What if Jesus was just human?
First time I started asking this question I was a brand new yoga teacher at the bottom of the totem pole at this power Vinyasa yoga studio. They barely let me sub because I taught differently and it was never “enough“ to meet their expectations.
It was this exact week of the year and no other teacher was volunteering to teach on Christmas Eve. There’s only one class that day, so it’s generally full and I knew it was going to be. I was new, and I was not trusted to do what people would expect. I wanted to do this job so that I could blend in and start earning a better reputation.
Well… A tiger can’t change his stripes. It was the day before Christmas Eve and I was thinking what kind of message i could I begin the practice with. I’m not religious and my opinion is that Christmas is an altogether funny holiday sooo i really didn’t have anything to go off of.
I thought about the point of Christmas: to celebrate the birth of Jesus. Then I thought, OK well who is Jesus? He’s a human. He lived a long time ago. He thought differently than a lot of people. He was loving, compassionate and accepting. He was called to serve humankind. He was called to share what he experienced, what was true to him. He had no choice but to stand in the face of powerful opposition to deliver his messages. He was loved. He was hated. He was adored, but he was also feared. He stirred the pot. Stood firm on his own two feet. He did not fear death. He did not fear truth. His life is the story we share. His story is one possibility for a human life. His story is not so different from mine. His story is not so different from yours.
I realized that even though I did not find myself religious, or a believer in the god that was personified in the Bible, I believe in the power of one human when he is fully connected to the source of his consciousness. I believe there is some truth behind the outrageous stories of miracles. I also believe the stories have been elaborated upon to make sure they were heard and shared.
I believe one single person can impact millions without even needing social media to do it. I believe we are all faced with the hero’s journey and that Jesus‘s story was one possible outcome as we all face our own life-long path to freedom.
So, I had this thought about who Jesus was and I felt good about what i was thinking. I went in to teach this Christmas Eve class with this simple idea that Jesus was just a man—one possible man. I got everyone set up in child’s pose. I asked them if among the holiday chaos they remembered what this day is in celebration of. I explained how this day is to celebrate the birth of a human. And then I asked, what if Jesus was just a man and nothing more. What if it’s less important to worship him and more important to learn the power of one man’s story, one man’s existence, one man’s example.
Regardless of how clever I thought I was in my new understanding of who Jesus is, this room full of mostly Catholic, very Catholic, wealthy women did not see the beautiful image I had painted in my head prior to speaking those words at the beginning of their Christmas Eve yoga class.
I proceeded to explain how we sit on the same pedestal as Jesus because Jesus was just a man. That we have the same powers that he did. That he is not more special than we are, because he is our equal. He is no more magical, no more able or capable than we are right now. We should be celebrating ourselves!
In my mind, I’m blowing their minds with this new idea. In their mind, I am seriously insulting their faith. I said a few more things about creating power in your life and how this day should represent the impact of one possible human. Let him motivate us to live our own highest visions of what is possible. And ended with something about how dumb Santa and presents are as if we need an excuse for family get together‘s to connect and lift each other up.
How I am explaining it to you now, is nothing like the words that came out of my mouth that day. They were simpler, nondescript and incomplete. These people did not have the backstory full of exploration that went on in my head. All they had was one hot power Vinyasa class on this day and this was it.
We moved on from there. The rest of the class went ok. I didn’t feel like i proved a damn thing. And at the end, people just quietly left without saying a word to me.
Not long after class was over I received a call from the furious owner of the studio asking what the hell I had said to offend so many people. I said I talked about how Jesus was just a human and how we don’t have to put him on a pedestal because we can attain the same power in our lives to become his equal. She’s all “what?!” Our community is very serious about their faith. You can’t just go and say things like that, it’s offensive.” She knew it was an innocent fuck up, but needless to say she did not allow me to sub power for over a year after that 😆
Merry Christmas and don’t forget what tomorrow is really about — Santa and presents and eating like a glutton. See y’all on the other side.