Jesus and the rest of us

According to Christianity, Jesus was God made flesh. He came onto Earth in order to lead a life of pain so that humans who accepted him could go to heaven instead of hell in the afterlife.

Since Adam and Eve disobeyed God, they had become sinners. Their punishment was infinite suffering carrying on for generations, death and hell. Sin became human nature, ingrained into the human condition (natural sin). All of creation became marred by sin. Jesus came to suffer immense pain although he was guiltless, in order to pay the price of human sin – a karmic exchange of sorts, he paid the balance. Humanity became indebted to him, and by accepting him Christians say we are freed from our debts to enjoy heaven after the Day of Judgement.

I do not believe this story word for word. I see it as a metaphor about knowledge and experience.

Human beings are born in a state of ignorance about their very nature (‘who am I?’) and they enter into an experiment with opposite forces (good vs. bad) in order to understand themselves. They finally come to see themselves beyond dualities, come to identify their inherent nature in connection with God (source of consciousness). All creation goes through this journey in some way, and it is its own kind of struggle. BEING IGNORANT TO OUR OWN IDENTITY YET HAVING THE ABILITY TO QUESTION IT is hard. But we choose this suffering in order to experience the reward of reuniting with God and realising ourselves. This happens cyclically over and over again, perhaps through lifetimes.

Jesus was a good man who understood God. He was innocent yet he was punished – he therefore took on pain that was undeserved, which goes against the law of karma (you reap what you sow, what goes around comes around etc.) As a result, the world owes him for his pain. How the world balances this karma is unclear, because it’s very hard to see exactly how karma works. Perhaps to respect and understand Jesus’s teachings is the answer.

I don’t believe all the things about heaven and hell. Heaven and hell are all here on Earth as an experience of duality which we subject ourselves to. I only believe in knowledge versus ignorance. Jesus shed some light on the knowledge of who we are, but then a lot of interpretations were made about what he said which are not necessarily what he intended. Nevertheless, it’s up to us to create and understand what we can on this Earth, and the words of spirtual leaders can guide us in our personal (not political or social) search.

Jesus and Mary Magdalen, by Khalil Gibran

The following is an excerpt from Khalil Gibran’s work, Jesus the Son of Man… It recounts the first meeting between Jesus and Mary Magdalen, and it is written in the voice of Mary:

It was in the month of June when I saw Him for the first time. He was walking in the wheatfield when I passed by with my handmaidens, and He was alone. The rhythm of His steps was different from other men’s, and the movement of His body was like naught I had seen before. Men do not pace the earth in that manner. And even now I do not know whether He walked fast or slow. My handmaidens pointed their fingers at Him and spoke in shy whispers to one another. And I stayed my steps for a moment, and raised my hand to hail Him. But He did not turn His face, and He did not look at me. And I hated Him. I was swept back into myself, and I was as cold as if I had been in a snow-drift. And I shivered.

That night I beheld Him in my dreaming; and they told me afterward that I screamed in my sleep and was restless upon my bed.

It was in the month of August that I saw Him again, through my window. He was sitting in the shadow of the cypress tree across my garden, and He was still as if He had been carved out of stone, like the statues in Antioch and other cities of the North Country. And my slave, the Egyptian, came to me and said, “That man is here again. He is sitting there across your garden.” And I gazed at Him, and my soul quivered within me, for He was beautiful. His body was single and each part seemed to love every other part. Then I clothed myself with raiment of Damascus, and I left my house and walked towards Him.

Was it my aloneness, or was it His fragrance, that drew me to Him? Was it a hunger in my eyes that desired comeliness, or was it His beauty that sought the light of my eyes? Even now I do not know. I walked to Him with my scented garments and my golden sandals, the sandals the Roman captain had given me, even these sandals. And when I reached Him, I said, “Good-morrow to you.”

And He said, “Good-morrow to you, Miriam.” And He looked at me, and His night-eyes saw me as no man had seen me. And suddenly I was as if naked, and I was shy.

Yet He had only said, “Good-morrow to you.”

And then I said to Him, “Will you not come to my house?”

And He said, “Am I not already in your house?”

I did not know what He meant then, but I know now.

And I said, “Will you not have wine and bread with me?”

And He said, “Yes, Miriam, but not now.”

Not now, not now, He said. And the voice of the sea was in those two words, and the voice of the wind and the trees. And when He said them unto me, life spoke to death. For mind you, my friend, I was dead. I was a woman who had divorced her soul. I was living apart from this self which you now see. I belonged to all men, and to none. They called me harlot, and a woman possessed of seven devils. I was cursed, and I was envied. But when His dawn-eyes looked into my eyes all the stars of my night faded away, and I became Miriam, only Miriam, a woman lost to the earth she had known, and finding herself in new places.

And now again I said to Him, “Come into my house and share bread and wine with me.”

And He said, “Why do you bid me to be your guest?”

And I said, “I beg you to come into my house.” And it was all that was sod in me, and all that was sky in me calling unto Him.

Then He looked at me, and the noontide of His eyes was upon me, and He said, “You have many lovers, and yet I alone love you. Other men love themselves in your nearness. I love you in your self. Other men see a beauty in you that shall fade away sooner than their own years. But I see in you a beauty that shall not fade away, and in the autumn of your days that beauty shall not be afraid to gaze at itself in the mirror, and it shall not be offended. I alone love the unseen in you.”

Then He said in a low voice, “Go away now. If this cypress tree is yours and you would not have me sit in its shadow, I will walk my way.”

And I cried to Him and I said, “Master, come to my house. I have incense to burn for you, and a silver basin for your feet. You are a stranger and yet not a stranger. I entreat you, come to my house.”

Then He stood up and looked at me even as the seasons might look down upon the field, and He smiled. And He said again: “All men love you for themselves. I love you for yourself.”

And then He walked away.

But no other man ever walked the way He walked. Was it a breath born in my garden that moved to the east? Or was it a storm that would shake all things to their foundations?

I knew not, but on that day the sunset of His eyes slew the dragon in me, and I became a woman, I became Miriam, Miriam of Mijdel.