Saturday, March 19, 2016

Journey into the Abyss

"The midwife knows that when there is no pain, the way for the baby cannot be opened and the mother cannot give birth. Likewise, for a new self to be born, hardship is necessary. Just as clay needs to go through intense heat to become strong, Love can only be perfected in pain." ..........Shams Tabrezi

“If we never experience the chill of a dark winter, it is very unlikely that we will ever cherish the warmth of a bright summer’s day. Nothing stimulates our appetite for the simple joys of life more than the starvation caused by sadness or desperation. In order to complete our amazing life journey successfully, it is vital that we turn each and every dark tear into a pearl of wisdom, and find the blessing in every curse.” .................... Anthon St. Maarten, "Divine Living: The Essential Guide To Your True Destiny"

The coming week is celebrated in the Christian calendar as the Holy Week and the sequence of events which unfolded in the life of Christ follows the same pattern that the above two quotes convey.
The first quote is from the teacher of Rumi in the 12th century and the second from an international psychic medium, intuitive consultant and destiny coach of the 21st century). 
There is however a difference in that the sequence  of events in the life of Christ was not intended for his personal transformation in totality but through his human manifestation set up a template for entire humanity, which is rooted in absolute physicality, so that a path of deliverance can be established.

In contemporary mythology, the monomyth or the 'Hero's Journey' follows this process. Joseph Campbell and other scholars, such as Erich Neumann, describe narratives of Gautama Buddha, Moses, and Christ in terms of the monomyth.
There is no harm in applying this template in the narration of sacred texts or scriptures as real life events may not historically record an exact life process as this was not the primary purpose of the texts. 
In scholarly treatment through analysis by contemporary  historians there is a vast grey area regarding the historical validity of the life of Christ except a brief mention of him in the works of Roman historian Tacitus and Flaviuis Josephus in " The Testimonium Flavianum"
The total reference to Jesus is:
" About this time there lived Jesus, a wise man, if indeed one ought to call him a man.  For he was one who performed surprising deeds and was a teacher of such people as accept the truth gladly. He won over many Jews and many of the Greeks. He was the Messiah. And when, upon the accusation of the principal men among us, Pilate had condemned him to a cross, those who had  first come to love him did not cease.  He appeared to them spending a third day restored to life, for the prophets of God had foretold these things and a thousand other marvels about him.  And the tribe of the Christians, so called after him, has still to this day not disappeared." ...........Jewish Antiquities, 18.3.3 §63
(Based on the translation of Louis H. Feldman, The Loeb Classical Library.)

Why I am elaborating on this scholarly context, whose spectrum varies from a total rejection of historical Christ by claiming with irrevocable proof that the above reference in Jewish Antiquities is a forgery of Luke, to partial acceptance and to a total confirmation through Gospel writings, is that we lose the spiritual significance and the true message the sacred texts of the Gospels convey through the heavy emphasis laid on historical dimension of the narration. 

If we deploy the monomyth template then we see a totally new picture in the Gospel writings.

The hero's journey whose primary purpose is deliverance of a victim or a nation under the dominion of the evil oppressor starts with a call to adventure and a Divine gift. I use the present tense in the following as this monomyth applies to everyday life of all spiritual adepts. Christ is given the call to save the world and is given the gift of virgin birth signifying being bestowed with unmodified (Divine) consciousness. He encounters temptations both in the desert as well as in the Garden of Gethsemane and also goes through a preparatory transformation both at the river Jordan as well as on mount Tabor. Now he is prepared for the ultimate test of his journey, namely the descent in the abyss of abandonment by his own trusted followers and suffering unto physical death. The entombment for three days and the plight of Jonah in the belly of the whale is the "dark night of the soul" which is a preparatory stage for the soul to attain a transformation for the return journey.
"For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of a huge fish, so the Son of Man will be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth." .............. Matthew 12:40
The stage of atonement of the hero is the period of his stay in the  "dark night of the soul". In  the Acts of Apostles the spiritual journey of Paul, especially his transformation on the road to Damascus is captured in the following verse : "....... For three days he was blind, and did not eat or drink anything." ....... Acts 9:9

The resurrection symbolizes the new state of the soul devoid of all physical inhibitions. The supernatural powers of Christ personal capacities demonstrates the new state of the soul liberated from pure physical manifestation. This is the reason that Paul writing to the Corinthians says: 
"......... So will it be with the resurrection of the dead. The body that is sown is perishable, it is raised imperishable; it is sown in dishonour, it is raised in glory; it is sown in weakness, it is raised in power; it is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body..........." ................. 1 Corinthians 15:42-44

In the journey of the hero, on his return there is a gift of the Goddess. The promise of the Holy Spirit, which the symbolic representation of Sophia or Divine wisdom, is the gift that Christ gave in the redemptive journey.

Let us meditate on this monomyth, not as a historical distant sequence of events but as a template for our own spiritual journey so that all the rituals we perform or participate becomes internalized as effective tools for our own transformation.

Love to you all.

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