Following is an imaginary conversation with a bright, talented, creative, and dutiful pre-adolescent. Her voice is in italics, mine in regular font. We’re talking about the meaning of Easter and the poem I wrote about it: “Resurrection: Live and Love Unyielding, Life Eternal.”
The Why of Easter
I like “Resurrection.” Good! It’s short. Anything else? Did they do Easter eggs when Jesus was around? It doesn’t say anything about eggs. Next year you can write a poem about eggs. “Our legs beg for kegs of eggs with pegs.” Something creative like that. I’m so glad I have your talent and wisdom to brag about (snicker snicker). We color eggs at Easter because. . . That’s enough! You’re just going to say something stupid. . . Because someone figured out that it’s a great way to keep kids off the streets. What about chickens? It’s a great way to keep chickens off the streets too. That’s it. I’m outta here!
Since you like my poem you must want to learn more about it. Of course I don’t. Anything would be better than that -- unless the poem is about me. Is it about me? Easter is about you and me and everybody. I thought it was just about Jesus. Because he couldn’t be killed and that’s good for the rest of us. OK, then Easter isn’t just about Jesus. It is about everybody. Why?
Our world can’t seem to settle down in peace. People do wrong because they don’t seem to know any better. Jesus brought information and a way of thinking that helps us know better so we can do better. So we can get it right before we try doing what’s right. So we understand. With insights from another perspective that sees beyond appearances. With vision that isn’t limited to what we can see with our bodies’ eyes. He could do all that?
Walking on water
He was a nobody at first. The Romans who ruled Israel then had nothing to do with him. The authorities from his own country who told people what to believe and how to behave paid no attention to him at first. He just went around on a donkey talking to individuals, families, small groups -- whoever would listen to him. And then the groups got larger. How come if he was a nobody?
What he was saying was different but it made sense. It seemed to connect with people at the level of their soul, their Psyche, where it was deeply moving. So moving that it seemed true even if it was hard to believe. It had psychological force so compelling that it could change minds. That was unusual.
He was also doing amazing stuff. Healing people like healers before him had done but also things that no one had ever done. Miracles like making a dead guy come back to life. He fed his audience outdoors one day with food out of thin air. He was on a boat with some followers when a storm came up. Everyone thought it would sink the boat and they would all drown. They were terrified. Jesus brought the sun back out and calmed the water. Wait a minute! And just to make sure his followers got the point he got out of the boat and walked on the water! Whoa! How could he do that?
The gift of Intuition
He was thinking with Mind conscious instead of dreaming with Mind unconscious. Showing us what we can do when we do the same. He explains how in the book he authored not long ago called “A Course in Miracles.” You mean he’s still here? He is. Just not in a body. He’s accessible to everyone through Soul. Soul that’s Spirit and not body. Soul and Energy that interconnect everything plus a part of Mind we call Intuition or sixth sense. It was through his connection with the Soul or Spirit of an individual’s body that he authored the Course. She wrote down what he authored. Amazing!
What does the Course say? It makes it clear that getting to where Jesus got requires a big change of mind. We have to ignore what our bodies and brains and our world have been telling us and turn to another guide. The one we’ve chosen hasn’t been telling us the Truth. We’ve been misled. Will it take long? it could take one or more lifetimes or generations to get to where Jesus got. Or it could happen overnight. How?
Mind conscious is timeless, always in the Now. Always Love, and Love is free, spontaneous. Anytime we’re controlling we’re dealing with fear, not Love. Love can’t have anything to do with forcing or being forced. Spontaneous changes of mind are among the psychic events that are abnormal here. Spontaneous is normal there. History tells us of individuals who’ve gone from one way of thinking to the reverse in an instant. In a burst of light that revealed something different. As if Intuition or sixth sense were showing off. Change of mind can be imperceptible over time or spectacular in the moment. One way or the other it can happen. And it happens not in our bodies or brains but in our Mind. Through Intuition.
Why we’re getting help
Where did Jesus get this ability? Just as there are spontaneous permutations of genetics over long periods that bring about radical change there can be spontaneous permutations of other kinds that change things. A human with the ability to be with us in the state I’ve described as a dream and to be in another state that’s not a dream at the same time is a permutation. Extremely rare but, after all, where else can anything abnormal happen but in dreams where abnormal is normal?
How could just one rare person have such a large impact? It’s not because the dream isn’t revealing its source to us every moment. In a Mind that was conscious before it became unconscious. In the presence of Energy that activates whatever Mind asks of it, conscious or unconscious, and the presence of Soul that interconnects everything whether it’s real or part of a dream. Energy and Soul don’t pay any attention to boundaries and that includes the boundary between reality and the dream. Then there are paranormal events -- near-death, psychic, and other experiences that are so frequent and familiar that we just shrug them off.
Right-brain stuff is weird but by itself it can’t convince us that we’re in a dream. The left brain maintains order with judgment. When it can’t -- when order becomes disorder -- animal will acts on instinct without judgment. A state of chaos that’s also frequent and familiar. Destructive and painful, and maybe a reason why we’re getting help to do something about it. To end a dream that only seems safe and stable until it becomes unsafe and unstable.
The rare person had a large impact because he integrated energy, Soul, right and left brain -- all our circumstances, everything -- and put it into context that gave it meaning. Gave it purpose. To awaken us from the dream and return to the reality of consciousness. To the world that he knew that we don’t know. The world defined by Logic, Love, and Innocence, not our world that’s illogic, fear, and guilt. Where other signs of consciousness don’t seriously contradict the dream Jesus' lesson and his miracles did seriously contradict it. All of it. As if it were a lie and he was trying to help us replace it with the Truth.
Which is exactly what he was trying to do. It demanded a response not from parts of the dream but the entire dream, because when he succeeds with any individual it will end the dream. So that’s what he got: a response in space over time from the entire dream that was extraordinary. Who’s winning, Jesus or the dream? Jesus and conscious Mind are forever, dreams are temporary. This one will end regardless.
Then what’s the point? To make the dream end sooner rather than later. The Course makes it clear that the Mind that’s unconscious has real work do to once it wakes up. When it’s learned what the Course teaches it will be needed in Creation. Since Reality and Creation are Now you can say we’re needed there now.
We have nothing to fear.
The main point of all of Jesus' miracles was that another world lies behind the appearances that our bodies’ five senses detect. Our bodies’ senses may be preventing us from detecting that world and misleading us about the nature of our world. If we insist that there can only be one world and the only way to detect it is with our bodies’ senses then we will miss the point of Jesus’ miracles. We will be denying that we have a sixth sense -- Intuition. That it is through its spontaneous insights from Logic and Love that we can follow his example and eventually access his world. What makes his world different?
- When he brought Lazarus back from the dead, Jesus was showing us that in the other world behind appearances Life can’t die. In a world that’s Creation death makes no sense. Even here the energy that brings life to our bodies still exists after it departs. It can’t be destroyed.
- When he fed his audience with loaves and fishes that seemed to come from nowhere, Jesus showed us that in the world behind appearances to Love is to share its abundance. By sharing his Love in that way he showed that he’s our friend from the other world that’s not limited by appearances. He is an agent of Love -- the real thing -- here to help us and he loves us.
- When Jesus calmed the storm and walked on water, he showed that when his followers understood what he understood fear would go away just like the storm. They would see that there’s nothing to fear. Fear would be replaced by understanding. By the sunlight of Love.
Take all three miracles together and they tell us that in his world where we belong we are Love, we are Loved, and Life is eternal. The Love of one Soul that connects all of us can’t be contained by our physical world. We have nothing to fear because his world is real and ours only seems real. Unbelievable!
To a perspective that’s limited to our bodies’ senses Jesus must seem unbelievable. But to our sixth sense that’s open to Logic and Love, open to seeing things differently, not at all. He makes perfect sense.
Numbers don’t count. Individuals do count.
Though he demonstrated amazing power Jesus had no interest in being powerful the way we think of it. He wasn’t trying to start a movement like a new religion or a church. Didn’t he found a church? The Church said so but it was just putting words in his mouth. He wasn’t trying to organize anything, and that was the point. That each of us has the capacity as individuals, as souls that are part of one Soul that extends beyond our world, to fix what’s broken. It was OK if he attracted many people but he would have been satisfied with only one if that individual truly understood. That’s how uninterested he was in numbers. In churches and their religions, tribes and their members, countries and their citizens, that claim strength in body counts. You've lost me.
Our world is an expression of an idea that’s the opposite of the Truth. What’s that? The Truth that Jesus spoke to was that the Soul to which we all belong is One. It is Oneness, and the ancestral Mind that imagines us is one Mind. One Child of its Parents, Logic and Love, motivated to Love and Create in Peace. The opposite is that the Child isn’t one but many. That we only exist as groups or tribes. That individuals have no Worth. Only groups have Worth. We are many bodies whose brains only know us as animals. As tribes that behave like herds in perpetual conflict, driven by the will of animal brains to dominate, by the frenzy of mob psychology to hate and destroy in war.
And so to express the Truth that we are one Mind, one Child, by forming yet another group wouldn’t make sense. It could only reinforce the original deception, that the Child as one has no Worth. Only its shadow opposite -- bodies in numbers all organized into competing groups -- has Worth. The Truth that Jesus helped us to understand wouldn’t be served if he yielded to appearances and made little of the individual. If he showed respect for numbers as though only groups have the power to bring his vision to life and give it Worth. He stood for Child-the-one, not Child-the-many. This is why everything he said and did was centered on the power and Worth of the individual.
The Truth that lives on
Those who came after to repeat what he taught were teachers who followed his example. Individuals speaking to individuals who showed no interest in organizing a church. What became of them? They lasted into the second century until the world of groups took over and organized a church.
The Church turned what Jesus taught into what it was never meant to be: a theocracy based in Rome, modeled on the Roman Empire. Controlled by authority ruling unquestioned from the top down, imposing conformity instead of empowering individuality and creativity. All for one overriding purpose: to preserve its dominance. Any teacher not embedded in its hierarchy, sanctioned by the Church, was branded a heretic and silenced by force.
The original teachers disappeared. But the world of groups can never have the last word. That’s for the meaning of the Resurrection: that the Truth that Jesus taught, the Worth and power of the one Child, the individual, lives on. And so long as we need him, our teacher, the agent of Soul that’s oneness, will not disappear. He Loves us. He will always Love us. And he will never leave us.
The gift of Understanding with Mind
One Mind and many body-brains are of two different worlds, and if Jesus addressed individuals and had no interest in numbers this placed him unmistakably in the world of Mind. Of Authority that enables and empowers. A world beyond the “laws” of physics, the authority of matter that disables and disempowers.
What Jesus got across with simple stories about right and wrong and his amazing acts was that Love connects us to another Reality. It was a lesson in Logic as well as Love. Logic defines the world of Creation, peace, and harmony that Jesus reached through Soul. The world of Mind. But even if there can be no logical definition for an illogical world of bodies and brains, the Logic of Mind can at least explain it.
The gift to Jesus was a foot in both worlds. In and of his world, in our world but not of it. The gift that enabled him to share understanding with understanding from Logic and Love.
The threat that is another voice
How could it make someone mad if he was just trying to explain? If he wasn’t trying to take over? It didn’t at first. Jesus had no army to threaten anyone with so the Romans weren’t concerned. But the following he attracted did scare Israel’s religious authorities. They thought they should be the only voice and here was another voice, a nobody drawing attention away from them. Through powers they could neither understand nor control -- Innocence and gentle loving kindness, Soul and Truth that transcend the visible world, the Worth of the individual. The opposite of what they taught: unquestioning obedience to power in the visible world. Their power.
It wasn’t a miracle that showed how Jesus’ version of authority broke with what the authorities taught. It was a simple act of service: washing the feet of a few of his followers. Why did he do that?
The definitions of Logic and the relationships of Love fit all of Creation’s beings and their functions together in harmony. This is how authority governs in Jesus’ world. If Order were forced it would block Free Will and end Creativity. Real Authority doesn’t dominate; it facilitates. Even more remarkable, it serves. You mean like being a servant? Yes, but not in the sense of servant-to-master. Only in the sense that Authority must provide a foundation of support for all the elements of Creation.
This means seeing that its Creations’ receive the help they need when they call for it. If Jesus had provided individuals with computers that were his invention then he would be on call for tech support -- a service. Jesus’ point in washing feet was to show that governing is also serving from the bottom up, the same point Lincoln made at Gettysburg. Rule that dominates from the top down would never do that. It would deprive people of the support service they need to work creatively and it would be wrong.
The strategy that backfired
Jesus became so revered that he was taking on the aura of a prophet of God, putting him and his followers beyond the rule of the religious authorities. They couldn’t allow it. What did they do? They chose a way to get rid of Jesus so awful that nobody would ever think of doing what he did. That made sure that he and his teaching and special powers disappeared and never came back. I guess they didn’t succeed.
They didn’t succeed. Instead of putting Jesus in the past and out of sight their cruelty undone by resurrection only brought him back up front and center. Stronger than ever. Though not in the way he thought of it because he wasn’t after numbers. Stronger in the way that our world thinks of it. The mistake of the authorities helped to turn the voice of a nobody into a force of unimaginable numbers. His words and example spread all over the world and keep on spreading today. They couldn’t kill Mind or body because even his body rose from the dead.
Your guess is as good as mine
What does it mean? It means whatever we choose to make of it using our own judgment. Not as members of any group but each of us as individuals. Then I have to figure it out for myself? You’re not going to tell me? I can share my perspective if you like, just as Jesus shared his. And you can reflect on it and make up your own mind. We don’t learn and grow by closing ourselves off to others’ perspectives. We do it by sharing them.
Life evolves where Jesus comes from. Where Creation moves forward naturally with changing contexts, perspectives, thoughts, and feelings. Circumstances change here too though with a lot of resistance, and since what’s broken isn’t getting fixed it doesn’t seem like movement is forward. Our perspectives are only what they are in the moment. Yours and mine, so what you’re hearing from me now can’t be the last word. Just take it for what it is.
The joy of Easter. The love and reverence for Jesus
Whatever you hear can never be substituting my mind or my voice for yours. Jesus would never do that and neither would I. You’d be sorry if you tried. My Siberian tiger has sharp claws! We wouldn’t deny anyone’s Free Will. Free Will is indispensable to Creation where Jesus comes from and here too, though if we’re not moving forward we’re not really creating. Maybe all we can do is fix what’s broken and hope to get back to Creation.
Anytime we allow Free Will to be taken from us we’re making ourselves useless or worse. We’re letting ourselves be instruments of someone else’s will, doing their bidding. Making common cause with Jesus is OK but we can’t make ourselves into copies of anything. That’s looking for trouble. Unless we become the persons we choose to be of our own Free Will, able to see with our own unique perspective and think with our own unique judgment, we can’t be individuals. We can’t be any use to Jesus. All he can do is comfort us when we hurt. Free Will must always be respected.
Ideologies that command vast numbers so far haven’t fixed what’s broken. They always use force that denies Free Will to change things and that just makes it worse. That would be why Jesus paid no attention to numbers. Why he didn’t care about founding movements and churches. Why he shows so much Love and respect for us as individuals. Because we’re the only way to fix what’s broken, with our Free Will. That makes me feel pretty important. Me too. Maybe now we can understand why so many individuals came to love and respect him. Why we’re glad that he resurrected and we celebrate Easter.
Who’s the “savior?”
Jesus could have used his supernatural powers and his following to team up with Caesar and rule the Roman empire. Just like Adam Skywalker with his Jedi Knight powers teamed up with Palpatine to rule the Galactic Empire. Jesus and his following could have taken over moral authority in Israel which is why the people who already had it were so anxious to get rid of him. He spoke for things that are true that can’t be any other way, but he didn’t hand people a book and tell people it was the Truth and they had to obey it. He was serious about being understood and heard but not to take over people’s minds and think for them.
Wasn’t he a “savior?” What he taught was we’re our own saviors but we need help. We can’t do it alone without a trusted guide. Guiding us is the only sense in which he can be our “savior.” He didn’t offer to do anything that we can do for ourselves. And what he taught was what’s important. Just as its lesson can be taught in different ways its teachers can have different identities. Whatever we’re comfortable with. So long as our minds and hearts are on the right track our guide doesn’t have to be “Jesus.” It can have any name. He and what he taught are inclusive, not exclusive.
Demanding obedience messes with Free Will. It doesn’t give people power; it takes it away. What made Jesus so unusual was that even though he spoke with authority and attracted a following he didn’t use it to mess with Free Will. He made a point of empowering other individuals, respecting their voice instead of making it all about his. He made their Worth the center of attention, not his. He didn’t even tell his own story. What we learned about him is what others wrote. Humility like his could never be the arrogance and disrespect of a bully like Palpatine.
Perspective that’s hard to understand
Visitors from another galaxy would have a different perspective from ours. But at least they would be from the same universe and it might be possible to understand one another. The other world that Jesus spoke for wasn’t another galaxy. We can think of it as another reality where authority worked the way Jesus showed us, focused not on itself but on its creations and their creativity. Loving and supporting from the bottom up, not demanding obedience with force from the top down.
It was a perspective so unusual that it couldn’t be understood. Not by authoritarians who rule from the top down and that’s the way it was then. Not in a world where “God” was “the almighty” who had to be feared because anyone who disobeyed him went to hell. There was a lot of misunderstanding about Jesus and what he taught then and there’s still a lot of misunderstanding now.
Powers that can’t be given or taken away
The Church that came along later said it spoke for Jesus and we would be in big trouble if we didn’t obey it. A view of authority that was the reverse of what Jesus taught, so I don’t believe it. The authority that resides in each individual soul has innate Worth. Innate power that comes from being Love and being loved. From being part of the Mind and loving heart, the Soul that we come from and share. We don’t depend on any authority on earth for these things.
They aren’t for those who govern on our behalf to give or take away. Lincoln’s Gettysburg address is revered because it spoke for the same kind of authority that Jesus taught, the system of governance we call democracy. “Authorities” who rule by force on their own behalf are the opposite. All of Palpatine’s “power” resided in him, not the people. And he had no respect for individuality or Free Choice.
Praise for the tyrant?
But didn’t his empire maintain order? Didn’t the Roman empire? Didn’t the Church do good? Yes. And Hitler built the Autobahn and made Volkswagens. Mussolini made the trains run on time.
Tyrants pride themselves on imposing order and stability when at its core it’s disorder and instability. The overthrow of true authority is destabilizing and the end result of authoritarian rule is always its own overthrow. Violence captured by Greek mythology in the overthrow of the Titan tyrant Uranus by his son Cronus followed by the overthrow of the Titans by Zeus and the Olympians. Zeus the paranoid predator, ever alert to challenges to his authority posed by any movement beyond his control, especially by his own offspring.
It's important to be careful with affirmation for the good that authoritarians do. Why? Their mindset turns every reflection on its performance into a judgment on its legitimacy because of the nature of its origin. Which is? Illegitimacy. It’s the opposite of true authority. And if it’s not true then it can’t be part of Reality. Part of Creation. Part of Life which shares, affirms, and empowers. Authoritarian rule, whether it’s over a single family, an ideology, or an entire nation, takes, invalidates, and disempowers. It systematically hollows out the individual, robs it of its creativity, its life, to fill itself. Like a giant virus taking cells captive so it can kill them and replicate itself. It’s not about life. It’s about death.
Its “truth” isn’t the overwhelming power and security that it seeks to project. At its core it’s weakness and insecurity. It obsesses over what’s said about it because the source of its justification can’t be self. It has no self. It’s a parasite that depends for its existence on its host. Which gives it an insatiable craving for approval. For self-justification. Every comment on its performance is either justification for the predator or opposition that must be crushed. Any word of praise for Il Duce making the trains run on time would be twisted into the legitimacy of fascism. It would be swallowed up by the authoritarian’s bottomless appetite for what it can’t give: approval.
We must be careful with affirmation for the good that authoritarians do because it will be swallowed up by self-justification that doesn’t reinforce the good. It can only perpetuate the bad. The authoritarian mindset is ugly. I don’t like it. Nobody should. But since it’s with us we can only do our duty: stand up to the bully, replace it, and stand by true authority that doesn’t bully.
Love and Innocence, vulnerability and betrayal
If Jesus could walk on water and change minds couldn’t he have protected himself? Did he have to submit to the authorities? Jesus spoke with authority because he spoke for Authority. The Will of the Truth of Logic and Love that’s not of our world but serves us when we let it. So he had not one but two wills to respect: ours and the Will that he served.
He could only trust both in innocence to let him engage with us in safety. Not to approach in trust and innocence would have compromised the Trust and Innocence that he spoke for. Nor could he interfere with our will if it compromised Free Will. To understand Jesus is to understand innocence. The Truth he shared of the Innocence of the Soul to which we belong. Oneness that has no reason to fear harm from opposites. An agent of Soul that’s Innocence couldn’t protect himself against what he couldn’t know.
Wherever the emptiness of authority for its own sake would replace the fullness of Love; wherever it would displace Free Will, the Trust and Innocence of Love can be betrayed. It’s vulnerable in our world, and Jesus was betrayed. By a follower that he trusted. By religious authorities that he trusted. By betrayal -- an act that Innocence would know nothing of and could not anticipate. This may help to explain why Jesus couldn’t protect himself.
But it made no difference. The Authority that Jesus served, the Life that’s the Truth of Logic and the fullness of Love, was all the protection he needed. It can’t be killed no matter how cruel and unjust its opposite.
Denying death meant to cow an entire people into submission to authority was the last act of his body while Jesus was among us. Its Resurrection proof that respect for individuality, creativity, and Free Will that comes from Logic, Love, and Truth is real Authority. Proof that authority that’s disrespectful and rules by force, that overrides every voice with its own voice because it’s afraid of individuality, creativity, and Free Will, has no real power over us. Proof that souls confined to bodies that come and go don’t come and go. Their Life force is forever. We have nothing to fear.
When there’s a beast to be slain
So then we can ignore disrespectful authority? Jesus was asked what to do about Caesar, the Roman emperor. What did he say? That disrespectful authority is an unavoidable fact of life in our world that requires accommodation. Otherwise leave it alone. Our purpose is to serve real Authority while it serves us and that should be our focus.
We’re not supposed to rebel? To stand up to Caesar? When Caesar demands that we surrender our minds and hearts to him, our individuality and integrity, an agent of Soul that’s Innocence can’t be our guide. The world of Jesus has no boundaries. Our world does. We do what’s necessary to protect our independence and democracy. Join together not as a tribe bent on cycles of destruction but as family with one specific, shared purpose: to keep the beast from crossing our boundaries.
When that’s done, we get back to our real work. This is why World War II was thought of as a “good” war. There was a beast to be slain, we came together as one to slay it, disbanded, and resumed peaceful lives when we were done.
When Eros took a stand for Love
The story of Jesus took one approach to authority that's unloving. There's another? The myth of Psyche and Eros. Psyche was a girl so innocent and beautiful that she was attracting people away from the temples of Aphrodite. Just like people were paying attention to Jesus instead of their religious rulers. Aphrodite was an Olympian goddess, jealous of her power and cruel toward anyone who questioned it. She didn’t crucify Psyche but she did make her perform tasks that would have killed her if she didn’t have help.
What happened? The last task -- an errand to the underworld -- almost did kill her. While she lay unconscious her lover Eros came and rescued her. Aphrodite’s son, who was also an Olympian. He brought his Love up to Mount Olympus to be with him. Like Jesus, she ascended to Heaven.
Wasn’t Aphrodite mad? Very! To save Psyche Eros had to escape from the room his mother had locked him in. Which means he had been forced to yield to cruel and unjust authority and he rebelled. Once her son made it clear that his mother couldn’t control him she had to give way. Because nothing can control Free Will and character when it stands up for itself. Like the wild Siberian tiger that is your spirit of Free Will and character. Eros stood up to his mother and when he did, he stood up for Love.
Trust in Jesus, Soul of Innocence
This was the form that Psyche’s “resurrection” took: rescue by rebellion. Jesus couldn’t role model rebellion against a force that Innocence couldn’t recognize. That would only make it real. Any form of attack always implies that its opponent exists. And if Jesus came to represent another world that exists attacking our world wouldn’t make a very good case for it. It would tell us that he’s an ordinary person we can’t trust. Exactly!
The reappearance of Love and Innocence after fear and guilt tried to make it disappear was his “rebellion.” An act of Truth that attacked no one, yet it helped with understanding that authority that rules by force can’t be Truth. It can only “be” an appearance. A specter of fear and guilt. A deception that’s meant to deceive. A boogeyman. Not like Jesus. No. Not like the Soul of Innocence and Honesty that we can trust.
Whither sixth sense?
Whether we can trust the way that ordinary persons and their institutions have represented Jesus over the years is open to question. The way that he represented himself is not. When we apply the Logic and Love that he shared to his story it resonates with Truth. That’s what my sixth sense tells me. What does yours tell you? When the eggs are all dyed and hidden I'll definitely think about it.
Happy Easter to you! Happy Easter Jesus! I love you! Me too!