In October of 2015 my husband, Gyandev, and I led a pilgrimage to Israel. I had grown up in Israel as a Jew. Now, I hoped to see Israel with a new consciousness that embraced all sincere truth seekers.
Before the pilgrimage, we watched the movie, Jesus of Nazareth, to help us tune into the spirit of Jesus Christ and the era in which he lived. I read from the Bible and the New Testament, and listened to Swami Kriyananda’s Oratorio.
What helped me most was reading from The Essence of the Bhagavad Gita, by Swami Kriyananda. He explains how we can tune into those who lived long ago:
“Paramhansa Yogananda could commune instantly—for time in God is one—with people who lived thousands of years ago. Every person can achieve comparable feats, though he acts from a lower level of realization.
“Try it: Withdraw deeply to your own center; then think of someone who lived long ago, and focus your mind at his center. You will see that, from your center to his, a connection forms as if your two islands, seemingly separated by ocean water, were connected more deeply by the earth underneath. Everyone who is not you is simply your own deeper Self, manifested differently, in a different form, and even at different times.”
I tried this exercise with Jesus Christ and added a visualization in which I saw myself walking with Jesus in the streets of old Jerusalem. Practicing this exercise and visualization filled me with joy.
When we visited Jerusalem, we all felt the special vibrations of Christ that permeate this holy city.
After visiting Jerusalem, Yogananda wrote this letter to his students and friends:
“Jesus has been gone a long time, but Christ is still tangibly active in Jerusalem. He was with me everywhere, and I remembered all devotees in Him. I saw Bethlehem, where Jesus was born, the mountain where He was tempted by Satan, the house of Mary and Martha, the tomb of Lazarus, the place of the Resurrection, hall of the Last Supper, Gethsemane, where Judas betrayed Jesus, and, above all, the Mount of Olives, where He was received up into Heaven.
“Jesus, invisible, was with me always in Jerusalem and went with me everywhere. It is too sacred to express. Sometime I shall write about it. Antiquity was unfolded before my eyes—as depicted in the divine drama. I was overwhelmed. May you all meditate so deeply that you will really behold Jesus yourself.”
I came to realize that we go on pilgrimage within our own heart, wherever we are. To feel and experience the spirit of Christ, we can attune to him inwardly in this moment.
Through deep prayer and meditation, we can invoke the presence of Christ and connect with His spirit.