A Good Day to Die …

Today is Good Friday. The Christian world commemorates the crucifixion and death of Jesus at Calvary, as a prelude to celebrating his resurrection on the third day, Easter. The theme of death and resurrection is not exclusive to Christianity, but is present in many religions throughout the world. So let us take a look at the symbolism behind the story of Christ’s crucifixion, death, and eventual resurrection.

The Cross is a universal symbol for matter—and can therefore represent our earthly nature. This is the part of us that includes sensations, emotions and thoughts; mostly desiring what is pleasurable and repelling what is displeasing. This push and pull can be normal and healthy when moderate, but it often ends up in unconsciously driving our every action to more and more self-serving choices. The Christ is a symbol of our spiritual nature—that part of us that naturally tends to act in the direction of the greater good, not only for us but for all humanity. Therefore, we can view the “crucifixion” as symbolizing the birth of our spiritual nature in a material body. When the body eventually dies, if we have lived a life in service for others, we will be “resurrected” in the full glory of our spiritual nature, as a new and wiser being.

There is also an interesting interpretation of this universal archetypal image at the psychological level. If we think that we will find happiness with acquiring more and more, if we cling to our attachments, to our memories, to our desires—we strengthen our identification with the earthly part of us. This attitude may be subtle. Many of us may have begun to learn to detach from material goods, but we may now be grasping frantically at all things spiritual—more knowledge, more virtues, more understanding, more harmony, etc. We may have only exchanged physical materialism for spiritual materialism. Keeping in mind nothing new can appear if the old does not die out, can we place more emphasis on the idea of dying to the known? Can we become like children—curious and open, divesting ourselves of the clinging and the need to control? After all, Jesus said that only in dying and becoming as children we will gain entrance into the Kingdom of Heaven. What is the meaning of the Kingdom of Heaven in this symbolical approach? It represents a life in which our spiritual nature rules over our earthly nature—our actions become naturally unselfish, our thoughts are of brotherhood, and our emotions radiate love.

Here we have the relevance of Easter today, not just as a fact that happened over 2000 years ago. Can we begin to “crucify” our material self and be “resurrected” as spiritual beings? Can we do this in our daily life, first with small things and then with those parts of us that we are really holding onto? Take the challenge and ask yourself—What can I start to let die?!

Michele and Pablo, March 2018