Mystical Practice with the Risen Jesus
With our recent emphasis on practice, let’s take the opportunity this Easter to focus on how we can personally practice resurrection and experience Jesus in our lives today. Let us receive the love and energy of the resurrected Jesus who is with us in the here and now. Let us step contemplatively into the engaged reality of life beyond death.
How do we do this?
Here are several practices that might help you connect more deeply with Jesus and experience resurrection.
While in meditation or prayer, after coming to a place of stillness in mind and heart, allow yourself to imagine Jesus as a presence near you. Sometimes people experience this presence over their shoulder, on their arm, to the side, or in front. You don’t have to see him, just sense his presence. Ask Jesus if he is there with you. What do you hear?
This might take a little practice, especially if you have any barriers to overcome. After a short time, whether you consciously sense him or not, let yourself stop looking. Accept his presence as real and not ultimately dependent on your perception. As you do, receive his loving gaze. Know that Jesus is actually looking at you. He hears you breathe. He listens to you. Know that you don’t have to give anything back. Perhaps there are words Jesus is wanting to speak to you as well. Receive them. Don’t question their reality. Allow. What other feelings arise?
Allow yourself to stay in his presence as long as you need, resting in the loving acceptance of the gaze of Jesus.
The Body of Christ
Through the resurrection and ascension, the creative power and presence of Jesus was disseminated across time and space, available to any and all who would seek him. There is a collective nature to this reality. The Christ lives and breathes “where two or more are gathered.” While there is a reality to the presence of Jesus experienced personally in subtle consciousness in prayer and meditation, gathering with others in the intention of meeting Jesus can intensify our awareness and experience of his presence because of the shared spiritual energy of the group.
The Integral Christian Network seeks to cultivate this fabric. In WeSpace groups, we intentionally seek to cultivate 2nd person practice with one another, God as a motherly/fatherly presence, spiritual guides, and the risen presence of Jesus.
Some of us, in the process of growing up through stages of faith, lost our personal connection with Jesus because of the baggage or triggers from previous wounds and abuses. For myself, even though I knew that Jesus never left me, I had trouble connecting with him again after a necessary period of differentiation. The negative associations from mischaracterizations of the past just seemed too strong. It was the experience of sharing in the presence of Jesus with others in a more evolved way that released me to welcome a personal Jesus again into my spiritual life. In this way, Jesus was resurrected again in me.
Death as Growth
Sometimes Easter arrives on the calendar but we are not there personally. Perhaps you are in the midst of a dark night. Perhaps you are still in the tomb. Perhaps you just can’t rally yourself to celebrate resurrection when you yourself are still in the throes of death. That’s ok. We are not beholden to the calendar.
A practice that can help us in this place is that of embracing death. Most of us don’t want to do that, but resurrection teaches us that death is a pathway to life. Growth most often comes through great loss.
While we might know this cognitively, that doesn’t always help in the midst of the experience of darkness and death. But Jesus has walked through that. He can help us. He knows what it is like. Can you sense his presence with you still even in the darkness? If even just a faint glimmer?
Allow yourself to rest in the dark. Ask for Jesus to be there with you. You may not feel him as strongly as previous times in your life, or perhaps even at all with your senses. Name his presence. If it comes, allow for guidance from the one who has been through death and resurrection. If it is not time for that, receive comfort in his silent presence, even if you can’t feel it.
Hopefully at least one of these practices can help you experience the presence of the risen Jesus in your life today. On this Easter, let us practice our own resurrection with the risen Jesus!