Why Easter can teach us a lesson in Yoga (and video games)
This is my latest post for the True Yoga Collective. Read more on www.trueyogacollective.com
It’s Easter! That wonderful day kids sit around scoffing ridiculous amounts of chocolate and playing video games, and we all, well, sit around scoffing ridiculous amounts of chocolate (it’s ORGANIC, Fairtrade – it’s totally fine!).
Today is also the day many people are celebrating the resurrection of Jesus Christ. It may be stating the obvious but the original meaning behind Easter is so buried under the layers of our commercialised culture these days that it seems worth calling out!
The yogic view of life often feels a million miles away from stuffy old Christianity. Ours is a mindset that embraces living in the moment and a sense of freedom, prioritising building connections with others and the world. The contrast could not be greater to the idea of being bound by fear of heaven and hell, answerable to a historically corrupt institution or some notion of an older male figure who will judge us one day.
But there is something in the story of Easter that reflects a powerful idea in yoga. It’s a question of how much perspective you have on things. And it’s a question of – dare I even say it – faith.
It was no surprise to Jesus that he would die on the cross in servitude to others and be reborn:
“Beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he explained to them what was said in all the Scriptures concerning himself…. ‘This is what is written: The Christ will suffer and rise from the dead on the third day’” (Luke 24:26-27, 46).
Having faith that you will be reborn is a powerful thing. To truly believe that this one lifetime you’re living now is just a drop in the ocean; that it’s ok, you’ll get a second chance, releases you to make decisions differently.
Did you ever play Super Mario on Easter day? Imagine if you could only play Mario once. Ever. And the fate of your soul (or at your legacy) depended on it. No pressure, then. The way you would play that one game would be very different to if you know you had as much time as you wanted to really ace the game. You’d be more cautious, for sure. You wouldn’t experiment or learn as much, and ultimately, you’d get it wrong because the game requires failure in order to learn how to do it!
A spiritual Yogi would say that’s exactly the pressure we’re putting ourselves under needlessly. The concept of reincarnation (resurrection of the soul a la Jesus, albeit in a different body) is central to yogic thought. The belief is that this is just one lifetime, a drop in the ocean of lifetimes we have – we have as long as we need to ‘ace the game’, as it were – which in the yogic view is liberation of the soul into pure blissful consciousness. Way more bliss, I would expect, even than defeating King Bowser.
Who knows? All any of us can do is speculate. However, if what the Yogis say is right and some of the pressure’s off this lifetime, well, then that can free us to stop worrying so much about ourselves and live a little more in servitude to others. Jesus would approve for sure.