsing former lives in detail without great effort and much doubt as to whether what we’ve accessed is even true or just the remnants of stories told to us, our subconscious, our imagination, who knows? Reincarnation cannot be “proved” in the empirical world. It really demands faith.
Faith. What a word. It sure has a bad rep in our pragmatic world. We’ve divided down the middle humanity: people of faith and religion and people who are scientific and rational. I love science and I consider myself pragmatic and rational and I believe in Darwin, and yet I also have Faith! That makes me a true iconoclast I guess. I fit with no group. Buddhism is not a religion, it a science of mind, and it does not encourage faith at all. Christianity appears crazy and irrational at times to me, and it requires faith in things I find ridiculous. I’ve had to tread a path of my own, I guess, that combines an understanding of things that cannot be proved alongside the beauty of empirical science. In fact, the deeper I go into the science of the universe, both the macro and the micro levels of it, the more I realize that some sort of intelligence runs through all of it. That’s all I can say. So for me, Easter is about understanding that Intelligence as it incarnated in the personhood of Jesus. He came to upgrade the human approach to life on earth and precious few understood his message. The Church and all of its offshoots sure didn’t and doesn’t. The Jews turned their back on it and continue to do so. Other religions try to ignore it. So where are we?
If Jesus came back to earth today, what would he say?