Tuesday of Holy Week

I tell you solemnly, one of you will betray me.  John 13

Each year, the journey of Holy Week begins anew, no matter how many times we’ve traveled it in the past. And each year, we have examples of human life in a condensed time frame.

On Sunday, we had wild celebrations, Monday’s gospel gave an example of human jealousy over the acclamations Jesus received, and today we have betrayal.

I’ve read or heard many theories of who Judas was, why he did what he did. There’s no sure answer to that except to note that the story of Judas appears in the synoptic gospels as well as the Gospel of John. And so, from that, we must surmise that the experience with Judas happened regardless of why.

But betrayal comes in many ways to Jesus just as it comes to us. Peter betrays – Peter the Rock who is strong and confident. Martha and Mary, the sisters who love Jesus, each betray when they doesn’t trust Jesus’ actions. The people Jesus heals betray when they don’t thank him or when they return to their previous lives and ways.

Betrayal. It comes to each of us in all ways and in many situations. When we use anger that hurts someone else, we betray the Christ Consciousness. When we get frustrated and fearful at work or the lack of work, we betray our Christ Consciousness. When we refuse to help someone, we betray our Christ Consciousness. In little ways and big, we betray the injunction to love one another, to be at peace. We betray the Christ Consciousness when we worry or retreat from conscious behavior. We betray our Christ Consciousness when we judge another’s actions.

Observe your journey this week. How do you, how do I, how do all of us betray in large ways and small? How do we reconcile ourselves to our self? How do we learn to trust the journey? Psalm 71 for today reads, “In you I take refuge; let me never be put to shame; incline your ear to me and save me.” Are we “saved” from our fears when we live consciously in the Christ Consciousness?

This week, become conscious of all your actions and reactions, your emotions and your experiences.  

Lent and Holy Week give us a concentrated period of time to examine our lives, to release that which causes our darkness, to prepare once more for a rebirth into a new way of thinking, breathing, and living.

Take these days and prepare for rebirth.

Faces and Hearts

There is a brokenness /out of which comes the unbroken/a shatteredness/out of which blooms the unshatterable. – Rashani

I’m reading a friend’s book: Losing Face by Kathy Torpie. I knew Kathy in Hawaii when we both lived and worked at Kalani Honua in 1993 and found her again recently through Facebook. A surprise and a gift. She uses the poem by Rashani in her book and relates the story of how she regained her face, shattered in an accident, and renewed herself after being hit head on by a drunk driver. She’s spent the intervening years since with surgeries and recovery.  

Here’s a sentence I underlined in the early pages: “Every day every one of us puts on a ‘face’ for the world, hiding the unacceptable from view.”

I began wondering why I often define myself as wearing many hats and changing them often, sometimes with blinding speed. And I wondered if by changing hats, I’m also changing the face I present.  Am I hiding something “unacceptable from view” with that action or have I simply lost track of which face goes with which hat?

The press and tumult of our lives right now often feels like being faced with a constant barrage of drunk drivers, but so far, no one I know has completely crashed and burned. I see it in the news: the Gulf Coast is being hit with a force so devastating and so big it may not recover for many years; men have died in the crush of mine accidents; people continue to sicken and die in Hati; earthquakes rumble around the world regularly; and Wall Street, acting like a drunken driver, is speeding its way into another crisis. 

It’s a daily gift to sit here quietly in the morning, beside my window, and gauge the day.

Although here’s an interesting realization – even in my writing I put on a face – the face of the spiritual blogger, the spiritual teacher. THE ONE WHO IS WISE. Well, that’s probably not necessary in caps, but you get the idea. Is that face any different from the one I live inside?

Years ago, when I could affect such things as face wrinkles, I noticed that frown lines were forming between my eyebrows. So when home, I stuck a piece of Scotch Tape between my eyes so I’d notice when I frowned and train myself to stop doing it. I managed to avoid deep wrinkles between my eyebrows that way, but I didn’t stop them from moving elsewhere.  But I also know, from looking at old head shots, that my eyes were more angry and frightened in those days than they are now.

I suspect the heart is where face begins. When a heart is happy and at peace, the face reflects happiness and peace. The converse is also true.

Kathy Torpie is far more physically courageous than I will ever be, and rather than telling her story again, I’d suggest you get her book, but what I know from a recent long phone conversation is that her heart is also peaceful now.  She entered her darkness and rebirthed. 

I don’t quite know what to call these days we live in although I know there’s a huge component of darkness and despair, fear and its attendant, anger; it’s often beyond knowing how one reaches to switch on the light and see emotions and fears clearly. But that seems to be our work each day: to focus on our heart and know the feeling in our heart is reflected on our face.

Dr. Oz, the famous heart surgeon, says there’s a ganglia of nerves that attach to a spot on the heart. Over many years, I’ve read spiritual teachers who have said the same regarding the heart chakra. In other words, both physically and energetically, the heart could be said to be our primary teacher. Listen to it. Breathe into it. Treat it kindly. Enter the darknesses that face you and allow your heart to lead you through.

Imagine the world we could make if our faces reflected a happy heart.