Help for Your Spiritual Journey

Literature for SELF-Discovery

Easter – Awakening to Resurrection

By Paul Hourihan, edited by Anna Hourihan

Spirit of easter - dove in flightIn Christian lands the great festival of Easter is observed, celebrating the spring season and commemorating the Resurrection of Christ—a celebration of both Spring and Spirit.

The symbolism of the Resurrection also is explainable in terms of there being two, not one Christianity: the esoteric and the popular. This is true, of course, of every religion. Popular Christianity—the non-mystical religion—interprets the events of the Bible literally. The esoteric or mystical religion of Christianity interprets the same events allegorically or symbolically. Enlightened metaphysical groups have always seen in Christ’s suffering, martyrdom, and resurrection, a spiritual significance only, and have dwelt on that exclusively.

Easter as Resurrection of Physical Body?

So was Christ’s resurrection of the physical body, as Christians often claim? Even if it took place, for spiritual seekers there is no special significance since it becomes, to speak frankly, a psychic feat, a show of occult power. Since all of Christ’s moral teachings, especially the Sermon on the Mount, are geared to a lessening and overcoming of the body-and-ego domination of the mind, the doctrine of Christ’s physical resurrection strikes us as a great irrelevance. The important symbolism of his last days—which has so transfixed the imagination of the world—lies precisely in his demonstration of the manner we are to free ourselves of the body’s control. And that is by sacrifice, by surrender to the divine will in the Gethsemanes of our own experience. If we can pass these tests successfully we will be reborn—resurrected—into a new spiritual consciousness. It is the Soul, in short, that is raised from the death-consciousness of the body’s life and the mind’s tragic identification with it.

Thus, when Christ declared, “I am the resurrection and the life,” the “I” that is speaking is not the body’s “I,” not the self of the physical entity. That “I” had been purged away and no longer had any substantial existence. The “I” that is speaking is the spiritual consciousness of a realized soul; it is the voice of the Soul itself, which, even as the words were spoken, had experienced a new and regenerated consciousness. The “glad tidings” that Mary Magdalene announced is the demonstration of the Soul’s conquest of the body and the knowledge of its eternal separation from body-consciousness. Christ’s soul, her soul, our souls—His victory is a victory for all humanity. Therefore, it is not the body that ascends; it is the Soul that ascends. The body is not resurrected. Rather, the body is the tomb out of which the Soul is resurrected.

How to Awaken!

But how to awaken! How to be resurrected from this death consciousness? We are like the dead who do not know they be dead, like dreamers dreaming a terrible tale of loss and wandering unaware they are dreaming. For in truth our bondage is only a dream, our ignorance only an illusion. But what agony we must endure before the dream breaks, before the illusion fades.

Nature—that is to say, the life of the self-loving ego in all its phases—must be crucified on the cross of our self‑immolation, our willing sacrifice of our ego‑life. Then comes the resurrection of the Soul out of the tomb of the now conquered body‑consciousness. In this context we can understand the profound symbolism of Christ’s life and its eternal message for humanity.

“You must be born again,” says Christ. Rebirth—spiritual rebirth—is Resurrection. It can take place now. We do not have to wait.

And Sacrifice is the way.

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