“So they took Jesus, and he went out, bearing his own cross, to the place called the place of a skull, which is called in Hebrew Gol’gotha. There they crucified him, and with him two others, one on either side, and Jesus between them.” Jn 19:17-18
In some ways it seems odd that Jesus had to carry his own cross. In fact, we could even wonder how heavy it was and if he had the strength to carry it up a hill, especially after he was knocked around by the scourging and slapping. The other gospels say that Simon of Cyrene was ordered to carry the cross but John doesn’t mention this. John is revealing something here of our own initiation.
This cross really represents our own body to which, as beings of soul and spirit, we are ‘nailed’. We have to carry it wherever we go while we are awake and only when we lay it in our bed at night can our soul and spirit escape it.
The place of the skull, kranion, is the place that can represent our mind, that place where we can become aware of our thoughts. At night when we go to sleep it is our thoughts that die. If we continue to think when we lie in our bed we cannot get to sleep, we cannot disconnect from our body. This gives us an idea of the strength of our thoughts, yet there is much more to discover through the use of the powerful ability to think.
Through our ability to think we can experience the difference between our body, soul and spirit. As we try to work through this it can be helpful to assign the faculties of thinking, feeling and willing to these three. Our body is the domain of our will or actions, our soul is the domain of our feelings and our spirit is the domain of thinking. By contemplating these associations we can become more aware of the different parts of our being that are at play in our daily activities. My book I Connecting : The Soul’s Quests explains this very clearly.
Then we can apply these ideas to the scene that John describes here. It is as if we have to fight our way through the image of the crucifixion. If we only engage with our feelings we get caught up in the image of the bleeding and battered body. We might even get caught up in a religiosity that clouds the cosmic purpose of this deed. If we only engage with our will we get stuck on the logistical actions of the event. If we use our thinking to balance feeling and will we will have an inner realisation of the true purpose of crucifixion in our lives.
Our task is to become aware of our entire being, and when we do, our body will crucified, in other words, it will no longer hold the prominent position that it does by eclipsing our soul and spirit in everyday life.