Eric Butterworth Unity Podcast #42
In an Easter Sunday message given many years go, Eric Butterworth reveals the real meaning of Easter.
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Easter is a glorious season. I like to call Easter Sunday, “Super Sunday”, because it deals with a super idea. It essentially is the super self of each of us. I know that traditionally Easter has not involved too much of us. We have overlooked the fact that one of the main things that Jesus said in the Garden, before the Tomb, talking to Mary Magdalene. Mary had talked to him, and he said, “Cease clinging to me. Don’t hold on to me.” It’s one of the things that we’ve completely overlooked. Because so much of our Christian tradition is based on holding onto Jesus. That’s because we’ve been so wrapped in holding onto him. Easter has been a matter of the crucifixion, the resurrection, which many have looked upon as sort of a Memorial Day for Jesus.
We missed the whole idea of the Easter story. As we see it as dealing with one person, with you. It’s not about death and life. It’s about light, awakening. Resurrection deals not just with the raising of Jesus from the tomb. The releasement of the divine possibilities within all of us, awakening a new awareness of the dynamic self within us, which we sometimes call the Christ within.
There’s a lovely Chinese aphorism that I’ve become very close to. I like to sort of put it into the record on our Easter Sunday each year. It says, “If you keep in your heart a green bow, I heard there would come one day to stay a singing bird.” If you keep in your heart a green bow, dealing with the image, imagination, and faith. The image is something great about yourself. Something of the depth within you, something of the overcoming possibility of you. Keep this image in your heart, and there will come one day to stay a singing bird, symbolizing the beautiful truth of the depth in you coming alive, singing hosannas, glorious anthems of praise.
I also have the belief, perhaps naïve, because it goes back to my early years, the belief that on Easter something wonderful should happen to every person who’s open and receptive to the renaissance of spring. Can you believe that something wonderful is happening to you? The interesting thing is that if you believe that something wonderful is going to happen to you today, then something wonderful has already happened, because you can attain the vision of it. Perhaps the image of it, perhaps the faith in it.
It’s interesting that in the city today, and in cities throughout the land, throughout the Western world, there are two celebrations going on that kind of coincide this year. They change each year according to the move of the seasons. Christianity and Judaism are dealing with their own special concepts of this season of the year. It’s interesting that most of the world has not yet come to realize, there’s a crying need for this realization, that Christianity and Judaism seem to be dialects in the great truth of Oneness. Certainly traditionalists within Judaism and Christianity tend to hold onto separations and differences. How good it would be if we could accept the true idea of likenesses. There’s so much likenesses within this concept.
The Jewish Passover was originally a spring festival of Matza that revealed in Canaan when the Israelites arrived. They simply adopted and adapted it to their own experience and tradition. There’s a gallant feast of thanksgiving for the resurrection process in nature which they correlated with the passing of the Angel of Death over their homes, those of which had been smeared with blood of the lamb so that their young were spared. The Christian observance of Easter is also an adaptation of the festival of spring. It revealed in the lands conquered by the holy Roman Empire.
Ēostre is the Anglo Saxon goddess of spring. All the Easter symbols which we think are so much a part of Christianity, the Easter bunny, the Easter eggs, the lovely practice of dressing in spring finery, all these have an origin that far antedates Christianity and the festivals of spring.
The same roots from which the Jewish Passover has come. The symbols differ. There’s a dialect of distinction. But, the principle is one. The processes did not originate with Jesus or with Moses. What Jesus did was fulfill the eternal secret in a personal overcoming. It was a demonstration of a process that was just as certain as the lilies of the field.
Historically, the Easter story is simple and oft told. Putting it most simply, an itinerant preacher had come to the big city to spread his gospel. Because he was a threat to both church and state, he was arrested on trumped up charges. After a mock trial, he was taken out to a high hill, along with two common thieves. He was crucified.
Of course, this was supposed to be the end of him. Actually, it was only the beginning. Because after only three days, they found the stone of his tomb rolled away and many of his ensuring appearances confirmed that he had in fact risen from the dead. And so today, throughout the Christian world, people are singing, “He is risen! He is risen! Tell it out with joyful voice. He has bursted his three days’ prison. Let the whole wide world rejoice!”
Unfortunately, Easter has had everything to do with Jesus. And little to nothing to do with you and me. It’s a Spring miracle in a religion of many mysteries. These people have been made to accept without reason. A young person was asked to define religion in Sunday school: “Religion is believing what ain’t so.”
Many of us have had to put our intellects and the logical, the power of our minds, back into the back of our minds, to accept something that we believe in conscience ain’t so. The resurrection deals with a process that isn’t actually really part of the universe. From the electron to the supernova, from the amoeba to the human being, the problem is, we’ve had to swallow the dictionary without first learning our ABCs.
The key to understanding Easter, is the Resurrection Principle. It’s what I call the Promethean Urge. As Joe Bellefast says, “When they can’t speed down, they’ll say they’re just lifting up.” In other words, in every experience, there’s help or healing for you. There’s growth and overcoming. There’s justice, and order, and peace, and fulfillment. Human life, that’s what philosophers call, an unexplained over endowment of mere physical existence. As I say often, the body is bias on the side of life, of healing, of renewal.
And guidance is in evidence of an inexplicable intuitive process. As Emerson says, “The claim to continuation of the divine force that made you in the first place.”
Albert Szent-Györgi (1960) twice Nobelist in physics and biology, set forth a principle, which is very shocking to some. Because the scientific world has always accepted the idea of entropy. That there’s a gradual disintegration of matter. That the universe is gradually running down. Things wear out. The body is depreciating, coming closer to what we call death.
Albert Szent-Györgi (1960) sets forth the idea of centropy, contrasting with entropy. Centropy was a principle that dealt with the innate drive in living matter to perfect itself. There is always something in them seeking to renew itself, to unfold, to grow, to overcome, to rise above. It’s extremely interesting to me and inspiring that this concept would be set forth by a very distinguished scientist. Anyways, we always have something going for us. No matter what you’re doing. You have the whole universe on your side. If you just accept it, if you believe it, if you work with it. This is essentially what Easter is all about.
Incidentally, Easter tells the story about Jesus’ resurrection from the dead after three days in the tomb. I have no problems with that. I’m willing to believe that there are dimensions of like that I don’t understand. So, I see this Easter experience of Jesus in his triumphant hour, passing the test, achieving his masters degree on the strength on the thesis of his life. This was not God living as a human person for a while, playing out a little drama to prove his power to the world. It was a person on a quest. A person working to demonstrate his divine potential. A person achieving the victory. The final overcoming. And the most exciting part was that he was one of us, and he made it, which is something to celebrate.
Religion is so often involved in symbologies and in pictures that have been hard for us to accept, in an intellectual sense. A Sunday school teacher, who’d been disturbed by the fact that it was difficult to get children to come to Sunday school, to be involved in it seriously. Attending service on Easter Sunday, as he walked into the narthex of the church, he suddenly became aware of a figure that had always been there. A large angel with wings hanging to the floor, arms outstretched, blessing people. He looked at it objectively. And for the first time he saw something. He said to himself, “How can we expect children to come to Sunday school if it involves believing in monstrosities like that?”
Something about it says, those who’ve put it in neutral and we’ve accepted such things in religion. We couldn’t quite see them as part of everyday experience. We couldn’t accept it as something that went on in our work or in the relationships with the people on the street. We accepted it as a part of religion, which has been sad because it’s left us in a rather static condition. For fundamentally, Easter is the story of the symbol of the hidden genius within us all. The imminence of the Resurrection Principle and the returning of life’s way.
You can only be explained in terms of your potential, the perfect person that you can be. What are you? You are what you can be. That’s the only answer to the question, “What are you?” You are what you can be. And you always have that potential within you, wherever you are, whatever you’re doing. Perhaps you’ve struggled over the theological Easter. I say, nevermind. The important thing is, that Easter proves that you can become what you innately are. Easter proclaims there is a person of genius within every person limited by a self image of mediocrity.
You’ve been told that a genius is born, not made. And, that’s true. What we’ve overlooked, is that a person dies and is born again many times over in life. In fact, Paul says, “I die daily.” Whenever there’s a change in character, there’s a death and rebirth. There’s a whole and perfect person within you, that’s constantly struggling for releasement. As one doctor says, “Sickness is struggling health.” It’s the whole body seeking to come out, to be released like the butterfly from a chrysalis.
If you get into the spirit of Easter, really let it come alive in you, the stones of limitation progressively will be rolled away from your tomb. See, the resurrection refers to consciousness, its various levels and stages in life. To be resurrected means to get out of the place where you are, and go onto a higher plane. To awaken your freedom from false beliefs. Of course, it is a growth that takes place progressively, possibly over long periods of time. Many of us misunderstand this. We get so impatient, so anxious to achieve what we call perfection right here and now. This is something that works over a long period of time. But, now is an excellent time to begin. The divine and important time for you.
It always seemed to me there’s a glaring weakness in Christian tradition and symbolism in the emphasis on the cross. This will be a little shocking to some of you. I hope it is. I like to disturb people. Because, unless you’re disturbed in your looking at the truth, it’s not really touching you. There should be something within you that says “Ouch!”, something within you that says, “Ah-hah! I see.”
The emphasis on the cross, the logo of the Christian movement can be very limiting. Because it keeps the focus on Jesus’ death and on the cross, dealing with it as a standing situation, rather than seeing the whole experience as a process that flows through the crucifixion, through the dark tomb. We should be seeing it as a tunnel with light at both ends.
Because flowing through the tunnel and out on the dawning light of life, from a transcendent perspective. Christian worship has had an emphasis on darkness and sin and death. And the faithful have often lived a life of continuous mourning, even dressing in black every day of the week. But if we really catch the meaning of Jesus, and the importance of his life, the relevant experience to us, we see that Easter is not about tragedy and death, but rather about victorious spirit of the enduring Christ, which is dauntless in every time of trial.
A young man in the TB sanatorium was feeling very discouraged. Nothing to look forward to but the slow fading out of his life. A veteran inmate came in to his room, to cheer the man up. He said, “Remember son, what you’ve got will never kill you, if you keep it in your chest. But, if you get it up here,” tapping his temple, “it’s fatal.” Mourning kills more patients than TB ever did. It was just the boost that this young man needed. The awareness that his dark tomb was a tunnel with light at both ends. That led to a realization that the whole experience was a growth process. It prevented him from hitching his ongoingness to a cross. This is what we all do, unconsciously.
The cross was a tortuous experience. Jesus obviously kept the cross on the outside. He didn’t allow his spirit to become bound. He didn’t allow it to get up here. I know the satirical wit of George Bernard Shaw, who says, “They crucified him on a stick. We have the strange sensation that he got hold of the right end of it.” He certainly did. That’s the key to so much of our victory in life. Getting hold of the right end of the cross of human experience.
The Christian cross originally had a dynamic meaning. The symbol of overcoming, of victory, pointing to the empty tomb. The great demonstration of the Resurrection Principle. Through the ages, unfortunately, ages of what I call religious devolution. It became a symbol of tragedy, pain and humiliation. As if the cross was the doorway to an emaciated Jesus, dying an agonizing death, through the crucifix, the crosses became an object of worship. Christianity has lost its vitality in many ways because it has been hung up on the cross, which has led to viewing life through dark colored glasses.
In a more personal sense, many of us are hung up on crosses that mark the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune. These personal crosses mark the painful experiences of the past. We need to let go of the cross, emphases of hurts and abuse. Stop crucifying yourself. Take constructive steps to forgive and forget. And, get on with your life.
So much in our analysis of ourself that emphasizes these terrible things that have happened in our past. It’s become almost a fad today to talk about how certain things in our past have scrambled our life: parents who didn’t love us, teachers who abused us. We talk so much about the abuse that took place. Nothing can take precedence over the abuse we give ourselves day to day by holding onto these crosses.
The cross of Christianity should point to the victorious spirit within every person for which we can rise triumphant over every trial. It’s always seemed to me that a far more meaningful symbol or logo for Christianity might be taken from the tomb, its open end. The emergence into light. The symbol could be a perfect circle of light. And the darkness and suffering would give way to the presence and power of God.
Looking outward the formal tradition and ritual would be replaced by a looking inward, to oneness, looking forward in confidence in growth and overcoming. If you’re looking forward to experiences in time and space, but it would forward from a divine flow. Not looking forward to things, but looking forward from something, manifesting the divine self through it.
It’s extremely unlikely that my small voice will have much influence on the Christian tradition. The cross is here to stay, I’m sorry to say. By loving, you eventually let go of the cross for yourself and replace it with a perfect circle of light. In a personal sense, when you cross out the negatives, both in your religion and in your states of mind, your life maybe have that experience of marking those times of hurt and difficulty with your own crosses of mind. A kind of X marks the spot. Here, and there, and there, and there: crosses all through our consciousness of things that have hurt us, disturbed us. Things that forever having to accommodate those crosses of mind. The answer is to let go of your crosses. Get the victorious conviction that you don’t have hurt or angered by experiences. If you’ve been angry or hurt in the past, then don’t re-sense them.
The word “resentment” is a very dynamic word. Resentment. Because it really means re-sensing. If you resent certain things that have happened in your life, because you’re constantly re-sensing them. Who’s causing the hurt? Who’s causing the crucifixion? Who’s causing the pain and the suffering? You are. No matter what has been done back there. The problem for you now is re-sensing them. Calling them up. Going over them. Going over your troubles and your crosses is almost like a crucifix. Thinking about them one by one. Let them go. Let go of that whole cross experience.
Keep these things on the outside. As Shaw says, if you can get hold of the stick from the right end. Even if you didn’t at one time, you can today. You can start anew. You can become the means evolving you to an important high level of growth and achievement.
A pilgrim on the road of Mecca, is camped along way at night. Tired and downcast over the hardship of the journey and the dangers of the highwaymen, suddenly a blinding light appeared and a voice spoke to the man, “Mecca is here. Mecca is now.” And it was shocking to this person, because he had been working so hard. Giving so much time. Spending so much money and effort, emotion, in trying to get to Mecca. To this great experience. The voice said, “Mecca is now. Mecca is here.”
There’s the road you’re traveling on, is the goal you’re seeking. Then, where is the road going to lead, when am I going to get there? If you’re on the road at all, you’re there. Mecca is the road. And, according to the desire with which you are traveling the road. Truth is not just a goal at the end of the road. It is the road that you start right now. If you miss this point your quest for truth becomes a frantic reaching for the end of the rainbow. Help you with the plaguing feeling that perhaps you haven’t amassed a sufficient supply of truth to get you there. Mecca is here. Mecca is now. Symbolizing the goals and aspirations we all have for ourselves. Things we’d like to work out, in our relationships, in our job, in our physical body and in our general outlook on life. I hope we can get there.
How many people here have twisted to say, “I’m pressing on but it’s so hard. Will I ever get to that realization?”
Do you see yourself as on the road now? Taking hold of the concepts that study is a constant process of getting yourself involved in deep truths of spirit? You may not realize them all yet. You may not understand them all yet. You may not have the consciousness of them, as we so often say.
But if you’re on the road, you’re there. You have to grow and discipline yourself and expand and be more conscious of the truth, but the whole thing is not somewhere you’re going to get, a deeper awareness of where you are. Mecca is here and Mecca is now.
Look carefully at that tomb of Easter. See if perhaps there’s a chrysalis, that’s released it’s butterfly. But, don’t look at the tomb, look through it. Because the tomb, as in all the tragedies of life, is a tunnel that has light at both ends.
Take a brief drifting of a cloud across the road you travel on through which you pass from sunlight to sunlight. From light to light, and if you enter some dark period of your life, seems you’ve come out of the light into some darkness. You put so much emphasis on the darkness. So sad. So tragic. Why does this always happen to me? Why so much pain? The important thing, like the man in the TB sanitarium, he came to realize the experience was a process a tunnel that had light at both ends. Unfortunately, we let the negativity get ahold of us. We get into a dark experience. And, we think of it as the end of everything.
So often we say to ourselves, will I ever see light again. Will my problems ever end? Will I ever be able to go on to life a dynamic life? It’s because we’re so conscious of the dead-end street of the tunnel. The tunnel is a light, a light at both ends. Believe that. Put your perspectives to the open end of the tunnel and see the light and move toward it and through it.
And image you might even hold the tunnel up as a telescope, if you want to do something that’s really naïve. See the tomb, not as something that’s static, as a sad serious place of grief and hopelessness. See it as a telescope. Hold it up. Look through it. Through the light at both ends. From the light to the light.
See the light of the new healing, your demonstration of good. Overcoming your life. Think through this experience. Obviously that implies letting go to cross, letting go of the x marks the spot of the tragedies of your life. Or the things that have happened to you. Letting them all go. Seeing through this telescopic sight to the life of great good. The goal you seek, it’s not somewhere in the future of mystical experience. Mecca is here. Mecca is now.
The greatness of life is at hand within you. Waiting only on your willingness and commitment to open out a way once your imprisoned splendor may escape. Let me round out the whole experience, it started as we commenced. Keep in your heart, the green bow of expectancy. The vision of Jesus within you. And become one day to stay the singing bird.
Think to be still for a moment with me. The important part of this stillness is to turn your thoughts within yourself. I want us to experience something here that you’ve been doing at the latter part of our service through the months of this year. We call it the circle of light meditation. We’re going to do it now, instead of at the close of the hour.
First of all, I want you to entertain the simple image we talked of entropy and centropy. Entropy is best described and defined and pictured and found in the character of Al Capp’s comic strip Joe Btfsplk. Remember, this character had a dark cloud over his head. He spread entropy wherever he went. He spread gloom, negativity. I want you think of Joe Btfsplk, for a moment because he gives us something to contrast.
The concept of centropy is that which is renewing, unfolding, rising above, resurrecting. The universe is constantly expanding, growing outward. Our lives are on that same expanding course. And, contrasting that funny little character the cloud over his head, see yourself as a light radiating from you. Not only a light over your head with a light surrounding you. A circle of light.
Can you project yourself in consciousness through the tunnel experience of your human difficulties, to the light at the other end. Move through this experience. And, you no longer see the light you see from the light.
That’s the reality of the circle of light. The radius of light that streams out from you in all directions. You bring light wherever you go. In your imagery now see yourself rising out of the tunnel of confusion, of the darkness, with the crosses of human limitation behind you, set aside, moving forward in the light as the light.
To see yourself walking through your world today. See yourself walking through your home, with light radiating from you, touching the corner of every room and every person in the home. See yourself walking into your work, your place of business, and light radiating into every corner of your office, of your shop you’re outreaching business activities.
See yourself walking the streets of the city. The light of protection, peace and wholeness and love radiating from you, bringing newness to the life of the city.
See yourself walking through the halls of government, light streaming from you in all directions, touching the administrators, the politicians, the legislators, the executives, bringing harmony and adjustment, and order to all the affairs of our government. See yourself walking through the highways and the byways of this great nation. Bring light wherever you go. The light of hope, light of healing, light of overcoming. Light that touches into the heart of the addict, the alcoholic, the person involved in criminality, his light streaming all over. Touching all persons, wherever you go in consciousness, you bring this light and see yourself walking around the world, in all sides of every issue, all sides of internal disputes in nations, disputes between nations, see the light blessing, healing, bringing peace and protection to all persons everywhere.
See yourself walking through the parts of the world where there is an evidence of hunger, confusion in the distribution of goods. See this light reaching out, bringing hope, fulfillment, right adjustment and manifestation of fulfillment for all persons.
You see yourself settling once again in your comfortable, dynamic experience of life today, rejoicing in the realization, even a part of living resurrection, a channel for the expressions of the good coming forth to all the world. And, your life is made meaningful because of this consciousness. Rejoice in it. Give thanks for it. Mecca is here. Mecca is now.
So be it.
In the great celebration of peace: DONG! BONG! BONG! BONG!
The promise of peace and freedom on earth for all persons in persons beg you to come.
Said and felt that consciousness. Energy from that sense of oneness. You’re lucky to feel that with me, now. Let’s be still.
Your imagining faculty, we can do many great things. Just imagine now, we’re out of doors. We’re holding hands in great circle. Ever stop to think how big a circle this would be?
If 350 people made a circle, so far a cry you could hardly hear from one end to the other. Just imagine how big this circle would be if all of us held hands together in a circle.
And I’m going to take this bell and ring it gently and pass it on to the person next to us. Get the feeling of that bell. Tingling. As it goes around the circle. Eventually it comes to you. Take hold of the bell. Shake it, ding-a-ling, and pass it on to the one next to you. See it going around the circle. Get the sense of hearing way up in the distance, it’s the bell ringing across the circle. As you go around and around, passing on the bell. You’ve all had the chance to ring the bell. And to place our energy in the dynamics of the whole.
You want to see this circle as surrounding the whole Globe. This great blue planet, which we call Earth. The bell symbolizing the vibration of our consciousness, our faith in the ultimate peace of the world. Out of time. Not in space. But in consciousness.
Visualize, a sense of hearing great bells, like the bells of Westminster Abbey or some cathedral. Bong! Bong! Bong! The bell ringing joyously to celebrate this conscious of peace.
We see this peace. Not as the world giveth, as Jesus said, such as I have I give unto you, the peace of my consciousness. Peace of love, the peace of being centered in the still point. Peace that comes from what you have, what you’d like to have, but what you are. What you are is your gift to the universe. And you give what you have as the ding-a-ling of one bell. The vibration of your consciousness.
This peace, which passes all understanding, goes forth from this place today, surrounding all the world. And the world is just a little better, a little richer, a little finer, a little more stable because of what you are in this moment. Rejoice in that. Because if you give of yourself, you add much to the peace and stability of the world. If we look ahead to the decade of years, traveling around the circle, around the spiral, looking over the same experiences but on a higher level of consciousness, see something very beautiful and very positive, in consciousness.
See we’re constantly going through those moments that we call New Years, crossing threshold of 11:59 to 12:01. We’re always doing that. Move from moment to moment. Experience to experience. From day to day. From year to year. Moving on into the new decade and with faith, laying hold of the tremendous new vision. And, when we come to the end of this decade, to cross the threshold of the new millennium. Can your vision reach that far?
Remember the prescription. Rise up in a new sense of aspiration. New dedication. New discipline.
We will ever be in the midst of newness and freshness and peace as you keep your consciousness stayed on God. Praise God for this image. Praise God for a stirring up of faith within us. Behold and see: peace on earth and goodwill toward men. And you shall know the truth. And the truth shall make you free.
So be it.