Happy Liberation and Freedom!
Last time I mentioned that humans are habitual actors. Some of our habits, called samskaras, are helpful and beneficial for our spiritual journey and some are not. What if we want to change unhelpful habits? What do we do? That subject was to be my next writing.
However, we need to pause for a week of reflection and thank two world religions for their rituals and celebrations of Liberation and Freedom. Judaism celebrated Passover last Tuesday and Christianity commemorated Easter this past Sunday. In a way, both have celebrated changing from a life of slavery and oppression to lives of joy and freedom.
Passover was the Hebrews’, the ancestors of the Jews, experience of breaking away from a life of slavery in Egypt into a life of searching and nation-making in the Sinai desert. Easter was the experience breaking away from death to new life after Jesus was crucified by the “powers that be” in Palestine at the time of Roman occupation. Both are also celebrated during the Spring of the year, a time of new life in nature. Both teach us that oppression and death are not the goal of reality.
Life moves toward freedom and fulfillment, toward light and fruitfulness. Even our cultural images of the egg and the Easter Bunny symbolize that goal. The lamb has been killed and the precious blood of that spotless lamb (in Christianity symbolizing Jesus) shouts loudly that LIFE IN FULL CONTINUES.
But, again, do we have to suffer from oppression or death in order to experience life? Can we change our suffering from unhelpful habits?
The yoga tradition says that we have some choices to make. We can move from death to life, from suffering to joy, from mortality to immortality when we free ourselves from ignorance, and the afflictions that accompany that consciousness.
But how do we do that? We will explore that next week.