Though I am not of the Jewish tradition, I have been attending Passover Seders for many, many years. While I have shared the table with some families that prefer to skip rapidly through the Exodus just to get to the brisket, I have also had the pleasure of being with groups for whom the tradition and symbols are supremely sacred and important. Donald and I have enjoyed the company and hospitality of the same families Seder for the past five years, and they are definitely in the category of the latter. The story of Moses, the Israelites, the visiting of the plagues, the miraculous parting of the Red Sea, the struggles in the desert and the long awaited Promise Land are all precious elements of this ancient yet relevant festival. And just as important in this home are the family lineage and the heritage of being born Jewish. And yet I felt so completely welcomed into this beautiful family feast, not only by those around the table but also by those who had long gone before but were oh so very present.
As I prepared in my consciousness for attending last evenings Seder celebration I asked into my Guidance for the message I needed to glean from this now so familiar tale. The answer came rapidly and without ambiguity. While the answer wasn’t comfortable it did contain a message of potential and perhaps even inevitable liberation.
The message of the Passover story is a profound message of freedom and of liberation. It is the story of being released of the tyranny of outer domination and oppression. It is a tale of the end of slavery and the beginning of liberty. While the traditional story tells how G_d freed the Israelites from the enslavement of the Egyptians the message for me is one of continued personal slavery to past fearful perceptions and erroneous self images. Egypt metaphysically represents the bondage that occurs when we are identified with ego misperceptions and emotionally imprinted wounds that obscure the experience of what we are in Truth. These misperceptions lead us to repeated emotional “plagues;” forms of suffering that often appear to be coming at us from without but are really being generated and mirrored back from within. The plagues of grief, rage, resentment, shame, isolation, resistance, self-rejection, disconnection, attachment-aversion, and control-manipulation are re-visited again and again until we have the capacity to both own and surrender that these are chains with which we have unintentionally bound ourselves. Freedom is an internal matter. Liberty is in coming to know that we are beings of free will, and that we are in fact bound because we are free. Slavery and freedom are states of consciousness. We are often as stubborn as were the Egyptians at enduring the pains of the plagues that are seemingly brought upon us. We will suffer and suffer and still not release the bondage of the painful stories we tell. And so we continue to wander in the desert of our own unconsciousness, until we are willing to come to believe that there is in fact a better way.
And so the beginning of our personal exodus is the same for us as it was for the Israelites of long ago. If we continue to rely on our personality selves we will remain enslaved. The chains of our misperceptions will continue to keep us bound in the same old limiting tales. We will continue to wander aimlessly in the desert of our own erroneous ideas. When we finally become willing to be free and to be freed, the miraculous begins to have Its way with us. This will not include a Divine dispensing of plagues upon those we believe have wronged us. There will be no oceanic swallowing up of the leagues of those we have judged, resented, and blamed for our misery. Our freedom is partly dependent on our own decision to allow others to be free. We must reclaim our projections and unravel our resentments. Internal freedom is never reliant on the other. Our liberation is about our own forgiveness and its subsequent deliverance. It is about surrendering completely and relying totally on our Source, and listening and following that and only that Guidance. It will always lead us to the recognition that we have always been free, no matter how enslaved we have believed ourselves to be.
My Passover message is about really letting the past be over. It is about relinquishing the internal bondage of whom I thought I was and what I thought was holding me in chains. Freedom is mine when I finally allow myself to be freed. In a prayerful moment of awakened awareness, I am out of Egypt and in the Promise Land of my own open, radiant heart-light. I am no longer a prisoner of my own misperception. I am free. And that is the best celebration of them all.