Celebrating the Journey to Freedom

Journey to freedom

Throughout the ages and across every tradition, there are symbols and metaphors for the journey we all take from bondage to liberation.

We can look at that journey as the rising of kundalini from the first chakra at the base of the spine, where our concern is basic survival of the individual self, up through the crown of the head, the seventh chakra where we merge back into Oneness with All That Is. We can see it as the Hero’s Journey, the Arthurian quest of the Knights of the Round Table, the story of Demeter getting free of her imprisonment in the Earth, Osiris rising from the dead, the climb to the mountaintop.

In two of the main Western religions, Christianity and Judaism, their liberation journey stories take place in the spring, when life is renewing itself after the dead cold of winter.

At sundown on Monday, April 18th, the first night of Passover is celebrated with a “Seder”—that classic Jewish meal centered around the biblical story of Moses leading the Hebrews out of slavery to the Pharaoh in Egypt. The book that is used during the meal, the Haggadah, exhorts everyone at the table to look at the story of liberation as more than just a tale of what happened way back then, but as a personal experience—the way that you, too, are being led to your own liberation.

The main ritual question of the night is asked by the children at the table: Why is this night different from all other nights? And the answer is “Because we were slaves” and this is what G-d did for us: from the Angel of Death passing over our homes to the waters parting in the Red Sea to let our people go.

We are, indeed, all slaves to our egos, to our antiquated beliefs, to the relentless tyranny of our minds, to the destructive emotions we harbor. Now imagine having the power of Moses to open a clear-cut path through the obstacles that block your escape from slavery so eventually you, too, can get to the Promised Land. The power wielded by Moses sprang from his deep connection to God, to Source. Although it may take 40 years of wandering in the desert, and the testing of faith when confronted with a seductive Golden Calf or two along the way, the path to liberation—for an individual or a people or a civilization—is through connection to Source.

The end of this week brings us to the Last Supper celebrated by Jesus and his disciples, undoubtedly also a Passover Seder, that set into motion the events of Good Friday, leading to the Passion of Christ and the resurrection—another perfect metaphor for the journey to freedom from bondage. We all carry our crosses, bear the burdens of human suffering. We all seek resurrection into the Light.

It pains me that differences in religions have been used to divide people, when at their heart, all religions are based on the same mystic journey from bondage to liberation. Let’s dedicate this week to celebrating that journey of evolution of consciousness. As we gather together in rituals around the table at home or in places of worship, let us remember and reflect upon how far we have come, and acknowledge that we’re all walking the same road to redemption.