Jesus’ last words on the cross before he died were, “Into your hands I commend my Spirit.” These eloquent words are ones we often marvel at, wonder about, or wish we could imitate.
But, my guess is Jesus wasn’t mouthing these words as an intellectual concept. He wasn’t quoting Jewish scripture to make the last scene of his life a great Broadway script so we could reflect on it at the annual Easter play.
Rather, Jesus directly experienced these words in his mind, body, and spirit. They expressed the love pouring in and out of his heart. His humanity connected deeply with the Divinity of the Father. And he pointed us to the pathway of how we too can join our human lives with Divine Power.
If you think about the cross, notice there are two dimensions to it.
There’s the horizontal plank, which symbolizes our humanity. We interact with other people and events in the ordinary experience of day-to-day life. We go about our tasks as we practice being human.
There’s also the vertical plank, which represents the Divine. The cross’ upright log invites us to a deeper dimension of being. It reaches upward toward the sky as it points to an aspect of life beyond our intellectual grasp. It’s the supercharged link with the Divine Flow that fills us with Wisdom, Guidance, and Compassion for ourselves and others.
When the two wooden beams of the cross—the human and divine—intersect in the middle, they fit snugly like pieces of a jigsaw puzzle. They complete the puzzle of our lives.
Perhaps Jesus’s words, “Into your hands I commend my Spirit,” were his way of fitting his human experience of writhing in pain on the cross with his need for the Father to reach into his heart and fill him with Divine Power, so God’s unconditional love would prevail.
Jesus wasn’t waving a surrender flag with his words. Rather, he recognized he couldn’t suffer through his human experience without Divine Power. He commended his Spirit to God asking his Father to fill him with courage and power so he could love unconditionally. And he invites us to follow his example, so we too can fit together the human and divine planks of our lives.
So, how do we do it? How do we connect our human spirits with the Divine?
The Buddhist tradition reminds us that it’s a practice. We don’t always get it right, but through daily awareness and by adopting new life-giving habits, we integrate our human and divine experiences.
Some practical ways might be to begin the morning with quiet meditation as Jesus did. In solitude, we bring our human hearts to God and ask him to unite his Divine power and wisdom with our lives. We create space for God, so he can touch and inspire our human hearts. We tap into the well of Divine Power.
We can also talk with and listen to God throughout the day. Two days ago, a friend sent me a nasty email. I seethed with anger. Typically, my human spirit would have instantly shot back an equally nasty email—and the cyberspace war would have begun.
Instead, I looked up to the sky and lamented out loud to God, shouting, “My friend makes me so mad!” as I slammed my car door. And then, my Divine Spirit clicked in as I asked, “God, how should I respond?”
Eventually, I sensed the familiar whisper in my heart inviting me to be patient and give my friend a phone call instead of a nastygram. Trusting it was the Divine Spirit guiding my heart, I said a help-me-God prayer and called my friend. Over the phone we worked through the issues, got to a deeper understanding, and both of us grew—as did our relationship.
Another way to connect with the Divine is to use a mantra to pull ourselves back to an awareness of the Present Moment. We might use a simple phrase such as “I commend my Spirit to love” or “Breathing in, I connect my mind, body, and Spirit. Breathing out, I know the Spirit lives in me.”
Whatever words we choose, using a mantra to reconnect with our Spirits is a time-tested way of allowing the wooden logs of our human and Divine experiences to cross so we can live in the power of unconditional love.
You can also place your index fingers next to each other in the form of a cross. This simple act reminds us it’s the intersection of the human and divine parts of our being that make us whole.
Try one of the above practices for the next seven days. See if you experience deeper wholeness and balance as you intentionally connect your human spirit with the Divine.
—brian j plachta