Tomorrow is Holy Thursday for those that practice Christianity. This was always one of my favorite Catholic rituals growing up and one service I always loved to share with my mom. In this service, which marks the story of the last supper, the priests wash the parishoners feet – a symbol of humble service, a reminder that we (even priests) are all equal and we are here to serve one another. or at least that was I was taught.
Sathya Sai Baba, a loving saint from India says, “Service to man is service to God”. Since my spiritual awareness has expanded out from Christianity, I continue to see how so many of the world religions share Truths and rituals. In the Hindu faith, to touch the Guru’s (saints) feet is the greatest honor and blessing. Suddenly the washing of the feet takes on an even deeper meaning for me, one that resonates all the way back to the ancient scriptures of the Bhagavad Gita.
I remember asking my mom once when I was a questioning teenager, “Mom, do you believe in reincarnation?”, expecting her to say no following her Catholic upbringing. She said, “Well I think it’s pretty boring if you don’t”. She of course went on to be a Reiki Master, continuing to co-lead the bereavement group at her catholic church even while she faced her own death from cancer.
Being with my mother as she released her body and fully embraced the LIGHT that she is, remains the deepest spritual teaching I have ever received and I am grateful to her and the teachings – both East and West – that helped me experience it with Grace and Surrender.
I am posting something I wrote 2 years ago while sitting with my mom 6 weeks before she died. It is called, “The Last Holy Week”
The Last Holy Week
April 1, 2007
I sat in service on Palm Sunday and felt tears welling up as I realized this may be my last holy week. This is my last Holy Week with my mother still on the planet and it may just be the last Holy Week that I feel compelled to mark by worshipping in a Christian church.
How is that possible, I think? Can I really let go of this deep passionate and shaping story of death and resurrection that has so guided the way I live my life – the way I choose, the way I love, the way I suffer. Must I give it up? Sometimes, and in that moment –while listening to another beautiful (but somewhat ancient) choral piece, I thought: yes. It’s time. It’s time to give it up. It’s time for all of us to give it up. It’s OK. It really is. I know we are afraid. We are afraid that somehow if we let these traditions go – this story – we will somehow lose track, lose our way, lose our history. But, in fact, it is in letting it go that we begin to fully reclaim and understand our history – our history that began way back in the city of Atlantis and the desert of Egypt – long before the man known as Jesus of Nazareth walked the earth.
Suffering is over. It’s time and we no longer need to be afraid.
Now isn’t Atlantis a made up myth? Perhaps, but isn’t also the idea that Mary got pregnant by God with a man named Jesus who then died and rose from the dead also a myth? And how do we decide as a society which stories, legends, and myths that require faith in something beyond provable fact, become ritualized and accepted and worshipped and handed down and which ones are just wacky notions some crazy group of christians, muslims, jews, extremists, witches, fundamentalists, feminists, or astrologers think.
As The Beatles sang, “All we need is love” and I believe that, but what is love and how does it manifest now today in this moment. How does it manifest in our hearts? In our communities? In our families?
If we exist today, we know we need a lot more than love –we need shelter and food and jobs and money and status and careers and institutions and corporations and wars and so on and so on and so on. But do we? And why? What is it we think these things give us? And what happens if we really begin to practice, live, breath and believe: All I need is love. Isn’t that what Jesus preached after all: Come follow me. Do not worry about clothes or food or shelter. I will provide. Not very practical. And neither is dancing around singing “All we need is love”. And yet in our hearts, in our bodies, we want to believe in this and trust. We do. We want to surrender and be like children, strip ourselves of the ego that tells us we need status and a career and a job and a spouse and children and control.
To let this story go, let these institutions fall, is to surrender and give up control –allow the new world, the world where love is liquid light and we are but it’s vessel fully manifest here and now on this planet.
It’s time. Do not be afraid. I go before you always.