As Christmas draws so near, I’m drawn to reflect upon the journey we each take toward a deeper understanding of life and the true nature of existence.
For each person it is different.
Some follow the path of organised religion.
Some adopt an intellectual path, attempting to understand the world through analysis.
Some read the literature of and/or sit with enlightened masters.
Some learn tools and techniques which help them to clear out old and limiting ways of experiencing the world.
The path you choose is yours and yours alone.
The path that others choose is irrelevant.
If your chosen path has not yet revealed this to you, if you’ve not yet reached a place of understanding that what others do has very little to do with your own experience of the world, then I recommend that you keep walking or find another path which is more enlightening.
For this is the place where many get stuck. The place where the ego says; ‘I know, or have found, the way and if others don’t see the world as I do then it’s my role to judge, criticise, pity, ignore, or correct.’
This is not your job. This approach only leads in one direction: towards the breakdown of intimate relationships; to long standing rifts between between family members; to nations waging war against those who choose a lifestyle which differs from their own; to battles about which side of politics is ‘correct’; and/or whether religion and science can stand side by side in a school curriculum.
At one stage or another we all find something we’re passionate about, something which enlightens us, something which brings us closer to an experience of the richness of life, of its deeper meaning. This can happen anywhere, in any moment.
The trick is not to hold onto that moment as the only avenue to the sacred.
All is sacred and all experiences can spark awareness and take us deep within.
There is no obligation on another to view the world as you do. There is no obligation to fix another or to persuade another of the benefits of your path, or the depth of its teachings.
Certainly it is important to share. People are looking for knowledge, for understanding, for enlightenment.
But share with an open palm. Allow people to take from your offering that is is most relevant for them.
What they choose to take is none of your business.
Your business is to continue to dive deeply into yourself. To see the world as clearly as you can. You might call this the obligation you gave yourself upon entering this world. The ultimate obligation each person has to themselves.
And so, during this season of family and friends, of gift giving and Christmas, of Hanukkah, of time off work and holidays near and far, of eating, drinking and generally being merry, this is my hope; that each of us comes to see the world clearly and in so doing, to experience the sacred in every moment.
Not only as something which is on offer in a church or after participating in a ritual, although this may be your way. But also in the everyday, in the mundane, amidst the chaos of family life, in nature and in cities, in laboratories, hospital rooms, and sports fields, within great works of art and literature, and in the comic section of your favourite newspaper.