Clustered around a glorious full moon, this auspicious week weaves together the sacred rites of Passover and of Holy Week. It is a week of recounting and remembering, of tracking ancient holy events and drawing their relevancy into our lives today, right here and right now. What can we glean from the Israelites’ escape from slavery in Egypt, and from Jesus’ crucifixion and resurrection? What lessons do these events offer us? How can we use them as a compass, to continue to guide ourselves mindfully forward in this complex and changing world?
Clearly I am not a scholar of the Old or New Testaments. I am simply a sober Jewish yogi who has been blessed with a multitude of opportunities to continue growing. From the lens of mindfulness, let’s consider the gifts of this holy week.
The exodus story rings with relevance—as the Jewish people found their way through suffering and slavery in Egypt, the way out of bondage was through it. Yoga tells us, too, that we must keep proceeding forward, relaxing into the current moment, through the samskara, the internalized energy cyst. These external life events and our internal feelings about them are the doorway home to integration and to freedom. As we find our way through our individual red sea, even the greatest of traumas can transmute from post-traumatic stress to post-traumatic growth. As we outlive our suffering, we are blessing; more of our authentic selves emerge.
Jesus of Nazareth, tried for his crimes against the Roman state, had the most severe of punishments. Nevertheless, despite his ultimate suffering and his cruxification, he rose from the dead to become the central figure in Christianity. This Easter Sunday celebrates his resurrection, on the third day after his burial by the Romans at Calvary in 30 AD. From his death came new life, spirituality, and possibility for multitudes of people through the centuries.
Endings merge into new beginnings. Springtime abounds around us, harbinger of new growth both outside of us and within. Here is a simple meditation for your heart:
Breathe and relax. Settle into your chair. Let your eyes be soft. Feel the air on your hands, on your face. Allow the breath to return you to this precious moment.
Consider, from inside, out—
In your current life moment, what endings have you outlived?
Just notice. Watch the breath as it softly bathes you in presence.
What new beginnings are emerging in your springtime, as the days warm, as the earth softens, as the birds celebrate their return?
Wrap yourself up in the blessings of this auspicious week. Drawing upon the spiritual legacy of our ancestors, may we see our growth and our healing both reflected and magnified in their journeys. Together let us move through the unending and inevitable red seas. As they part, may we find ourselves even more whole, more authentic, and more complete.
Happy holidays to all. Happy, happy springtime.