Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Thoughts on Christmas

It's Christmas Eve and I'm spending some quiet moments listening to some Chopin Nocturnes. It's a good time to blog and because it's Christmas, let's talk about Christ.

I must admit that I am a big fan of Jesus Christ. But I've always felt that the true spirit of his teachings has been obscured by centuries of man-made dogma, perpetuated by the Church.

To me, Jesus is a mystical figure; he fasted for 40 days and 40 nights in the desert after being baptized by John the Baptist. John himself lived on locust and wild honey. Both of them were semi-ascetics, probably Essenes or practicing something similar. All religions have mystical roots. The Prophet Muhammad himself was approached by the Archangel Gabriel while he was meditating alone in a cave. Both men, like the Buddha and many other spiritual leaders, gained their insights through solitude--the wellspring of spirituality.

The Gospels emphasize a lot of Jesus' miracles, which I do not find that very interesting. I was more impressed by his charisma, how he taught in parables, which made his teachings easily understood by the country folks, his compassion for the sick and the poor, his non-judgemental acceptance of 'sinners'--adulterers, prostitutes and tax collectors ("Let he who is without sin cast the first stone").

He eschewed material riches and famously said that "it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God". And of course, his greatest exhortation was to demand that we, instead of demanding an eye for eye, a tooth for a tooth, love our enemies instead, and to "turn the other cheek".

And of course: Forgiveness ("Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do"). Forgiveness is the beginning of healing. Forgiveness breaks the endless cycle of karma. Forgiveness dissolves the ego and let Love shine through. Forgiveness is letting go, and allowing the moment to be as it is.

Jesus was a great man, and they have been many more before and after him. The message is the same. But followers who interpret the teachings of these great men tend to hero-worship and focus on rules, rituals and dogmas. All of our religions have so much redundancy--that if we 'zip' their doctrines into their raw, essential bits and bytes, they contain the same kernel of truth.

But we are not interested in that. We love the soap opera of creation, judgement, reward and punishment. We long for the perpetuation of our small selfs--afterlives, better rebirths and eternal lives. We jostle and claim for superiority of our adopted creed.

True religion needs no words. It is there. It is within. It is here. It is now.
Nothing more needs to be said.

No comments: