Today is a day that millions around the world celebrate in a way that honors the message of Christmas as it lives in our hearts. I’m going to ask your permission for me to be just a little more personal in my message on this day than I have been in the past.
I had an interesting experience about seven weeks ago that brought some things to light for me in a new way — in a far more impactful way — than ever before, and the thought struck me that there might be some value in my sharing with you here something that I’ve come to more deeply experience and understand.
On Nov. first I underwent open-heart surgery. It was a quintuple by-pass, and the doctors said that I tolerated the procedure well, and have moved thru my recovery extraordinarily well.
For all of this I’m grateful. But let me share with you what I have come to understand in a new way — first hand — as a result of what I experienced.
There’s nothing like having your heart stopped for 4 hrs, and its function performed by a machine across the room, to bring home in a very physical way, a very metaphysical message: You are not your body.
I’ve gotten very clear since Nov. 1st that my body is something that I HAVE, it is not something I am.
Of course, I have held it as my “truth” for years that — at my basis — I am not really a physical entity, but a spiritual entity engaging in a physical experience. But I have to tell you that I never translated that awareness into very real, here-and-now terms until I woke up after my surgery.
It was then that I understood empirically that my body is a mechanism — a tool used by the Essence of Who I Am to move forward its agenda. And that led me to some very deep thinking.
What is my agenda?
That is, what is the agenda of my Soul — quite exclusive of the agenda of my Body or my Mind? Because my Body and my Mind presumably HAD no “agenda” when my heart stopped beating for several hours and its work was being done by a machine several feet away.
That machine had no agenda. It was not conscious at any level. And if THAT machine had no agenda, then THIS machine (meaning, my body) has no agenda, either. They’re both just devices, designed to produce functionality in the physical world in order for the metaphysical part of me to do what it came here to do.
Yet what is THAT? And is anything that I’ve just said real? Or am I mistaken about all of this?
Believe it or not, 20 years after the Conversations with God experience, I still ask myself those questions.
I’ve been asked by interviewers over the years if I ever doubt my experience or the messages it has produced, and I’ve said the same thing to every person who has posed that question: “The day that I stop doubting is the day that I become dangerous… and I have no intention of becoming dangerous.”
Well, I may not be “dangerous” today, but I am more sure now than ever — as a result of my recent mechanical “overhaul” — that Who I Really Am exists, whether my body is functioning on its own or not. And Who I Am, exclusive of my Body or my Mind, DOES have an agenda. It is the same agenda of every spiritual entity in the cosmos — and of the Spiritual Essence from which everything has emerged.
It is my understanding that the whole universe, the entire cosmos in each of its dimensions, is filled with sentient beings, each imbued with the exact same desire — the desire to express and experience its True Nature and its True Identity.
If you look at every decision you have ever made…whether it was to take that job, or move to that city, or marry that person, or whatever it was…all of your choices, big and small, have been aimed at generating the same outcome: a direct experience of the best that life has to offer. Which is another way of saying, a direct experience of one word: Love.
For Love IS the “best that life has to offer. This much we know. This much we’ve all learned. Or, more correctly, this much we’ve all remembered. Because we all knew it as infants. We knew it when we came in. We’ve just had to remember it as we’ve grown older.
It’s our True Nature that we are remembering…and somewhere deep inside of us, we know that. We know that this is Who We Really Are.
That is the message of this day. My body is a mechanism, a tool, comprised of, containing, and designed to express and experience, the Essential Essence from which it emerged. And that Essential Essence is love.
This Body was made — we are all made — to love. Plain and simply, unlimitedly and unconditionally. And through this particular expression of Self, to know, experientially, Who We Really Are.
Today is one of those moments in humanity’s annual calendar when we stop everything else that we’re doing — all that we think is so important and so vital to our future — and return once more to the only thing that we came here to do: simply look at each other, look at ourselves, and love. And to expand, expand, and EXPAND in our ability to do that…until there is nothing else that we ever do…EVER
All of us here understand that this message is not limited to the essence of the Christian doctrine — hallowed and holy as that is to billions. This message transcends all religions, all believe systems, all spiritual paradigms, driving to the core of the human condition, and to the heart of the human experience — and able to heal both.
Both are now in need of healing, for sure — perhaps now more than ever in recent memory.
No one has to tell us that this has been a difficult year. The political machinations of the past 12 months — and the devastating physical violence that has been created by humanity and visited people’s lives across the planet — has awakened us to our own scary awareness of humanity’s often less-than-loving nature.
Our world has been divided right before our eyes, and so many of us are now searching, perhaps more earnestly than ever before, to find a way to create a global community where our differences do not create divisions, our contrasts do not generate conflicts, and the variations in our beliefs do not produce violence in our lives.
We are beginning to earnestly seek to really create what we say on our greeting cards: “peace on Earth, and goodwill to men, women, and children everywhere.”
In a sense, we have ALL undergone open-heart surgery this past year. For there are very few among us who have not felt as if we have been opened right down the middle by events both in our personal lives, and in our collective national and global experience.
Thankfully, we have moments like Christmas Day to help to heal that rending. Moments when the message at the heart of all the world’s great religions is separated from each religion’s specific dogma, and is reduced to its simplest form — inviting humanity to address at last the simplest question: Can we all just find a way to love one another?
The answer that moments like this bring us is, yes. We can find a way to love each other. We can find a way to share with each other in a way that demonstrates our love. And we can find a way to create equality with each other, regardless of the color of our skin, our gender, or our sexual orientation.
We can find a way to be kind to each other, and tolerant of each other, regardless of differences in our political or spiritual beliefs.
All we have to do is use our body, this tool we have been given, in a new way; to move through the world as the grandest version of ourselves; to become the healers, not the patient, in our own open-heart surgery, by-passing any blockages to the fullest expression of our most natural selves.
We are capable — as a species, and as individuals — of loving without condition. This is what the man whose birth we celebrate today showed us.
That man was graced to live in such a way that the possibility of Divinity expressing through humanity can never again be denied.
But it is important to see Christmas does not point to greatness achievable by only one person. We should not allow ourselves to be convinced that only one person in the history of humanity was capable of such things.
I am reminded of what was said by the very person whose life we celebrate today: “Why are you so amazed? These things and more shall you do also.”
The message of this day, then, is that we are all given the same level of grace. We are all imbued with the ability to demonstrate Divinity through our Humanity. Jesus devoted his life to showing us that possibility, but he is not the only one to have done so.
Others, both before and after him; others, both male and female; others, both dark skinned and light skinned, Eastern and Western, known and unknown, have likewise used their lives to show us all that we can live in a way which demonstrates our true identity, by demonstrating for us all the highest possibility of every human.
Not everyone has done it at the same level of perfection, but many have nonetheless shown us magnificent aspects of being human.
And WE have likewise shown it to others.
Yes, all of us have had what I call Moments of Magnificence, times when we expressed our Truest Selves in the fullest way, times when we were there for another, times when we touched the lives of even strangers in such a way that their faith in humanity, and their faith in themselves, was restored.
So let’s use this day to refresh our memory and renew our clarity about not just Jesus, but about ourselves. We are, each of us, wonderful. And we have, each of us, been wonderful, and acted divinely, in our lives. And there is not a one of us who does not try to be our Best Self in every moment.
This is our challenge, of course. This is the process that we call Evolution. And part of this process is the open-heart surgery that the Whole of Humanity has been undergoing.
So I see my own encounter with life last month as a metaphor for what’s happening with all of us during these days and times. And here is what this metaphor has shown me: What is occurring now is not an ending, but a new beginning. This is not an injury to the Body Human, but the start of our individual and collective healing.
Sometimes it takes what looks like an “injury” to instigate and promote healing, and to get our full recovery underway. And today I can tell you that our recovery IS underway.
Not only our recovery from the divisions in the world that have been created in these most recent times, but our recovery from the decades and centuries of behaviors that have led us to this place today, where we are seeing more vividly than ever before exactly what we as a species are doing to ourselves.
You can’t fix what you don’t see. You can’t “make better” what you don’t know is there. So when ugliness rises to the surface, when fear seeps through the lining of our armor, notice that it is the result of light having shined upon the darkness.
And so this is not a time for despair, but for repair.
And we have just the tool with which to undertake that repair. It is the promise of this day. It is the feeling that this special time imbues within us. It is the life and events of which this day reminds us.
All of this — if we capture the essence of this day in our hearts, and hold it there — can connect us in the most joyful way to the knowing that Divinity can be expressed by all of us. And it does not have to involve us individually and directly in what we define as “big, world-impacting, events.”
In fact, Divinity is often best expressed in the smallest ways. In the thoughts we think, in the words we speak, in the choices we make every hour of every day. Each of us brings Divinity to Humanity through the simple device of how we are being with each other. (And, by the way, with ourselves.)
Thus, how all of us choose to BE is a “world impacting event” that can change the events that impact the world.
Christmas reminds us of that. It allows us — gives us permission — to express our most wonderful selves easily. We say to everyone: “Merry Christmas!” We wish perfect strangers — we actually TALK to perfect strangers — and we wish them “happy holidays.” We sit down with loved ones and spend precious time together — again — the way we did long ago, far more often.
We experience being family again.
We share gifts with each other, and it doesn’t even matter what they are, for it is in the giving of them and in the receiving of them — whatever they are — that our love for each other is announced and declared, demonstrated and embraced, once more.
And what is most wonderful about this special time is the knowing that doesn’t have to end when this day is done. The love and the warmth we feel today can and will continue to be sent into the world by us, if we decide to a source of it.
Author M. Scott Peck wrote in his book, The Road Less Traveled, something worthy of taking note. He said, “Love is not a reaction, it’s a decision.”
It is because this is true that the highest possibilities for humanity still exist. When I know that love is not my response to something that you are doing, but my choice regarding something I am doing, the highest possibilities continue to exist.
Because this is true, one single person CAN impact the world. One single person CAN be the First Domino.
One single person CAN set the tone for others to follow. The question is not whether one person CAN . . . but where any one person WILL.
And that, it seems to me, is where the magic of this day can play its effect. The magical feeling of this moment can magically transform each of us into that One. Single. Person.
Each of us can be the one who chooses to carry forward, into all the days of the coming New Year, the magic of Love Itself — unbridled, unlimited, unconditional — as a personal expression of our True Identity.
We can make every day Christmas Day by making, every day, the declaration that Christmas invites us to embrace: That we will endeavor to use each of the moments of each of our lives to bring “joy to the world.”
I humbly invite us all to re-double our efforts to do so. I know that none of us is perfect. But I know that this day will carry a special meaning if we use this moment to commit to doing better than we’ve ever done before.
What a way to turn this into one of the best Christmases ever…by giving the gift of You, at your very best, to the world.
Merry Christmas, everyone!