This Easter musing on NPA & Life takes a good look at the idea of â€˜Thy Will be doneâ€™. From a Christian-centric Easter perspective and the story of Jesus in The Garden of Gethsemane – the events that lead to The Passion of Christ – through to a very non-personal perspective on the idea of â€˜handing it over to Godâ€™.
So letâ€™s crack open this sweet egg, and take a ride down the Easter Bunny holeâ€¦
The Garden of Gethsemane, Jerusalem, 2008
In 2008 I had the privilege of teaching the first ever Journey Intensive Weekend for Brandon Bays in Israel. During that trip I had the opportunity to visit Jerusalem â€“ an opportunity I was NOT going to miss.
I was raised Christian, my Grandpa was a Vicar; I went to Sunday school and sang with the church choir. I didn’t really relate to all that bible stuff, but no doubt itâ€™s in my blood. Later as I walked the path of awakening, I was re-introduced to the core spiritual ideas that appear in Christianity, but also within the other main religious texts. In my â€˜conversations with Godâ€™ over the years, Jesus has regularly been a â€˜formâ€™ through which the Divine has spoken to me. And often when Christ was around there was a good deal of talk about the nature of surrender and Divine Will.
So, on reflection, it is no surprise to me that of all the places I visited in Jerusalem, it was the Garden of Gethsemane that touched me most deeply.
The Garden of Gethsemane, Jerusalem, Circa AD 33
What took place in the garden marks Maundy Thursday and begins the Passion of Christ and all the Christian events associated with the Easter Festival. While much of the Easter attention falls on the crucifixion and the resurrection, in my mind ALL of that is cradled in the teaching of surrender that was reached through Jesusâ€™ very human conversation with God; often known as his anguished prayer.
In case you donâ€™t know, The Bible tells how after the last supper, in full awareness of Judasâ€™ imminent betrayal, Jesus takes his disciples to their usual hangout, the garden of Gethsemane. As he waits there he goes off to pray, beseeching God to spare him. He basically says: â€œGod, I know all things are possible to You, so please show me if there is another way? In fact, if there IS another way please, please, please do that!â€, and yet with full authenticity he finishes his prayer with â€œand always, Thy Will be doneâ€
The lesson here is not one of personal power, it is one of non-personal awareness. Jesus does NOTÂ set a personal goal of living without suffering and make that happen, glorifying in his awesomeness when he hits his goal or entering a self-blame/critique/lesson scenario if he misses.
Rather, he shows us that you can be fully present and acknowledge the human expression (the experience of the frightened personality in this case) and still be fully connected to the true source of all decision, consequence & experience: The Infinite, The Origin, God.
You see, often â€˜Thy Will be doneâ€™ is interpreted as a personal doing. In other words, â€œItâ€™s my personal responsibility to hand it over to Godâ€.
A non-personal interpretation would be that if, like Jesus, you become fully awake to the realisation that there is no personal causality, and every perceived reality is, in fact, at consequence only to God (or ‘The Field’ if you prefer) – then you will understand that the fundamental spiritual dictate: ‘Hand it over to God’ is not an instruction for ‘you’ to ‘do’ the handing over. Rather, itâ€™s an invitation to simply realise the True source of all experience, inspiration and action.
So, Jesus understood that no matter what personal action he undertook, God was in charge. In the end; Thy Will be done. Byron Katie (author of Loving What Is), whoâ€™s term for God is â€˜realityâ€™ puts it nicely, saying â€œWhen you argue with reality you lose, but only 100% of the timeâ€.
So, this Easter, I invite you to entertain the notion that Thy Will is being done. I encourage you to notice how you are being moved, being breathed, being â€˜doneâ€™. I also invite you to honour your personal experiences and wishes in that, and be with them as kindly as possible. The Morning Prayer which I share on my Heaven & Earth CD (http://www.shop.npacentral.com/other-products/), provides a format which fully embraces these ideas, so that could be a great resource for you if youâ€™d like a little support with that.
Sending you always, love & blessings