Back in the late 60's, the decade, not my age, I looked like Jesus often is depicted.
This photo was taken (unposed, I should add) by a friend who had sponsored a gathering where I led a group in some yoga postures and meditation. Not exactly Christian, though my yoga teacher called his ashram "Christananda."
Anyway, I share this information to establish an admittedly tenuous relationship between (1) the Christian celebration of Easter tomorrow, which marks Jesus' resurrection from the dead three days after his crucifixion, and (2) my recent celebration of a benign skin biopsy test, the "good news" of which came three days after a dermatology check-up.
Read all about it in a post on my other blog, "Skin biopsy unleashes my inner anxious Woody Allen."
Coincidence? Perhaps. But maybe not.
If I believed in reincarnation (I don't), then it would be easy for me to imagine that I am worthy of worship as a Christ figure whose earthly mission this time around is to overturn the money changers of religion, so to speak, having evolved beyond the spiritual dogmatism of my earlier Jesus incarnation.
The main thing I learned from the skin biopsy experience, where, while waiting for the test results, I was halfway convinced that I had malignant melanoma, is that the prospect of death (even if imaginary) is a marvelous method of focusing one's attention on what really matters.
In short, life.
I'm finding that stuff which bothered me prior to the biopsy doesn't seem like such a big deal anymore. Visualizing the prospect of my impending demise (others do the same thing while waiting for test results) put things in perspective.
Problems, what problems? Compared to the Really Bad Shit I'd envisioned coming my way, whatever life throws at me now won't seem so bad.
Of course, we never know -- one of the points I made in my blog post about the biopsy.
There were moments, though, when I actually felt grateful for the biopsy.
It felt like a wake-up call. Doesn't seem like I'd need a Death Reminder at the age of 64, but as I went on dog walks, mowed the lawn, and did my usual daily stuff, I was struck by how special each and every experience would be if I knew that I wasn't going to be able to do these things for much longer.
Then, in about the closest my unenlightened mind will ever get to a Zen'ish satori, I'd suddenly realize: Hey, you idiot! Every fucking day of your life you should realize that one day you're not going to be able to live much longer!
Meaning, a biopsy with its "you could die soon" potential message is obvious. It grabbed my attention. Yet all around me are other warning signs of a possible impending demise.
Like driving in my car, because serious accidents happen. Like walking along the sidewalk beside a brick building, because strong earthquakes happen (especially here in the Pacific Northwest). I just don't pay much attention to the ever-present risks of dying until something stark like a biopsy comes along.
I ended that post with:
If there's anything I learned this week, it's to live FREAKING NOW.
And that includes living NICELY NOW.
Here's a nice short video about being nice that someone on my Facebook feed shared today. I liked it. Could have done without the Matthew verse at the end, though, becasue niceness has nothing to do with religion.
[Update: Jim left a comment saying that back in the 60's I looked like the Jesus on a Jehovah's Witnesses flyer. My reply: Hey, I looked MORE like Jesus than Jesus did, having had longer hair and beard. Here's how the fake JW Jesus looks.]