The Heart of Christmas

The advantage of making a What If post in which you say your final words just in case you croak is that you never have to do it again unless there’s a revision you’re just dying to make.  ‘Scuse the pun.

With that task done (see previous post if you’re new here), it’s time now for an uplifting Christmas message!

As many of you know, at this time last year I was living in a remote area of northern India at the foothills of the Himalayas.

Image

The nearest village was accessible in twenty minutes by way of narrow stone and dirt paths and leaps across six rocks in a creek.  It was a small, traditional Hindu, Muslim and Sikh community into which many Tibetan refugees and Buddhist monks and nuns had integrated.  Everywhere you looked, varying brands of faith were advertised in the clothes people wore, what they did or did not put on their heads, and how they greeted you.

While there were no practicing Christians in sight, it was not at all unusual for this blended community to embrace the spirit of Christ.  Jesus was, after all, considered a Buddha, a prophet and/or a divine being by many in these other religions.  So it should not have come as a surprise that I saw this notice posted outside a local shop just a few days before Christmas:

Image

But this was, in fact, quite a surprise, for beneath the veil of spiritual harmony in this village, there were plenty of tensions constantly brewing.

For more than 50 years, India has been host to high profile exiles like the Dalai Lama and other Buddhist teachers, and every year thousands of new Tibetan refugees find their way into communities near their beloved leaders.  In the village, it was clear that many Indians alternated between being gracious and blatantly resentful hosts to these Tibetans, and many Tibetans alternated between being grateful and blatantly mistrusting of the Indians.

The wariness of both sides was easily visible to me, and I found this troubling.  From a distance I assumed their spiritual devotion implied a constant dedication to kindness and compassion, but up close I often saw them behave contradictorily to these very ideals in particular.  Without tending to this troubling feeling, I let it casually wall off my heart so that I mindlessly discounted the spiritual sincerity of both the Indians and the Tibetans.

So I paused when I saw this sign.  At first I thought it was fantastic, that’s why I took a picture of it.  But then I began to think…wait.  Was it genuine or was it gratuitous?  Was it meant to keep the peace or keep the pretense?

As I walked home, I considered this issue in the manner requisite of any good spiritualist: First, I wondered the hell was wrong with the world.  Then I wondered what the hell was wrong with me.  I had taken a perfectly lovely gesture and promptly allowed my mind to make it suspect.

Wasn’t Christmas precisely the time when people with differences should come together?  Wasn’t the whole point of Christmas that we celebrate in honor of one who sought to unite us through love and peace?

And wasn’t I being just as lax in my own devotion to kindness and compassion as those by whom I was troubled?

Ahhh, there was the path I was looking for – out of the drama of my head and into the honesty of my heart.  Unconditional love and understanding were much easier to find in that light.

And so it was that last Christmas a village of Buddhists, Hindus, Muslims and Sikhs helped lead me back to the spirit of Christ I held so dear.  I had wandered away from it in my expectations of how Christ-like others were supposed to be, and that’s just how Christians have been ostracizing people for years – including me.  Because I wanted no part in knowingly ostracizing anyone, I promptly committed to staying centered in my heart every time I walked back into the village from that day forth.

Image

This Christmas I am again firmly centered in my heart, and it is from that place that I send out prayers of love and blessings to family and friends of all faiths in all corners of the world.  May the light of peace and goodwill shine brightly in your own hearts as you gather with loved ones and those in your own communities throughout this holiday season.  I love you.

 

Envisioning a New World: Emergence

In my previous post I featured Marianne Williamson and her book, A Return to Love.  Today Marianne has a piece in the HuffingtonPost.com that says everything I was going to talk about in this post, which I intended to be about the emergence of the Christ through each of us.  I see no need to re-word or repeat what she has said so beautifully.  Enjoy!

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/marianne-williamson/christmas-for-mystics_b_2288340.html

My Top 5 CHRISTmas List

Image

1. I wish for everyone to remember they are love.

For those who can’t remember they are love, I wish them blind faith in that possibility.

For those who can’t have blind faith in that possibility, I wish them friends and family and circumstances that cause them to suspect that possibility.

For those who can’t suspect that possibility, I wish them the ability to feel my love, and that the power of that resonance will tell of their truth.

2. I wish for everyone to wake up Christmas morning (or before) and realize Christ consciousness, regardless of what they call it.  Call it feeling the collective potential for goodness, call it seeing the potential for uplifting change, call it milk and cookies for the soul.  These are only words.  My wish is not for words but for awareness; that all may be aware of the truthful and peaceful and healing feeling that is unconditional love…which is Christ consciousness.

3. I wish for everyone the courage and willpower to drop every single thought, word and action that is not purely love.  I wish for them to see clearly the frivolity of any moment of this precious life that does not promote love inwardly or outwardly.

4. I wish for everyone to unlock their wildest imagination and dream a new world into existence.  No more bandaids on old problems; all the old ways and old problems no longer exist.  Let us all bid a grateful farewell to ways of BEing that others created and design a new world of our own imaginative making.

(Me, I will imagine I can fly.  I will imagine I am pure light.  I will imagine a world of abundance without money; a world where children teach and adults listen; a world where no form of entertainment requires an arc of conflict to be popular; a world where prisons and wars and competition and all the ‘isms’ that separate us are long gone.  I will imagine a world of gratitude and equality and fantastic colorful co-creations with God, with others and with all of life.)

5.  I wish for everyone to realize that all of these wishes are possible.  Since this is a CHRISTmas list, let us remember it was Jesus who reportedly said, “With God all things are possible.” He also reportedly said that the Kingdom of God is within, and that we can only see this Kingdom of God if we are born again.

So my ultimate wish then is for you, beloved brothers and sisters, to go within and find that Kingdom of God.  While in that precious space, may you realize you are love; may you find the Christ consciousness; may you find the courage to let go of every bit of that which is not love; and may you be joyfully born again into a spectacular new world of you own making.

When you get there, look for me.  I’ll be the flash of pure light flying nearby.