Betrayal, Torture, Suffering & Death
Today is Good Friday. A day where Christians all over the world remember the day that Jesus was betrayed by people within his circle; arrested because people were afraid of what he was teaching, as his teachings were in opposition to the current religious and political powers; sentenced to death by a politician eager to win votes from his constituents through this act of condemnation; ridiculed, shamed, and assaulted by the people in his community whose perspectives were so rigid they did not even attempt to try to understand what he was teaching; tortured by soldiers loyal to the politicians, and ultimately hung on a cross where he would succumb to his injuries and die.
The story of Jesus is widely known - even by non-Christians, agnostics, atheists and people who practice alternate religions, so the question that comes to mind is: what were we intended to learn from this story? In fact, what were we intended to learn from any story contained in any religious text?
THE PSYCHO-SPIRITUAL CONNECTION
Take a moment to consider the fact that for as long as there have been tribes of people, there has been some form of religious or Spiritual practice. Archaeologists and anthropologists have found drawings on cave walls that appear to depict spiritual practices dating back as far as caveman times.
Carl Jung, the father of depth psychology, wrote in Psychology and Religion:
Religion appears to me to be a peculiar attitude of the human mind, which could be formulated in accordance with the original use of the term 'religio,' that is, a careful consideration and observation of certain dynamic factors, understood to be 'powers', spirits, demons, gods, laws, ideas, or whatever name man has given to such factors as he has found in his world powerful, dangerous or helpful enough to be taken into careful consideration, or grand, beautiful and meaningful enough to be devoutly adored and loved.
Religion or Spiritual practices, have been and continue to be, a method of teaching us how to understand and navigate through the ever-changing challenges that life brings while reminding us to look within our own self first.
Joseph Campbell, the world's foremost authority on comparative religions, in his conversation with Bill Moyers said:
The Christ story involved a sublimation of what originally was a very solid vegetal image. Jesus is on Holy Rood, the tree, and he is himself the fruit of the tree. Jesus is the fruit of eternal life, which was on the second forbidden tree in the Garden of Eden. When man ate of the fruit of the first tree, the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, he was expelled from the Garden. The Garden is the place of unity, of nonduality of male and female, good and evil, God and human beings. You eat the duality and you are on the way out. The tree of coming back to the Garden is the tree of immortal life, where you know that I and the Father are one.
Getting back into that Garden is the aim of many a religion. When Yahweh threw man out of the Garden, he put two cherubim at the gate, with a flaming sword between. Now, when you approach a Buddhist shrine, you will find at the gate two guardians - those are the cherubim, and you're going between them to the tree of immortal life. In the Christian tradition, Jesus on the cross is on a tree, the tree of immortal life, and he is the fruit of the tree. Jesus on the cross, Buddha under the tree - these are the same figures. And the cherubim at the gate - who are they? At the Buddhist shrines you'll see one has his mouth open, the other has his mouth closed - fear and desire, a pair of opposites. If you're approaching a garden like that, and those two figures there are real to you and threaten you, if you have fear for your life, you are still outside the garden. But if you are no longer attached to your ego existence, but see the ego existence as a function of a larger, eternal totality, and you favour the larger against the smaller, then you won't be afraid of those two figures, and you will go through.
We're kept out of the Garden by our own fear and desire in relation to what we think to be the good of our life.
Bill Moyers asks: Have all men at all times felt some sense of exclusion from an ultimate reality, from bliss, from delight, from perfection, from God?
Campbell answers: Yes, but then you also have moments of ecstasy. The difference between everyday living and living in those moments of ecstasy is the difference between being outside and inside the Garden. You go past fear and desire, past the pair of opposites....into transcendence. This is an essential experience of any mystical realization.
The purpose of religion or of a Spiritual practice is to provide you with tools for self-reflection. This practice, once administered by shamans, priests, oracles, seers, elders etc. who knew the importance of maintaining a connection with this unseen power most of us has named God, was appropriated by academia and science and became the discipline of psychology. The Spiritual aspect of it - the importance of connecting with that part of you inside that knows the difference between right and wrong - your moral compass - your intuition or Spirit - was taken out of the equation and replaced by the ego of man who believes education and science trumps Divine Wisdom.
THE CROSS YOU CARRY
There is so much anger toward the dogma of religious institutions that people forget that people created the institution - not God.
An institution can only be as good (or bad) as the people at it's helm - the folks in charge, and the folks in charge have mind files of their own, that if un-reSOLVED, are psychically projected onto those who seek counsel within it's walls.
The tragedy of the story of the crucifixion of Jesus is that each and every one of us has experienced the same kind of betrayal, the same kind of public humiliation by our peers, the same restrictions placed upon us by someone who thought they knew better, but if our own mind file that deals with the teachings of the church has not been reSOLVED, then we miss the important lesson in the story. As Joseph Campbell taught:
[Transcendence]...is an essential experience of any mystical realization. You die to your flesh and are born into your spirit. You identify yourself with the consciousness and life of which your body is but the vehicle. You die to the vehicle and become identified in your consciousness with that of which the vehicle is the carrier. That is the God.
Healing is impossible without God. Our emotional well-being - our psychological state - is inextricably tied to our Spiritual health and vice versa. It has been for thousands of years, and it will continue to be as long as man exists.
Review and reassess the files in the filing cabinets of your mind that deals with the story of Jesus by asking yourself the following:
1. Have I ever been betrayed by someone close to me?
2. How did they betray me?
3. What was my reaction to the betrayal? Did I create, carry and harbour a resentment?
4. Have I forgiven the person or people who betrayed me? If not - why? What will I need to happen to feel genuine heart-felt forgiveness toward the person or people who I feel betrayed me?
5. Have I ever been criticized in front of others for my beliefs?
6. Have people called me derogatory names for my beliefs?
7. Have I ever called anyone else a derogatory name for their beliefs?
8. Has anyone ever hurt me - physically through hitting, slapping, punching, or shoving, or emotionally through constant criticism, or harsh judgement due to a difference of opinion?
9. Have I ever hit, slapped, punched or shoved anyone regardless of the situation that provoked it?
10. Have I ever been ostracized for my beliefs?
11. Have I ostracized anyone for their beliefs?
12. Have I ever felt as though my heart had been broken to the point where I felt as though I had died - even just a little?
13. Have I ever experienced a Dark Night of the Soul?
14. Have I ever felt as though I was reborn after learning a truth?
Our psychological and Spiritual well-being are linked. Without God's healing power, genuine peace and joy cannot be obtained. Don't allow your resentment toward the dogma of the 'church' keep you from learning the important lessons contained within it's teaching. ReSOLVE your church file and you'll find that your healing will happen much faster.
© 2020 Penny Hodgson. All Rights Reserved