Hot Cross Buns
Happy Easter everyone!
Yesterday, in honor of Good Friday, my wife baked some awesome Hot Cross Buns. They were, it has to be said, delicious. Sadly you couldn't share them with us.
In England everyone eats Hot Cross Buns on Good Friday, it's just one of the things that we do. The history of them is deep and quite intriguing. For instance, did you know that they were once banned? Yes, the sale of Hot Cross Buns was actually made illegal by Queen Elizabeth I - but then she did do some strange things.
Traditions like this can be fun and useful - they provide us with regular reminders of what is being celebrated - even if sometimes the meaning behind them is hidden or lost.
Easter is a strange holiday in our culture, as for most the meaning lies somewhere between (a) the commemoration of the death and resurrection of Christ and (b) chocolate. Looking around the stores it seems like chocolate has won.
Part of the strangeness of the holiday is due to the fact that roots of the holiday are in the celebration of the goddess Ēostre (or Ôstara) at the Spring Equinox. The ancient celebrations with their emphasis on fertility and rebirth mixed in with the Christian Paschal month to give us the holiday we now know. So the bunnies and eggs speak to fertility and new starts while the crosses recall death, resurrection and hope. While the juxtaposition may be a little startling at first there is some rhyme to it.
For me, this is the time of the year that I like to focus on the concept of 'beginning again.' I think this season is an excellent opportunity to revisit this fundamental part of our practice. I really like the way teacher Sharon Salzberg puts it:
"The critical element in meditation practice is beginning again. Everyone loses focus at times, everyone loses interest at times, and everyone gets distracted over and over again. What is essential, and also incredibly transforming, is realizing that we have the ability to begin again, without blaming or judging ourselves, without thinking we have failed, without losing heart, we can, and need to, constantly be beginning again."
And, in the spirit of beginning again, this isn't the first time I have written about this - you can find similar messages here, here and here.
But that's the point, isn't it?
Wishing you all a wonderful Easter,
The audio link below is for a fully guided meditation on beginning
again. You can of course listen to it at any time, but a group of us
have committed to press 'play' together at 7pm PT on Easter Sunday, 4th April. You are welcome to join us if you wish.
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