At this time surrounding Easter, I find myself reflecting on the message of this symbolic time -- the resurrection. If we look at the message of Easter, what do we find? The master Jesus spoke in parables throughout his life and his teachings were to be interpreted beyond their obvious meaning. They were multi-layered. For a "beginner soul", the meaning was one, for a more "advanced" or "old soul" the meaning was deeper.
Yes, the obvious message is that Christ has risen from death and teaches us of eternal life. Jesus had told his disciples about his many "miracles", that these too they could do. That anything he could do, we could do as well. Thus, the rising up from death gives all students of Jesus a security of eternal life -- no need to fear death, since death is only a temporary state, a door to be passed through to go beyond to a new life.
Every night and every morning we go through a death of sorts and a rising from the dead. The state of sleep is very much like dying -- one's soul leaves the body for another place. Whether at night we experience teachings in other realms, or alternate lives in other times and places, is up to the individual soul. Yet each night, we leave the body and die to this one existence to go into another one or ones.
And each morning, we return to this body and are "born again" into our present daily existence.
Born Again Each Morning
Every night, we "die" and every morning we are "born again". The great advantage of this whole scenario is that every day we have a fresh start -- a chance to start over and make new choices, choose new attitudes, new ways of behaving. We are not restricted to the old ways -- we are born anew each morning and can decide, just as we decide which clothes to wear, which attitudes and beliefs we will "wear" that day.
What I've noticed is that what one once felt was the only absolute way for something to be, often does a 180 degree turn at some point in our lives and we get to live and experience the other side of the scale. It seems that we humans are meant to experience the whole gamut of emotions and beliefs and then learn to let go of them and be born again in each moment and in each experience.
Born Again Without Any Expectations
Imagine what your life would be like if you had no preconceived notions of anything. No expectations of bad things happening, no expectations of "so and so" being a jerk, no belief that things would "always" be a certain way? If every moment we were simply born to that moment without imposing upon it our beliefs and expectations? Life would be much lighter -- less heavy to bear and less dark and intense.
If we carried with us the childlike expectation of things wonderful about to happen -- that every new person that we meet or every person who comes back into our life is bringing us a gift -- life would be so joyful. But, we have placed our own "standards" on the gifts people and events bring. We don't see a traffic jam as a gift -- whereas, it is bringing the gift of an opportunity to practice patience, or perhaps it is bringing the gift of life as it is keeping you from the "perfect timing" of an accident that could have happened at another location had you not been in the traffic jam. Each moment is perfect in its being -- if we but allow it its own imperfect perfection.
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Each New Day Brings a Gift
Everything, each new day, each new experience, each person we meet, is a gift. The gifts are not always pretty or sweet. Sometimes they are harsh. I remember for years feeling very cheated by my parents because I spent 4 years of my childhood in a boarding school -- not having a "normal" family life like other children. Yet, years later, I realized that those 4 years had been a gift -- there I learned independence, learned to stand on my own two feet, learned that I was safe away from home and from my mommy, learned that I did not "need" (as in clinging desperation) anyone or thing, that things always were for the best? Those four years are part of who I am now. So, though at the time I hated those 4 years of boarding school, I later realized they were part of the curriculum for my life's journey.
Most things that we have resisted or despaired over throughout our life, when we look back with the proper perspective, we realize these events were another "birth" into a new aspect of life -- something we needed to master, something we needed to experience. Yet, one day we wake up and choose a different existence -- we are born again to a new choice, to a new way of being. Many a drug addict has later gone on to be a drug counselor. How better to help people going through that experience than by having lived it oneself?
The Daily Easter Rebirth
Easter is about being born again -- let's make Easter a daily event, in the same way that Earth Day should be a daily event. Not just remembering the things that count on one day of the year, but incorporating those things in our daily lives so that we live each day with the messages that those special days bring. Every day we can rebirth ourselves into a more conscious and loving way of being.
Every day, we can start anew -- a new day, a new life, a new person. One that can let go of past expectations, or past recriminations, or past traumas and fears. Each day we are born again into a new experience --- joy or fear -- which do you choose today?
Loving-Kindness: The Revolutionary Art of Happiness
Author: Sharon Salzberg.
The author, Sharon Salzberg, shows how each one of us can cultivate love, compassion, joy, and equanimity.
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Marie T. Russell is the founder of InnerSelf Magazine (founded 1985). She also produced and hosted a weekly South Florida radio broadcast, Inner Power, from 1992-1995 which focused on themes such as self-esteem, personal growth, and well-being.