Monday, December 19, 2011

Christmas Spirit: A Simple Practice

It's that time of year.  There's no way you can miss it.  Christmas brings with it a lot of STUFF.  There's the actual stuff: gifts, cards, music, cookies, lights, decorations, parties.  Then there's the emotional stuff: missing loved ones who have left this earth, anxiety, loneliness, getting let down by expectations, stress, nostalgia, hope.  And of course there's all this marketing and gifting craze stuff.  Sometimes it brings out the worst in us instead of the best.

But then there's the good stuff.  The Christ stuff.  The Christmas Spirit.

For me, Christmas is a time to remember that Christ came to this Earth, a human being who knew he was a piece of God, light on Earth.  And so are we.  So to me, the Christmas Spirit is about remembering that and acting on it.

When I think of Christ three words come to mind: love, peace, and non-judgment.  I regard his life as a model for how I can best live mine.  This December, that's what I'm working on.

Yesterday, I was in Barnes and Noble and the place was packed. The parking lot was a craze.  The checkout line snaked past display bins and shelves into the general stacks.  As you surely know, these conditions often create an energy of restlessness and unhappiness in people.  So I'm standing in line thinking, "Be happy, be peaceful."  There's a woman behind me looking over boxes of Christmas cards.  She's one of those people who's hard to miss. And she's saying in a very loud and (here comes a judgment) whiny voice that she doesn't even know why she bothers sending cards. . .

"Everybody sends their cards on the internet.  I send out cards and I don't get anything in return except for a bunch of emails.  I just don't even see why I bother.  I don't think I will.  Let's see how everyone else likes it.  If they'll even notice.  And these chocolates?  All we have at work is people bringing in cookies and chocolates.  I can't even look at another one or I'll be sick."

And here goes my judgmental mind, complaining, "How annoying is this?"

Then I remembered Christ, love, peace, non-judgment, and I just changed my energy.  Christ wouldn't judge her.  So I just stopped.  And that's it.  That's my practice.

My teacher, Ma Jaya, says when negative thoughts are torturing you just say, "Stop.  It's just a thought."

What was I accomplishing by judging that woman and labeling her "annoying"?  I was making myself unhappy.

So my gift to myself this Christmas is to stop those judgmental thoughts whenever I notice them.  Indeed, I believe it's a gift to all of us.  Because the more Christlike each of us becomes, the more that beautiful light will shine on this earth.

I want that for my son, my family, my friends. I want it for acquaintances and strangers. I even want it for people who complain loudly in book stores. That transformative light of love and peace.

Merry Christmas, everyone. 

1 comment:

  1. Ah, how funny - I was just reminding myself yesterday of the importance of non-judgment, while standing in a long, snaking line of Christmas shoppers! Thank you for this - for articulating the importance of peace, love and non-judgment in our lives. It really is a wonderful gift to give ourselves and the world. xo