As I sat through our Easter Sunday sermon yesterday and I heard the Easter story once again, I imagined myself in the story and realized how amazing it must have been for the disciples and Mary Magdalene when they found the tomb empty. The juxtaposition of the suffering that Jesus endured on the cross against the disbelief of it all, when he vanished from his tomb caught my attention. I remembered times in my own life when I suffered for something or other, and the suffering seemed outrageous only to be followed by what I can only describe as a “nothingness”. In fact, the nothingness was so vast that it erased the memory of the suffering to the point where I really don’t remember why I was in such agony anymore. And this memory loss isn’t just due to the fact that it happened a long time ago. To me the greatest part of the Easter story is that the horrific cruelty and injustice was followed by something that defies the crucifixion and its reality. The beaten down and torn apart body that seemed so real, is no more. It is not healed, it just isn’t. His “death” gives Christianity its life. The Easter story questions the existence of death. That’s pretty fantastic!
Going back to my own experiences of suffering or memories of them, they seem pretty unreal. In fact, the only real elaborate memories I have, are of times of intense and unadulterated joy. Why is that? It’s like the saying, “you only remember the good”. Is it denial of the bad? Is it a survivor’s mindset, to only remember the good? I’d like to think along the lines of the Easter story, the bad and the ugly are just not real.
But what about when you are actually going through the “suffering”, can you deny it as it is happening? Is that what Jesus did on the cross? Is that something we can do? I gave it a try. This morning was a rough morning and I was feeling physically run down and emotionally drained. As I went for my morning walk, I asked myself and questioned the reality of my negative emotions. I literally asked myself if this is real? The moment I asked myself that question, I realized that it truly wasn’t. I ended up content and forgot why I was unhappy to begin with. Now I know that this is a small example, but it was as the Course In Miracles says, darkness disappeared as soon as I turned on the light. The moment I knew that the light needed to be turned on, I was questioning the validity of the darkness. It had in fact disappeared before the light was turned on. So, I will try it for bigger things and see if I practice seeing the illusion for what it is, will it disappear?