I pondered what might be needed to entice people into dialogue with their Inner Wisdom—a totally non-threatening conversation which could be ended by our conscious will at any time. A poem came to me, the last line of which stated, “…one of us must die so both of us can live.”
If I could only find a way to convince folks that they get two for one. The basic human duality engaging each of us is thinking we must choose between two options when the necessary cooperation with our Inner Wisdom will give us both.
What died in me—what needs to die in everyone—is the garbage I’d collected—the drivenness, the will to power, the anger, the need to win at another’s loss. Our original personality cannot re-emerge until all the negativity we’ve gathered (all in our attempts, by the way, to make ourselves into good people!) is incinerated.
My new interpretation of what Jesus was talking about when he spoke of losing one’s life in order to save it is not losing/giving up the life we cherish but rather that life that has become stale, dry, meaningless; the life that holds no joy and laughter; the life that is killing us. To ‘save’ the remnant of the ‘good life’—and uncover the hidden abundant life deep inside, we must surrender the old, what is no longer working, what is worn out.
In the Jesus narrative, his physical death produced a new being: one with heightened interpretative powers (look at his conversation with travelers to Emmaus); greater ability to be in the moment and create a festive occasion (cooking breakfast for the disciples on the seashore—a culinary first!); and with increased sense of compassion (he tells Peter and others to tend his flocks—not teach, preach, convert, but simply tend). Intellectual, physical, emotional faculties were all totally engaged. Ours become the same as our new being emerges.
My favorite story of all Scripture is called Abraham’s Sacrifice of Isaac. The truth is, Isaac was not sacrificed. God sent an angel to prevent the deed. God gave Abraham what he had long promised—a son, an heir to be the father of countless descendants. Then God asked for Abraham’s most precious possession, that same son. In being willing to give up what was more important to him than his own life, Abraham was given it back again, with a new understanding of who God is and what is necessary for the kind of relationship with God that God wants him to have.
God has given us a most prized possession—conscious willful control over our lives. Now if we will temporarily give that up, it will come back to us transformed into more than we can imagine,