#47 Living into a New Consciousness
The Holy Thursday Revolution
by Beatrice Bruteau
Helene O’Sullivan, MM, has done a précis of this insightful book, and we share here a few excerpts from Part I, Chapter 3.
The revolution comes when we break through the ordinary mode of seeing and overturn our structures of consciousness from the ground up. This is metanoia, which, if we do it thoroughly, opens us to the reign of God. The reign of God is always at hand; it wants only this fundamental shift in the sense of self to bring it into full reality.
When my sense of self shifts, everything else shifts too: the world, God, destiny, meaning, value, duty and desire. If in some way, the sense of being a deficient self could be changed, the entire world would have to reorganize itself. When we are transcending our social description, the self cannot be deficient in being, cannot be isolated in being. Therefore the self need not be anxious or defensive or greedy or envious, much less destructive or dominating or submissive. The self will not be an island, but a person-community-process.
A Story of Jesus’ Ministry and Holy Thursday
There has been interest lately in “the historical Jesus.” In the Gospels there are a few key stories that pertain to three main topics: the baptismal vision, the social expression of Jesus and the Suppers. The Suppers are part of the social expression and the expression follows from the vision.
Let us start with the social expression. If we had only the following stories about Jesus, we would know what he was about: his interaction with women, with lepers, and with tax collectors. If you consider yourself a ritually pure Jewish male, yet you are willing to interact socially with these three classes as if they were your peers, you show yourself as someone in whom a profound transformation has taken place.
One spoke with women as little as possible. Tax collectors were traitors. Lepers could not live in town and all sorts of diseased and disabled people were considered to be cursed by God. They were rejected by the pure and righteous and experienced themselves as social orphans and outcasts. Hanging over the whole society was the fact that God had allowed the nation to be subjugated by the Romans, so perhaps the whole people was being rejected and punished. But Jesus had a different interpretation, a different vision.
The Baptismal Vision of Jesus: Jesus’ Transformation
To understand Jesus’ transformation, we need to delve into his baptismal vision. John the Baptist was preaching that God would soon come to rescue the people and that the people must prepare. John was offering a baptism of repentance: turn back to God and to full compliance with the Torah.
Jesus, identifying with all the distresses of the people, the diseased, the socially deprived and the nationally defeated, asks for baptism from John. Emerging from the water, he finds that heaven has opened to him and he hears the Voice of God:
“You are my beloved one, in whom I am delighted!”
This was not really “new.” Jews had considered themselves belonging to God for centuries (Deut. 14:1). But this story of Jesus’ baptism shows how this mighty truth has to come home to each individual as though heard for the first time with all its stunning power.
In the story, Jesus is stunned by it. He runs away from the river out into the wilderness and stays there a long time, forgetting to eat, just living in the resonance of this Word, receiving, assimilating, and taking in the full meaning of what was said. At some point he began to draw conclusions from it. “If you are the beloved of God…”
The First Conclusion:
You have to hear deeply to realize that this conclusion is necessary; that this Word is spoken not to Jesus of Nazareth individually, but to him as “Adam and Eve,” as all humanity, as one who is able to hear the message in all its immensity and not reduce it to something personal, provincial and exclusive. All people are truly the beloved of God. Take it seriously; take it literally. Think what this means!
The Second Conclusion:
Being the beloved of God means that in this respect, on the level of our reality – the deepest and truest level – we are all equal. There are no exceptions, no modifications. In our class-structured society, we need to deeply ponder this belief!
The Third Conclusion:
We are obliged to honor one another as equal people of God. We must recognize and acknowledge and respect one another. This is not an ideal held so far out in front that we will never reach it. This is a present obligation. It underlies all neighbor-directed behavior and is akin to honoring God.
The Fourth Conclusion:
On the practical level this means that we need to share our lives with one another. Looking again at the social expression of Jesus, we note that the stories of healing and serving, of lifting up the outcasts and welcoming and showing equal respect to all, amazed those who observed Jesus.
The most important thing about the baptismal vision of Jesus is that, if we are to follow Jesus and contribute to bringing the revolution to fruition, we need to experience the vision as deeply as possible. All the rest ~ the social program, the Suppers, everything depends on really receiving that vision, really hearing that Voice speaking to me.
We have to be careful not to pass lightly over “everyone else” in some abstract way, and we have to take care not to lose “me” in “everyone,” because there is usually a temptation to let that turn into “everybody except me.”
Meditation for Transformation
In order to engage the Communion Paradigm Shift, we live out of this meditation by letting our own “heaven open” and welcoming the Spirit of God in ourselves, which is an exercise not in striving or struggling but in relaxation.
We saw already that our troubles are caused by identifying with our social descriptions and trying to acquire value for these by reducing the value of other people.
So take away your identification with the social descriptions, with the labels. Give up limiting yourself to being what the label says. Just be you, being you, without being what the label says.
Remember that our God brings new life out of the constricted places, out of bondage. Recognize being tied to your social descriptions. Allow them to be released, one by one, until you can genuinely feel yourself being you, without being the label. We need to trust in God accompanying us in this process.
This is the way your consciousness, your “heaven opens!” It is also a way of understanding yourself as the beloved of God, for God has no labels, no name.
Then listen to the Voice. Do not think about it, just listen to the Voice. “You are my beloved one,” the Voice says, and also, “I am delighted with YOU!” Hear that, stay with that, sigh and relax with that. Do not let yourself introduce reasons why it should not be so.
The Voice does not make conditions or exceptions. It is an absolute assertion of loving you and being pleased with you and claiming you as intimate family.
Repeat the meditation every chance you have. Remember it in between times.
Live with this belief!
Live from it.
In your interactions
with other people,
let your heart lead
and do the generous thing
to help others
feel accepted and affirmed.
This will tend to free them from being preoccupied with their own needs
and social descriptions and
will open them to their heaven
and to other people.