It’s that time of year again! We argue over the name of it, create an idea in our minds of what it should turn out like (and fall out with each other when it doesn’t), use up our financial assets to adhere to the commercialism of it, listen to people tell us about the dogmatic religious symbology of it, eat even more toxic crap throughout it and finally end up drunk, stoned or asleep because of it!
As you read this you may think ‘bah humbug’ or “here comes another ‘true meaning of the season’ lecture”... I wouldn’t waste your time or mine on such a worthless endeavour. Obviously, it is fair to say that this time of year should be no different than any other. Being a compassionate, understanding and loving human being is a worthy goal and something that should never be defined by a date on the calendar. Rarely do we truly achieve such levels of enlightenment on a permanent basis. Nevertheless, this week does present us with a wonderful opportunity…
A few years ago, I decided to sell some of my artwork on the city craft market (an act now sadly made almost obsolete by extortionately expensive trading licenses) and I cynically chose the weeks leading up to the festive period, simply because I thought I’d sell more to the clamouring shoppers.
ITV evening news had decided to come to the area and run a piece involving interviews with market goers about which hat they felt summed up their ‘Christmas Spirit’. The correspondent handed two hats to the hapless interviewees. One was red saying “Merry Christmas”, the other black saying “Bah Humbug”.
I decided in my infinite stupidity to have a piece of the action and hand over some personal pearls of wisdom! With the camera rolling, I plied my trademark snarky laugh and chose the black hat. When I was asked why, I engaged in a concise tirade about the misperception of the holiday. My thoughts were the usual ‘true meaning’ malarkey, common sense, but far from the controversial and realigned views I hold today.
The piece aired the following day and I was truly surprised to find that I’d been included! Inclusion being the appropriate word: about 3 seconds of me clutching a black Santa hat and grinning like a loon! If nothing else, the lesson taught me to avoid mainstream journalism like the plague. They are the master purveyors of perception realignment.
Perception is at the core of Christmas. Our programming dictates our interaction with it. I have Church of England on my birth certificate, thanks to my parents, and was initially raised with Christian morality… if not the practice. These defining moments in our lives set many wheels in motion, wheels that are not easy to remove from the wagon! My perception of existence (now) is about as far away from organised religion as you can get. Despite this, I continually find myself calling this time of year: Christmas… for no other reason than habit.
And that, my friends, is the true nature of the holidays: habits. Habitual behaviour usually manifests itself because we can’t be bothered to work hard enough to find the alternative perspective. How many people will simply fall in front of the Hypnobox on December 25th and allow its power to take hold once again? I don’t want to preach about the forgotten individuals this time of year: the lonely, the homeless, the suicidal, those in countries that have been ransacked by western wars of occupation, those suffering starvation… the injustice and despair that these people face, should matter every single minute of every day of the year. What I do want to say is this…
All of us have infinite opportunities to change our existence by simply taking the time to psychologically step off the merry-go-round and think about our lives with a fresh perspective. This time of year gives us a chance that is not so readily available any other time. Many people get some time off work and escape the corporate machine. There is no better time to rethink our relationship with it, especially when we are away from it. We might get a chance to reconnect with friends and family (the emotional cement in our lives) and rediscover our kinship and sense of community. These are such two examples of ways to change our perceptions and those of the people around us.
The point I’m trying to make here is that we are slaves to the system. The holidays give us a chance to have a day off and we should try not to waste that brief respite. Think how amazing it would be if everybody learned something profound from the experience and found that it lasted till the next day… and the next…
I can live in hope anyway!
Wherever you are and whatever you’re doing, I hope you have a wonderful day.
Peace out folks!!
The Truth Seeker’s Guide