May today there be peace within.Teresa of Ávila
Easter Sunday. We made it!
Presumably, you had some intention as you entered into this Lenten commitment of reflection. If you’re anything like me, the experience of doing something regularly (most every day) provided a framework for something you may now call a practice. Give yourself that. And thanks for giving me this gift, this discipline, this opportunity to think about my own ways. More challenging than expected, but that was the idea. What growth opportunity doesn’t have a little wrestling (just ask the butterfly!)?
Holy Week. And the Easter story.
On his journey, Jesus modeled forgiveness and accountability, assertiveness and kindness, fear and fortitude. He maintained Peace amongst what must have seemed like living hell. In essence, the yin and yang of the human experience: unthinkable challenge with many lessons and blessings in the midst of it. And an Easter story with the promise of a hopeful ending.
Jesus said, “I am the way and the truth and the life.” That “way” was through Him. I think we are called out to observe what He went through and how He got through it, with faith and perseverance. And a lot of mindfulness and meditation…
“I Am,” he said, over and over and over. Buddha, Krishna, and Lao Tzu all said the same things, with the same pathways to peace. Same destination, different ways to get there.
Hallelujah. What a slog fest 40 days (and life) can be! The sorta good news? You are not alone. To some degree, misery loves company. We like to know others have endured similar experiences to ours and survived. Jelaluddin Rumi, a 13th Century mystic & poet, wrote:
A new moon teaches gradualness
and deliberation, and how one gives birth
to oneself slowly. Patience with small details
makes perfect a large work, like the universe.
What nine months of attention does for an embryo
forty early mornings alone will do
for your gradually growing wholeness.
Likewise, Jesus fasted for 40 days in the desert, Moses hung out on Mount Sinai for 40 days, Buddha meditated under the linden/bodhi tree for 40 days, and Muhammad was 40 years of age when he received the call to become a prophet. Getting through a period of pushing ourselves is tough, but the rewards are many. I hope you have some new appreciations and that you’ll stick with your practice.
Leonard Cohen, a gifted poet and musician who touched the hearts of many, was born Jewish, ordained a Buddhist monk, studied in India, and wrote about Jesus in many of his songs. “Hallelujah” was off the charts (featured in Shrek and below in a cover by Neil Diamond). The word itself, hallelujah, translates to “praise Yah.” “Yahweh” is the most intimate word in Hebrew for God; it is considered even too intimate to be spoken. Cohen’s lyrics to this song, like so many, are soulful:
I did my best, it wasn’t much
I couldn’t feel, so I tried to touch
I’ve told the truth, I didn’t come to fool you
And even though it all went wrong
I’ll stand before the lord of song
With nothing on my tongue but hallelujah
Cohen once said of the song: “It explains that many kinds of hallelujahs do exist, and all the perfect and broken hallelujahs have equal value.”
Hopefully from these forty days you came away with an appreciation for the many ways to get to Hallelujah. Easter is more than a day. It’s a whole season, and the idea is to keep on. Resources and a wrap-up will follow later in the week, but for now, rejoice in the hope and peace of this day. Any way.
~ Thanks, Peace & Cheers ~