Whoever Jesus may or may not have been historically, he symbolizes the spiritual mystery of each one of us. We are all divine being manifesting as human being. Jesus represents that radiance of divine being, that felt sense of eternity within us all. When we look back over the arc of our lives, from the time we were born to the present moment, each of us can touch upon that intuition that there’s something about us that is unchanged. Throughout all of the ups and downs and changes of life, something is now as it ever was. To touch upon this is to begin to experience eternity within.
Awakening to Our True Nature
Through the whole trajectory from birth to childhood to adolescence and then into adulthood, we change so much, not only physically but also emotionally and intellectually, yet something remains unchanged. That sense of something unchanged is the eternal spark within. At the beginning it may be felt as a very subtle, almost incomprehensible intuition, but when we bring our full attention to that felt intuition of what’s the same throughout our whole lives, then that little seed of divine radiance can begin to reveal itself, can begin to shine brighter and brighter in our lives.
I believe that the character and presence of Jesus has something very important to show us in this regard—that each one of us is the son or the daughter of God. As the great 14th century Catholic mystic Meister Eckhart said, “The Father gives birth to his Son without ceasing; and I say more: He gives birth to me, his Son and the same Son.”
That’s an extraordinarily bold statement, and bolder because he said it in the 14th century, when the church still had the power to burn you at the stake or to imprison you if you were found guilty of heresy. And yet Meister Eckhart had the courage to come forth and say that he and Christ are one and the same son. This is the perennial mystic revelation of awakening to our true nature, at one with the divine. When we begin to embody in a deep way the spirit of Jesus we find in the story, then we might begin to feel and sense and experience ourselves becoming that presence, and know that presence is actually something that lives within ourselves. The Jesus story is a means of activating the living presence of our being, so that we realize that each one of us is a son or daughter of the living God.
The Light Within Us All
In the Gnostic Gospel of Thomas, Jesus says, “There is light within a man of light, and he lights up the whole world.” That light within us all is that which you intuit when you sense that something about you has remained unchanging throughout all the days of your life. If you put your attention on it, if you meditate upon it in stillness, it can open up and reveal that indeed it is the divine light, that which lights up the whole world. In fact, the more awake we become to our own divinity, the more we feel revitalized by a living presence, by that which reveals that life is sacred. Human life is sacred; all of life is sacred.
Jesus concludes that passage in the Gospel of Thomas by saying, “If he does not shine, he is darkness.” That’s the challenge. That’s the Jesus who tells it to us straight, who doesn’t water down the message. Either we are in light or we are in darkness. That’s a teaching meant to shake us from our slumber. In order to come into our full potential and to embody the truth and radiance of what we are, we must come vitally alive; we must lean once again into presence; we must pour ourselves forth into life, instead of trying to escape life and avoid its challenges. Then our lives themselves become expressions of love, of overflow, because we have compassionately given ourselves to life, to our incarnation, as a means to redeem it—to bring everything home, back to its source, to the eternal radiance within each and every one of us.
Excerpted from Resurrecting Jesus by Adyashanti. Copyright © 2014 by Adyashanti.