What has always been basic to Easter, or resurrection, is crucifixion. If you want resurrection, you must have crucifixion. Too many interpretations of the Crucifixion have failed to emphasize that relationship and emphasize instead the calamity of the event. If you emphasize the calamity, you look for someone to blame, which is why people have blamed the Jews. But crucifixion is not a calamity if it leads to new life. Through Christ’s crucifixion we were unshelled, which enabled us to be born to resurrection. That is not a calamity. So, we must take a fresh look at this event if its symbolism is to be sensed.
"If we think of the Crucifixion only in historical terms, we lose the symbol’s immediate reference to ourselves. Jesus left his mortal body on the cross, the sign of earth, to go to the Father, with whom he was one. We, similarly, are to identify with the eternal life within us. The symbol also tells us of God’s willing acceptance of the cross, that is to say, of his participation in the trials and sorrows of human life in the world, so that he is here within us, not by way of a fall or mistake, but with rapture and joy. Thus the cross has dual sense: one, of our going to the divine; the other, of the coming of the divine to us. It is a true crossing.
"In the Christian tradition, Christ’s crucifixion is a major problem: Why could the savior not have just come? Why did he have to be crucified?
“Well, various theological explanations have come down to us, but I think an adequate and proper one can be found in Paul’s Epistle to the Philippians, where he writes in chapter 2 that Christ did not think that God-hood was something to be held to—which is to say, neither should you—but rather, yielding, he took the form of a servant even to death on the cross. This is joyful affirmation of the sufferings of the world. The imitation of Christ, then, is participating in the suffering and joys of the world, all the while seeing through them the radiance of the divine presence. That’s operating from the heart cakra, where the two triangles are joined together.
"That’s what I see in the Crucifixion. Of all the explanations I’ve read, it is the only one that makes, what I would call, respectable sense. The others are all concerned with a wrathful god who has to be appeased by the sacrifice of his son. What do you do with a thing like that? It is a translation of the sacrifice into a very crude image. The idea of God being entity that has to be appeased is just too nasty a concretion.
Don’t let making a living and fulfilling your (dubious? overwhelming? unasked-for?) social responsibilities drive you crazy. Sometimes (perhaps all the time) the most valuable work you do is internal. Learning to see in a new way seems like something that takes place wholly inside you, unconnected to the world at large. But this is not true.
Shift your perspective and you shift the way you are changing on all levels, which affects the entire world. This is revolutionary. Anyone can do it. It doesn’t take money or immense personal resources. Your spouse, kids, job, obligations, health, or living arrangement are not obstacles to this. You only have to believe that you are not empty, that there is something worth noticing inside you. Then you have to get to know what that is.
Whether or not you feel like you are a small person with a small role in the world is irrelevant. Everyone believes they are weak. Everyone feels small—until they stop believing the exploitative heroic myths that society uses to keep itself under control and contained. Look at those with high social status and you will see that most are either blinded by their own mythology or they aren’t and are terrified. They’re all asking, “Do I deserve this? Am I this? What does this mean?” Look at those with low status and you will see the same questions written on their faces.
Find the rare person who knows him/herself and you will notice a certain correspondence between that person’s external and internal lives. To be a whole person is to embrace who you are such that everything you do becomes an act of self-work. This is true no matter how commonplace the activity may be, no matter how quietly it is performed, and no matter how much value has been placed on it by a world that has been taught to kick itself every minute of every day.
Relax. Breathe. There is nothing external to be accomplished that does not begin with who you are inside.
If there is any time in life when you cannot laugh at yourself or the situation, there is work to be done, I think. Like everyone, I am prone to taking life too seriously, way too often. That’s the main reason I have even thought to write this little commentary and share this quote filled with wisdom. Perhaps you feel the same.
Think of a time, now or in the past, where you were struggling in life. In a bad mood. Take yourself back to that moment in your memory, and laugh at it. You’re still here. Harness the feeling in your body when you are happy, and apply it to yourself when you feel yourself tensing up or becoming defensive or agitated in life. From this point forward, if you can remember, find something about your day to laugh about. You might just see how this silly idea is quite serious in it’s effectiveness! I’ll try it with you.