Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Getting Ready for Christmas

Christmas Creche in the Meditation Garden

As I walked through the store, the decorations and the tree lights were brightly twinkling. Santa and his reindeer, Frosty and the Nutcracker, scented pine candles in aisles filled with bows and ribbons and reams of bright colored wrapping paper, Christmas candies and fruitcakes  -  ahh, the holiday season has finally arrived. 

The thing is - my walk through that store happened yesterday, the first day of October. 

Did I miss something? Did Halloween pass me by this year? Has Thanksgiving come and gone? In fact, the more I explored around that store, I came to realize that a huge section that had been set up during the summer months to sell Halloween stuff was now pretty much depleted. 

Today I was reflecting upon my October 1st walk through the Christmas aisles. I was feeling very uncomfortable yesterday. In fact, I find this all quite disconcerting for a number of reasons. I see it all as being symptomatic of a deeper issue - a spiritual malaise that seems to have slowly crept into our cultural psyche.

I think that the "Christmas in October" phenomenon is a reflection of a deepening sense of greed and unchecked consumerism that seems to underlie so much of what happens in our culture. As I walked through that store yesterday I was very aware of shopping carts filled to the brim with lights and decorations and gift wrap. It felt like people were stockpiling, hoarding, accumulating all their stuff before it was sold out (remember, yesterday was October 1st).  Everything seemed so bloated - so very self-centered. 

Bloated, self-centered egos are symptomatic of a spiritual malaise.

I also think that getting ready for Halloween in July and getting ready for Christmas in October speaks volumes about our cultural inability to live in the present moment. 

As I walked through that store yesterday it all felt very frenetic to me. Halloween had already been abandoned and now the holiday season had already taken over and it felt very much like everything was out of balance. How can you possibly be living in the moment when you are stockpiling for Christmas on October 1st?

The inability to live in the present is, of course, symptomatic of a spiritual problem - a spiritual malaise.     When you live in the past or are constantly planning for the future, you are "literally" unable to be spiritually aware. Any spiritual path leading to a deeper awareness of an abiding Holy Presence only happens when you are awake and mindful in the moment.

Getting ready for Christmas on October 1st cannot possibly serve to help anyone live, awake in the moment.

So I sit in my garden this morning and "I am where I am." I bask in the rays of the rising sun. The desert breeze is fresh and cool. I hear my fountain gurgling. I have no thoughts of Christmas. Heck, Halloween is still a long way off and I love celebrating Thanksgiving. 

Oh by the way, that picture of the Christmas creche in my meditation garden? That was from last year.

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