The Yoke of Christ: Realizing the Light and Easy Burden_Featured_, Consciousness Saturday, September 22nd, 2012
Consciousness. Science fails to ascertain its origin. Religion places it in a box with a bearded old man in the sky. But there is the rare soul that learns to dive into it, to awaken to it. Since we are all different experiential expressions of the one and only consciousness (i.e., God), it behooves us to explore and experience the raw consciousness that we are. Today’s post will look at a famous saying from Jesus that I believe is an invitation to do just that.
The words from Jesus that we are going to look at today come from Matthew 11:29-30:
“Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my yoke is light.”
When I first read those words many years ago in church, I was comforted. I decided that I would heed those words for the rest of my life. I was going through a pretty stressful time. Even though I was thankful to have a job, it didn’t pay much and I knew it wasn’t something I wanted to do for very long. I was also going through a hard time emotionally. My girlfriend and I had split up months before because of our immaturity, but I knew she was the one. She eventually got to the point where she moved on and started dating again. This was hurtful, but I also knew I was in no condition to try and make things work for us. I had to sit back and wait. It seemed like my entire life was on hold. I was just waiting. Waiting for what? I had no idea. It was such a stressful time because inside (consciously) the wheels were spinning very fast, but my life was going nowhere. My mind was racing with thoughts all the time, but nothing in life seemed to be working out.
And then I looked down at those words from Jesus and they seemed to make so much sense. That was the answer! I just had to dedicate my life to Christ and he would work it out for me, right?
Eventually, the entire process became a little more confusing. If you view the story of Jesus’ life as literal, it seems anything but “light” and “easy.” He was beaten, tortured, hated, scorned, mocked, and eventually crucified! That was his mission, his destiny. Is this the “yoke” that Jesus was speaking of? If so, it didn’t seem very inviting, especially for a new Christian who was trying to understand the Jesus concept.
I decided to dig a little deeper. When I looked up the word “yoke” in the Greek, it meant “to join.” I then asked myself how I was supposed to “join” myself to Christ. I finally decided it must mean that I was supposed to join my spirit to his spirit. Was this a non-literal way of saying that we are all supposed to become a Christ? Isn’t the ultimate goal of the Christian to become like him, anyway?
Rick Warren states on a website, “From the very beginning, God’s plan has been to make you like his Son, Jesus.”
This is the belief of mainstream Christianity. But this can be a very confusing thing. From that same site comes a response from a viewer:
“Dear Rick Warren, Thank you for this message. I really want to be like Christ, but I don’t know how to be like him…”
This answer reveals a fundamental problem in the mainstream Christian mindset: the belief that Jesus is an individual being outside of us.
The Apostle Paul seems to understand that Christ is not an outside object to become like, but rather an internal process of transformation and a state of being.
The Apostle Paul states:
“My little children, until I travail in birth again until Christ be formed in you…” (Gal. 4:19)
If Christ is to be formed in us as a state of being, then the Christ is a potential nature which fundamentally exists inside each and every human being. In other words, the Christ nature is within the mind, and it doesn’t take a certain set of verbal affirmations, doctrines, or belief systems to manifest the Christ.
So how do we reveal this potential Christ nature within us? How do we manifest it?
Since leaving the traditional church, I’ve grown and matured. I now know that everyone has their problems and their failures. The true difference is in how we handle it. Some people are able to turn a potentially stressful and difficult situation into a stress-free opportunity. It’s an amazing gift that truly seems to be very rare, but I’ve been able to get glimpses of it the older I get.
It turns out that one of my original conclusions many years back about Jesus’ words were true: I had to join my spirit to his. I now know that by “spirit” I was subconsciously referring to consciousness. Consciousness, the biggest and most mysterious concept in the entire universe, IS GOD. And to take the yoke of Christ upon us is to become a CHRIST!
So what, exactly, is a Christ?
A Christ is someone who has sacrificed themselves. A Christ is someone who understands that all problems and negative situations in our experiences are created and labeled so by thought.
Thoughts arise from consciousness. They can create negativity. They can corrupt. Thoughts can also heal, and they can create positive outcomes. But consciousness itself is neither positive nor negative. It is simply that fundamental aspect of the universe which is infinite in nature and beyond time and space. But by becoming a Christ, we become that rare individual who dives into the depths of consciousness that releases us from the problems of this world. Becoming a Christ does not mean we won’t face challenging situations; it simply means that wherever you find yourself, there you are! And whatever situation you find yourself in is the condition and experience which you have created with your thoughts, so you must become conscious enough to choose a different pattern of thought if you want to change the outcome.
So how do this all relate to the scripture I mentioned at the beginning of this post? How do we take Jesus’ yoke upon us? A yoke where the burden is light and easy?
I think first we must understand exactly what the Biblical writer is talking about as Christ and the yoke. In order to “join” with Christ, we first have to realize that Christ is not someone or something “outside” of us. The Christ is a state of atonement, or at-one-ment with God, or consciousness itself. It is the state of being the observer (awareness) in each and every moment of life without resisting that moment. When we don’t direct energy (conscious thought) to judgment, we free up energy to choose life! Without resistance, there isn’t stress.
So to take the yoke of Christ upon you, where the burden is light, is to dive into consciousness itself and enjoy the ride without labels, judgments, or rigid beliefs. It is simply letting go of ourselves, of all the negativity and false concepts and beliefs we have picked up along this ride of life, and learning to consciously create a new experience with what we have been given. It’s exhibiting unconditional love to every aspect of creation.
As Jesus seemed to teach, when we ourselves are crucified, we can live more abundantly through HIM—that is, the Christ nature!
The more I learned to do this, the more I was able to make conscious choices. I now am married to the girlfriend that seemed to be slipping from my fingers. I now have two beautiful children with her. I also now have a different job that I have learned to enjoy almost every day. I say almost because I have slipped out of conscious living and backslid into negativity from time to time. I guess this means I am not “enlightened.” However, I prefer to see it as God reminding me that when I slip back into these undesirable states, I need to once again learn to live boldly, fearlessly, and with unconditional love towards every person and situation. And I know that the more I discipline my mind, the more conscious choices I will be able to make.
Thank you, Lord, for opening my eyes. I now know that to take your yoke upon me is to step back, take a deep breath, and dive into consciousness itself instead of the thought-generated life with all its problems and labels that consciousness can experience. I am then free to redirect, and choose something better!
How does all this knowledge help you?
Religion has taught us many wrong concepts about God and the Bible. Religion has taken us away from conscious living and into unconscious living. What do I mean by that? Anything that encourages us to look outside ourselves for happiness is vain. True contentment comes from within. It is manifested by the Christ nature. That is ultimately what Paul is referring to when he states that he travails until “Christ be formed in us.”
The only moment they have been given is “now.” If we can’t manifest a state of being that reflects peace and contentment now, we won’t be able to do it anywhere else in another time. Therefore, we must learn to cultivate it now. Discipline your mind. Become the observer of your thoughts. Realize the ego inside of you, and let the Christ nature rule over it. Take on the yoke of Christ!
Joshua Tilghman runs the blog, The Spirit of the Scripture, a site dedicated to unveiling the hidden meanings beneath the literal text of the Bible. The Spirit of the Scripture serves as a personal spiritual development tool to help you grow consciously through the Bible. You can visit his site at http://www.spiritofthescripture.com