Sunday, December 25, 2011

Christmas is Now - Always

Today I am reminded that Christmas is Now. But, in fact everything is always Now. Easter is now, Lent is now, Kwanza is now, Yom Kippur is now, Ramadan is now.
The fact that everything is always Now is a truism in most spiritual traditions and was (and sometimes still is) a difficult idea for me to comprehend. There is no past nor future. Only Now. My Ego wants me to believe in the past and the future so I will continue to believe I am separate from you, from God, from everything.
It is Christmas morning here in on the Cumberland Plateau in East Tennessee. Merry Christmas Everyone! Happy Channukah for those who celebrate this Jewish festival of light and Happy Kwanza for those celebrating this later in the week. The day here is quite still; a little overcast but quiet; wintry but very pleasant.
I was walking our 2 small dogs just a while ago after they had eaten their breakfast. It is sunny, brisk (upper 30s to low 40s) with a very light breeze. However, I was not enjoying the day. I was thinking of this message I had to finalize before posting it. I was thinking of the phone call we received from my cousin yesterday morning. This is a common error I make – being focused on some future or past event, rather than being focused on what is around me now. My thinking creates a Now that exists in the universe-between-my-ears. To make matters worse, I believe it as being more “real” to me than the Now that is all around me.
Whatever I am thinking about IS the Now for me. If I’m thinking of the past generally I’m not simply remembering a past event, often I’m reliving that event. As I relive it, it becomes my Now. The same is true for future events. By bringing these non-existent thoughts into consciousness I have created an alternate universe (between my ears only) and am responding to it at the expense of everything else around me. Those thoughts are my Now. That’s my choice – that’s the universe I have chosen to perceive in my Now.
What I’m thinking about Now colors what I’m perceiving Now which creates my world Now. That is a very powerful (and for me, often damning) concept.
An example: If I’m living in a Now that consists of my remembrance of times I perceive I’ve been misunderstood or mistreated, it puts me in a Now whose reality is one of victimhood. I’m on a great big pity-pot. All my internal voices are versions of: “Why me?” “Poor me!” “Woe is me.” All these voices/thoughts color my perception which creates my world. Next thing I know, I’m driving into town and someone cuts me off and I perceive, once again, that some jerk is going to cause me to be late (accodingto my self-absorbed expectations). Again I’m back to a form of “Why me?” “Poor me!” “Woe is me.” Once again I’ve created a universe-between-my-ears where I am the ultimate victim. When I choose that universe, I AM a victim – I am the victim of myself and my thoughts – although that doesn’t stop me from blaming someone or something “out there.”
My cousin called yesterday morning about his Mom (my aunt). She has been living with him in Florida. She is almost 97. She is physically healthy but her mind cannot get off the idea that she must live at her home. Normal? Sure. But the “home” she remembers no longer exists. The “home” she wants to return to existed 60-70 years ago – alive with extended family, friends, church, health, food, and a joy of life. Because this remembrance is centered so strongly in her mind, it is her Now. Her son’s intention for her to live with him and be thoughtfully cared for is perceived as being forced to live in a prison against her will. I understand perfectly because I’ve been there. I’ve seen her lash out. I’ve seen her stubborness. I’ve experienced her growing dementia. It’s not severe enough to have her committed, but it is severe enough to make her impossible to live with.
My aunt’s situation is admittedly extreme – but it reinforces my point: What I’m thinking about Now colors what I’m perceiving Now which creates my world Now. This is true for my aunt, for my cousin, and for me. I believe it’s true for you, as well.
Back to Christmas.
Another truism in spiritual circles is the Divine is always present within me, although I am generally deaf to its voice. Whether we are in Christian spiritual traditions, Kaballah, Sufi, Eastern thought, New Thought religion, or A Course in Miracles, the issue is not whether we can conjure up the divine to do our bidding through prayer, supplication, or acts of contrition. The issue is can I eliminate the “noise” of my Ego-Thoughts so the divine can make itself “heard” in my mind, reminding me I am a spirit currently having a human experience and the world I perceive doesn’t really exist – it’s just my perception.
It can always be Christmas if I can learn to listen to the still, small voice of the Divine. When I listen and hear the divine, I know the divine Christ spirit is alive and well within me. Understanding that reality allows me to know it is Christmas morning all over again, and again, and again. I am always Bethlehem.
My Christmas Wish for you? Relish in this knowledge that the miracle in the manger can exist in your heart and mind Now – and Now – and Now.
Thanks for listening and, as always, it's okay to forward or share this, if you choose.
#4 – December 2011

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