Easter Inside: The past is not your path


“I beseech you,” says Oliver Cromwell, “think it possible that you may be mistaken.”

Is it time for you to grow beyond the unexamined conclusions of your life? Have you let your life and world-view shrink, becoming too small to contain the larger realities which are seeking to crack you open? Could you be mistaken and learn to let go of that small view?

Richard Rohr says, “All great spirituality is about letting go.” I say, my spiritual path includes letting go of what I thought my life would be and fully embracing the life that is, even now, seeking to come to birth in me.

The past and its deeply ingrained patterns do not have to be your future path. Said more simply, “The past is not your path.” Can you hear that, bear that? “The past is not your path!”

Scripture says “the Spirit blows where it wants to,” and Life is surely not controlled by your limited views, or mine. Living a small, constricted life does not serve you or the world. The question of Spirit right now is, “Are you brave enough to awaken?” And She is looking in your eyes, awaiting your response.

This means there could be a difference between the life you are living and the Life that wants to live in you. It means a great expansion could be on your horizon. And you could be here for more than you ever realized, even now, at this age and this place in life. What if the risen Christ is gently, or possibly not so gently, knocking on the door of your heart, just hoping to blow into and through you in fresh ways?

By now the voice of resistance should be creeping up into your awareness, coming out from the shadows saying, “What is this guy talking about? Did we pick the wrong place on Easter Sunday? Is there still time to slip out the back door?” Or maybe that resistance is just saying, “When will this be over, so we can scurry off to Sunday brunch and go back to our comfortable, normal lives and forget this talk of changes coming?”

It’s no wonder we fall back asleep so easily. Our inner resistance to our own growth is massive. Something in us is never ready for our own vastness, our expansive giftedness. Rumi says, “The soul is as vast as the night sky over Yemen,” and that image can be inviting or just scare the poop out of us.

Besides the inner resistance, people around us always resist our transformation. It’s like when my conservative pastor-friend and I were having a discussion. I had written in my book about my gay friends and the rightness of being at table with all who are excluded in the culture. He just had to ask, “But you’re not going to perform a gay wedding are you?” My friend is a good and loving man, but something in him also resists my evolution.

Resistance to our evolving, ever-changing life is ever near: in us and all around us. Resistance will say things like: “Change will cost too much. It might even cost you everything.” To this, Franz Kafka wrote a reply:

“You don’t even need to leave your room.

Remain sitting at your table and listen.

Don’t even listen, simply wait.

Don’t even wait, be still and solitary.

The world will freely offer itself to you

to be unmasked. It has no choice.

It will roll in ecstasy at your feet.”

When Gerald May, psychiatrist, spiritual director, author, and retreat leader, was dying of cancer, he made repeated trips to the wilderness. He wrote that his awareness of the night and the mystery of the forest was growing. One evening, as he approached the woods, he said to the forest, “I want to be taken in.” He was entering a new state of being as he neared death, and found himself drawn to that wildness which is “the untamed truth of who you really are.”

I wonder, as you stand at the edge of the wilderness of your own life right now, as your past is slipping over a ledge each moment, and everything you used to know is dissolving away, can you say to the wildness of your evolving life, “I want to be taken in”? I want to become immersed, not lost, but “taken into” the next emergence, the resurrected life arising after my former life has fallen away.

The story of Easter can seem like it is caught in time, far removed from our post-modern consciousness. There was a death back then. Hopes were dashed. A movement seemed like it was ending. Life seemed to be over for the son of man. Life was about to go back to normal for all but a few of Jesus’ closest followers, who hovered near the body. But then….

Then, something new happened. The deeper nature of Jesus was enlivened by the dancing Christ Spirit, which took form through him in a new state of being. The Life Force is a power greater than we can imagine, a dynamite that can shatter our clay and limited shells into pieces, in favor of revealing a deeper wholeness. This Life Force, that can sustain True Being through a radical transformation, is like Easter on the inside. That’s what broke free of limits as Jesus became Christ.

But here’s the real question: What if the Life Force isn’t done yet? What if it wants to produce Easter Inside you? Are you brave enough to awaken? Is it possible you have been mistaken about your own smallness of life? Do you know “the past is not your path”? What if being a witness of resurrection became participatory, and you said to the Wild Life all around you, “I want to be taken in”? Is this your time to discover Easter Inside?

May you and I let our resistance fall away, and witness the real thing, our True Being arising from the many deaths of our stories. May we experience Easter Inside today, this week, in our community.

(These thoughts were drawn directly from some stories and quotes by Paula D’Arcy in her book Waking Up to this Day. For more stories on personal transformation see my book, Monks in the World: Seeking God in a Frantic Culture, also available as a Kindle book).


About soulcare4u

I am the author of Monks in the World: Seeking God in a Frantic World, published by Wipf & Stock and available through Amazon.com; and of a blog on Wordpress.com, "A Contemplative Path." I serve as the founding spiritual director of The School for Contemplative Living (www.thescl.net), adjunct faculty of Loyola University, and as a pastoral counselor and spiritual director in private practice.
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