It is Easter Sunday, the start of the great fifty days of Eastertide (or Paschal Time) which runs up to Pentecost Sunday. In the Christian wisdom tradition this season is considered to be made up of ‘thin’ days. The idea of ‘thin’ places or times is most notable in the Celtic tradition and essentially refers to times or spaces when the vertical or eternal realm that is ever infusing and enlivening the horizontal realm seems to be more palpable, more easily spotted.
These fifty days, when Jesus was bestowing his last teachings before the ascension took place, are still understood to be quite supple and evocative. Some would say it is a time in which Jesus’ presence and fragrance is more perceptibly in our midst. A time to open ourselves to access the Love that is stronger than death, that which within us remains after we die before dying, and the Truth of Reality.
We are coming out of a grief and heaviness in Holy Week, a solemnness to the whole ordeal leading to the tomb. Jesus was a real wisdom teacher and he disrupted the current structure of consciousness and prevailing paradigms of his time. As my husband said, “Jesus challenged the self-reinforcing nature and patterns of tribalistic survival perspectives in all of his teachings.” This is what eventually lead to his death. And so as we engage these thin days we can ask ourselves this - am I at least on some level challenging the current structure of consciousness based in colonization and duality in such a way that is disruptive?
We are also coming out of a profound companionship and steadfast love, a witnessing from compassionate hearts wide open and present the whole time functioning as a womb. Although alone in his journey into the heart of the earth, he was not forgotten. Ultimately, he died in one form only to be reborn in another form still available to us even now. We can ask ourselves, what is Jesus as the Living One wanting to show me now? We can also ask ourselves, as my teacher Cynthia Bourgeault poignantly asks, “How do you live after you have found what you found after you die?” or how do I live from the place in me that exists beyond death? These are our question now.
We have the opportunity to integrate both the truth of the tomb and the womb as essential conditions in our own becoming.
Because this is a particularly spiritual thin time, one that coincides with a shift towards opening up as more and more people are vaccinated, I invite you to commit to leaning in these fifty days intentionally with me. Find some small practice that you can commit to. You will be met and supported in your aim. It may not always feel that way but our planet needs our ongoing offering. Let’s think of it as a Vigil. If you are drawn to do this, reply to this email letting me know how you are going to lean in.
May your mind be open.
May your heart be wide.
May your body be at ease.
May you re-member yourself.
Here are a some of the readings from this week, most from Cynthia Bourgeault's writings on this season:
“As we get used to this new angle of vision, we probably need to begin with some deconditioning, since so many of us have grown up in that guilt-inducing theology of sacrifice and atonement. What is the meaning of the passion?... we need to bury once and for all those fear-and-punishment scenarios that got programmed into so many of us during our childhood. There is no monster out there; only love waiting to set us free.
But what about “Jesus died on behalf of our sins?” Well, that foundational Christian statement is in fact completely and wholly true. But not individually, in the way you’re most likely to hear it – Jesus died because you were bad... The statement doesn’t work on that level. Rather, Jesus died for – meaning “because of” and “on behalf of” – the human condition in its collectivity. He died because of the irreducible reality—that ‘Planck’s Constant” (to borrow a metaphor from contemporary quantum physics)—of constriction and density that comes as part and parcel of this human realm, and is the necessary precondition for the full revelation of divine love... To say that he died on behalf of us means that he gave his life to help pull us through these difficult conditions; he implanted himself deeply at ground zero, at the root of the root of all density, in order to insulate us from it’s sting and empower us to live within our human flesh as he himself had lived.”
"Given the right kind of conditions, is it possible to enter Holy Week from the inside rather than the outside—not as a series of commemorative events surrounding the final days of Jesus’ earthly life, but as a way of actually accompanying Jesus on his timeless passage through death, to the very source of life, and back into this world with the unshakable certainty that ‘nothing can separate us from the love of God’? It is a passage, as Christian mystics have from time immemorial proclaimed, that changed the very foundations of this world. And it is a passage that we ourselves will personally make, carried on the wings of this one Great Passage, when our own human lives reach their fullness of time.”
"These discourses contain, first and foremost, some of Jesus’s most beautiful descriptions of indwelling love – for example, “ I am the vine: you are the branches’ (John 15:5); “As the Father [Mother] has loved me, I have loved you; abide in my love” (John15:10); “I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just has I have loved you, you also should love one another”(John 13:34); “Father [Mother], the glory that you have given me, I have given them so that they may be one as we are one, I in them and you in me” (John 17: 22 – 23). In these and similar passages we experience the intertwining mysteries of kenosis [self emptying] and perichoresis [the dance around] in their most pellucid loveliness. Even with death waiting in the wings, Jesus will allow no separation between God and humans, no separation between humans and humans, because the sap flowing through everything is love itself. In image after image he tries to impart to the disciples his assurance that they can never be cut off from that love, because their very beings are rooted in it”.
"...to consider the anointi