Christmas. I had thought I wouldn’t write about anything connected to Christmas, I thought I’d take the Ostrich stance in this blog. I never imagined anyone would actually read anything I was writing here anyway, but as I’ve had so many emails and now I know people are reading this, I thought I would share my way of managing this time of year as a lone parent. It is the ultimate annual event, in which to work spiritually and throw yourself into being a fully conscious woman.
It’a all in our heads. That is the first piece of wisdom connected to coping with Christmas. Love it or hate it, it is an event that occurs, surrounded by hype and expectation, that is realised through the conditioning of the mind. This is the best way to deal with any problem you are having about being a single parent in December of any year. Whether this is your first Christmas by yourself, whether you have the children or they are with their father, whether you are immersing yourself in family and joy or you are feeling depressed and lonely, remember that Christmas is something that has been made up and it exists only in the mind. If you can just step out of the mind for a moment and look around you, connect with the present moment state and with the earth beneath your feet, you will come back to your centre and the knowledge that only this moment is real, everything else is mind, ego, humanness. Whatever your situation and circumstance this year, know that it is right for you now and that life can never be wrong.
I’m not going to make nice, fluffy comments about how we can all enjoy this time of year no matter what, we can, but we can also use it as an opportunity to work very deeply with a much larger spiritual tool. Stepping out of mind, ego restricted, disconnection from reality, into peaceful, centred awareness that nothing can ever be wrong. Creation is a powerful, beautiful force that is constant around us and to argue with it, to suggest that the miracle of every moment that exists is wrong in anyway, is missing the very point of living. We need to go very deep and work with the flow of our life, moment by moment, breath by breath.
So much of what we consider to be ‘wrong’ in our lives, unfair, stressful or painful, is created by the mind, all problems are created by the mind. And as human beings we use our minds to create conditions on our happiness. We can only be happy if this happens, or if that doesn’t happen, or if someone wants to be with us or if someone else leaves us alone, the list is endless and we all have our own personal lists of likes and dislikes that make up whether or not we feel happy. We also create collective lists, so collectively as a society we say you should be happy if you are in a loving relationship, unhappy if you are not, happy if you have a partner to help you bring up your children, unhappy and struggling if you don’t. Happy times are birthdays, Christmas, holidays, celebrations of any kind and these events are all happier if you are part of a family or relationship. If you are on your own, you are expected to not be so joyful around these times. From day one, we are conditioned to have great expectations of how we should be feeling and what should be happening around us, as these particular events occur throughout our lives, throughout the year. If life isn’t giving us the conditions that we need to feel happy, then we see that as wrong, we see it as unfair or as a reason to be unhappy.
Lets try saying ‘why’? Why restrict ourselves to only feeling ok and happy when certain situations around us fit our conditioned model of what is and isn’t alright? Why not just open up to being ok to a whole new and expanded list of possibilities?
Lets try an exercise here. Whether you are reading this at Christmas or at any time of the year, take some deep breaths and bring to mind all the reasons you have at this moment for not being happy, or all the things you need to happen to make you happy.
Some examples might be:
I’m not happy because my partner left me and I’m on my own with my children for Christmas.
I will only be happy this Christmas if I have my children, but they are going to be with their father.
I can’t be happy because my ex is spending Christmas with his new love and her family, while we are here on our own.
I won’t be happy because this time of year just rubs salt into my wounds.
I could be happy, but only if I had a man in my life to share this time with.
I’m not happy because everyone else is having fun at this time of year and I’m miserable and depressed.
I am going to be unhappy because my boyfriend is spending Christmas with his ex and his children.
This is a difficult time of year because we are broke and I can’t give the children the Christmas they deserve, this makes me unhappy.
Add your own observations and thoughts about what is happening in your own mind.
Then rip up the list! You don’t need the world around you to be a certain way in order to be happy. You don’t need everyone and everything to be this way or that way to feel good inside. You don’t need to take seriously the things that the society we live in, has decided it’s ok for us to be miserable about. Our conditioning tells us what is ok and what isn’t, so it’s also telling us what it’s ok to not be ok about!
Try telling anyone that you are not going to be ok this Christmas because of any of the reasons above and they will most likely say, ‘Poor you, thats really hard, it must be very difficult to be in your situation, you have every right to be upset and unhappy.’ No! Don’t fall into the trap of having it be ok to not be ok, pull yourself out of this one and be alright even when everyone is telling you it’s alright to not be.
It is painful, it can all be very painful indeed, I know this because I can feel it too sometimes. But don’t see it as wrong, don’t see anything that is happening or not happening in your life as wrong. Nothing is ever wrong, it is life doing its thing, it is your life flowing the way it is, it just is. See life as a flowing river taking you where it will, float along with it, or as a wave, surf it, or as a cloud, sit on and ride it. The river, the wave or the cloud are never wrong, they go where they will but it is never the wrong way, it is just the way. So it is with life, let it flow and relax, surrender into it how ever painful it feels, it’s right, believe that.
I am not in anyway trying to diminish the pain and suffering that you might be feeling, how hard it is to be on your own and how hurt you are feeling about life, particularly today, just before Christmas. But I am suggesting that perhaps it is being made worse by the minds commitment to keeping us down, creating problems and getting hooked into the conditioning that is all around us. By recognising what is happening in the mind, by becoming fully conscious and aware, we can start to unravel some of the negative, engrained patterns of thinking that all that is wrong with the world, all that is unfair and all that is a problem. The mind is creating the problems, it is creating your suffering by not being ok with what is happening. It is creating the pain, because the mind is stuck in a cycle of thinking that things are wrong and shouldn’t be the way that they are.
Lets question that.
Where ever you are, step outside or go to the window. What is happening out there? The sky is blue, dark or there are clouds, it is sunny or it is raining, the weather continues, it is a constant. There might be trees, plants, flowers or grass, leaves fall and sprout again, petals drop and buds grow, this continues in a never ending natural cycle. Bring yourself fully into this present moment, shut out the noise of the mind, the racket of other peoples views and opinions, the hype of the season, just simply be, just be here for this moment completely centred and connected.
This is the truth, you are alright, breathe, be still, you are ok.
You are stood in this beautiful, miraculous and amazing moment of creation. Divine creation that brings us this moment, another moment and another sacred moment. We are standing in witness consciousness, observing each moment of creation as it comes and then it goes. Now smile. You are a divinely connected creature of god, there is nothing wrong with you or the moment that you stand in, it is magical that you are here and that you are witnessing all of these moments as they pass. Nature has no connection with what is happening in the human mind, the conditioning about Christmas or any human created, mind created event that is occurring and you don’t need to connect with it either. You can step out of all of that and be present, like all of nature. Without our minds, we can break down the walls created by our conditioning and live freely and happily, we can step out of the prison of our thoughts and be liberated, walking to freedom and happiness beyond all possibilities.
The question is simply ‘”Do you want to be happy?'”If the answer is yes, then say it without qualifying it. After all, what the question really means is “Do you want to be happy from this point forward for the rest of your life, regardless of what happens?”
Now, if you say yes, it might happen that your wife leaves you, or your husband dies, or the stock market crashes, or your car breaks down on an open highway at night. These things might happen between now and the end of your life. But if you want to walk the highest spiritual path, then when you answer yes to that simple question, you must really mean it. There are no ifs, ands, or buts about it. It’s not a question of whether your happiness is under your control. Of course it’s under your control. It’s just that you don’t really mean it when you say you’re willing to stay happy. You want to qualify it. You want to say that as long as this doesn’t happen, or as long as that does happen, then you’re willing to be happy. That’s why it seems like it is out of your control. Any condition you create will limit your happiness. You simply aren’t going to be able to control things and keep them the way you want them.
You have to give an unconditional answer. If you decide that you’re going to be happy from now on for the rest of your life, you will not only be happy, you will be enlightened. Unconditional happiness is the highest technique there is. You don’t have to learn Sanskrit or read any scriptures. You don’t have to renounce the world. You just have to really mean it when you say that you choose to be happy. And you have to mean it regardless of what happens. This is truly a spiritual path, and it is as direct and sure a path to Awakening as could possibly exist.
The Untethered Soul, Michael A Singer
The key to a spiritual pathway is awareness, noticing and observing, being a witness. So how ever you are feeling, just be conscious of it. If you are feeling pain, you don’t need to be rid of it or suppress it, this would be very unhealthy and this is not the way to spiritual freedom. We are human beings and we have hearts, we have emotions, feelings and we suffer. If you need to cry, do that and when the tears pass you can step out of the despair and rise up and out of those feelings to observe what it is your mind is doing, notice the thoughts you are having that are so painful you feel the need to pour it out through your tears. Just notice, that is all. Spirituality is a journey and like any journey there are ups and downs, easy and more difficult paths, mountains and meadows. This might be an uphill climb for you at the moment, it will get easier and as you make the ascent, stay present in full witness consciousness, this is all you have to do to heal, just notice. It is this simple, but it is the way out of suffering, just notice.
Enjoy Christmas whatever your circumstances, remember you are loved and that you are never alone and that all of this is an illusion, the truth is in your heart, stay with the breath let it keep you anchored. This moment will pass and there will be another, trust the flow and have faith that there is one absolute, that this moment and the next moment, is all there is.
Sit, be still, practice, stand, be still, practice, stop, be still, practice, keep coming back to that and all will be well.
With love and blessings, Saira xx