All the Christian talk of personal relationship with Christ never made sense to me.
Except that in other religions I found a very straightforward depiction of a divine in-dwelling part of us, a part that is always pure and full of God’s love and power.
Some religions said it is always there, but we don’t always align with it.
Others said it is there only when we allow it to come and dwell within us.
But whether we are born with it but lose our way, or born without it and find our way, it amounts to the same thing.
For me there is no difference between believing in Christ and finding that His divine spirit comes and dwells within you, and learning that Ishvara is the part of you that is one with Brahman, and it is up to you to remember it and really know it.
I used to worry because people seemed so convinced about their “relationship with Jesus” and I really didn’t see what they were referring to.
Many people insisted that the truth lay only within the bounds of their own religious sect or immediate experience, and they were either disinterested or even afraid at the thought of other religions.
Now I can see that many of those people who proclaimed their personal relationship with Christ were just spouting empty words; others sincerely feel a strong connection to Jesus as an historical and spiritual figure of the highest importance; still others genuinely develop an internal awareness of the divine within them under the auspices of Christ and their Christian practice and belief.
But they don’t necessarily understand it that way, in the way that I understand it from my vantage point as the son of a priest, seeing things from the inside, followed by decades of searching for answers wherever wisdom seemed to reside.
Without meaning to, this Easter has become a fitting occasion to own the wisdom I have gathered from my search and my experience.
I understand Christ and Christianity now, as far as I ever wanted to and as far as I need to. What I believe, what I will teach my children, is an authentic expression of my own journey and the answers to my questions.
It feels good to stop searching and take ownership of what I have found. It feels good to take a stand on what I know to be obviously true after so many years of doubting and looking for proof.
Because aside from the content of what I know and assert and what makes most sense to me, there is the pleasure and relief of making an assertion that is authentically my own and no longer holding back for fear of offending others or being misunderstood or mislabeled.
The Easter season mirrors my own experience with the part of me that though branded, rejected, betrayed and condemned, though beaten, crushed and denied by myself and others, could never be defeated, and can never die.
No matter how much we suppress and ignore the divine within us, it does not die.