In addition to Christmas, several other celebrations take place during December. They include Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Winter Solstice and Diwali to name a few. These celebrations seem to lift humanity’s collective vibration. It is as if people are stopping for a moment, and pulling themselves out of their daily habits in order to see and celebrate the love and generosity of Spirit.
While each experience appears to be different, at their core they are celebrating our same essence. It reminds me of a question one of my spiritual teachers posed. “If Jesus was seated at a table with a Buddhist, a Hindu, a Muslim, a Zoroastrian and a Shintoist, do you think he would turn to them and say ‘You must all forsake your beliefs and accept Christianity?’” I do not believe Jesus would take such a stance, since he came to free humanity from formal religion. Jesus taught spiritual principles that anyone, regardless of what path they have chosen or if they have no particular spiritual path at all, can apply in their life.
There are many paths to understanding this presence we call God. One of the greatest values that I have gotten from traveling to other countries – particularly Ghana and Nigeria- has been the opportunity to understand how others have used their traditions to deepen their understanding of the nature of God, the nature of humanity and how the two are connected. At bottom, most people seek to understand their purpose in life, how to make a positive difference in their communities and how to be a more loving presence in our world. Indeed, regardless of background, culture or religion, we are more alike than different.
A major challenge we face in our world is that many have bought into the belief of separation. This belief breeds a sense of isolation and an “us versus them” mentality that often leads to behavior that reinforces this sense of separation. As a result, many who do have an active prayer practice, have a tendency to only pray for their friends. Jesus challenged this when he said “Pray for your enemies.” Of course, he was not saying to not pray for your friends, he was saying expand your point of view and begin to bring into daily practice people that we may not like, who may not agree with us, or seem to have an opposite point of view. This practice appears to be urgently needed in our world today.
As we begin to reach out in an inward way, we challenge the perception of isolation and we expand our purview of what a neighbor is. Then we begin to discover, as Jesus said, that the so-called enemy is in our own household. So we want to expand our prayer practice and consciously embrace any individual or group of people – past, present, or future – we may be at odds with in order to break through any sense of separation. This one strategy will help anchor the “Beloved Community” that is a Divine Idea in the mind of God.
When we practice principles such as these, we break down the artificial barriers we have created between people, groups and nations. We begin to look at each other and we begin to see beauty and not differences. We will begin to say things like “Look at that wonderful light shining through that person.” We’ll not see color, rather we’ll see the different shades of the Infinite. We’ll not just see different cultures or religions, we’ll see how Infinite Spirit needs all cultures and religions to reveal its unlimited nature. In the end, we will see we are all here to glorify the presence of God regardless of our religious on nonreligious affiliation.
Peace and Blessings,