Originally published on Malibu Quietude
The Celebration of Life
It’s Christmas time, and there are many Christmas-related topics to meditate on. The holidays often bring unwanted stress and burdensome expectations. How can we learn to be “present” during a time of the year where most people are focused on presents? And if we can somehow escape the onslaught of material distractions, how do we use this time to celebrate the immaterial, and lose ourselves in the sanctity of the absolute?
Regardless of your spiritual discipline, all paths lead to the same pathless destination. Whether embodying Christ, or deferring to the Absolute One, or awakening to the reality of Oneness, spirituality is about relinquishing the ego and embracing the higher Order. The Universe has a Fate. God has a Plan. Mother Nature moves along a mysterious Path of Her own. Having faith in the Moment. Honoring the belonging of our sacred being. Allowing God, or Jesus, or Oneness to “take the wheel.” Allowing our Self to fall into the backdrop of an undivided Miracle.
The greatest gift we can give, to ourselves and to others, is to be present for the sanctity of each and every moment. And the wonderful truth is that this gift has already been given! It is our birthright, our divine privilege, to be Present. We cannot be not Present. We can only “forget” the truth of our nature, and get “lost” in the story of a separate and unspiritual “me.”
Take this holiday to unwrap the gift of Presence. Sink into your spacious heart and see the miracle beyond the flashing lights and jingling bells and burning candles. Find the magic in the mundane. Push the limits of what is embraced. Honor the darkness as you do the light. Feel the absolute in your anger, and the sacred spirit in your sadness. Discern the divinity of pain in the suffering of Christ.
Spirituality isn’t supposed to divide us, from ourselves or others. It doesn’t give preference to a certain “path.” Nor does it give preference to certain feelings or conditions. The heart of spirituality is the unconditional love of Presence. It is the embrace of every breath and beat. It is discovering the illusion of the “unspiritual.” All is sacred, because all is Life.
Contemplate the spirit of Christmas (and Hanukkah) as a celebration of Life itself. It is the christening of the Moment, exactly how it appears. It is holding a candle to your own heart, and showing reverence for your own divine being.
Rather than trying to celebrate every moment of life, try to see that every moment is already a celebration. Even your dark energies are dancing. Your sadness is unfurling like a spring bloom. Your anger is burning like an ethereal fire. Your anxiety is twirling in an endless pirouette. It is not in your best interest to “crash the party.” It is in your best interest to let them dance!
Many of Life’s energies are powerful, and it takes time to find the space to let them be. Meditation is the process of being present for them, to build our spiritual strength. Much like building physical strength, it takes time and commitment to grow. We push our presence to the limits, by inviting more and more pain into our heart. Our capacity for life’s “weight” increases with each present repetition, until finally we have the strength to hold it all.