The meanings of Christmas

by Jack on December 2011

Christmas is considered a big deal in many places around the world, even without its religious content. Whether it’s Christians celebrating the Sun of God, or Jews enjoying Chinese food, movie premieres, and easy parking, there is a lot of great stuff going on. In Japan, I am told, Christmas is celebrated with Kentucky Fried Chicken. In Sweden, families gather to watch violent old Donald Duck cartoons.

Personally, I have always experienced Christmas as the quietest and stillest day of the year (almost nothing’s open) – a celebration of family and connection with loved ones. But the contemporary anchor point of the day, despite its roots in pagan solstice festivals, is still this man Jesus from 2000 years ago, the mysterious prophet about whom little was known until he started preaching in his early 30s.

Based on the stories from that time period, it seems as though he was a serious spiritual ninja, a shamanic master who tapped into the fifth neurological circuit (in Leary’s eight circuit terminology) in order to heal, commune with spirits, persuade the skeptics and haters of his magical powers, and so forth. Whether or not he was literally the Sun of God, it’s clear that he was a pretty serious Buddha-level Jedi Master of the spiritual and magical arts. And for that reason, his example and his life story is pretty significant, whether or not you identify yourself as a Christian.

When I hear a person ask that famous question, “what would Jesus do?” (abbreviated famously as “WWJD?”), I suspect the answer is something like “go to rabbinical school”. After all, he was a spiritually inclined Jew in Roman-occupied Judaea. It’s not as though he could advance in Roman society, and the religious path was a good way for a young man of modest means to make his mark on the world. Except that in his maverick style, he operated outside the usual traditions and lines of teaching and rolled his own way. Metaphorically and literally. In the essay The Power Tactics of Jesus Christ by Jay Haley, we see a different picture, not the gentle Prince of Piece, but a spiritual gangster who wrote his own rules, devised his own laws, and had harsh words and promised penalties for those who crossed him. A true mafioso of Galilee, an original gangster of godliness.

So what does this mean? What else can we learn from the example of this magical dude whose example inspires, infuriates, and confuses people two millennia later?

Well, for one thing, the example of his life illustrates the necessity of enlightenment. Those of us who have a pre-existing spiritual practice are aware of this already. Self-realization erases fear, craving, aversion, and puts us into a different way of being. Among other spiritual masters who crossed this gap, Jesus must certainly have experienced enlightenment, dropped all these petty and worldly concerns, and began walking his own path. A path which eventually was trodden by billions of others over the years. This is perhaps the most important lesson from his life. It’s a similar lesson that we glean from other spiritual masters over the years – the Buddha and other nameless ones whose stories were not carried forward to the present day.

I have a couple of meditations and conversations with Jesus that I will share with you.

The first one is pretty basic. I just imagine myself hanging out with Jesus sitting on a purple beach (not sure why the sand is that color) talking about a variety things. This Jesus seems like a pretty cool adviser. Sort of like that idealized, perfect, non-judgmental, best friend who is always willing to help.

The second one is a bit more intense. Some Christians seem to appear fixated on the gruesome details of Jesus’s demise. His blood is viewed as the literal and metaphorical vehicle by which the sins of believers are “washed away”.

Since we humans have water-based physical bodies, we naturally feel affinity toward the cleansing power of liquid water – a deep connection to our mother ocean, among other lesser bodies of water. This thread of thought naturally led me to the visualization of an infinite ocean of the Blood of Christ. And from there, to the notion of a massive tsunami, a mile high, propagating, at three times the speed of sound, toward a person’s body standing on the beach awaiting the impact of the wave.

One can imagine the sensation of being hit by a hypersonic liquid wave of Christ’s blood – pure redemption in action, at least according to the Christian view. A person’s body would be absorbed completely in this shockwave of forgiveness and redemption, merged completely and totally with this tsunami of peace and healing, and experiencing an infinite sense of release and letting go, consciousness drifting, dropping and falling through an infinite and empty and quiet space now and forever. This is a physical analogy for the personal experience of enlightenment – the absolute obliteration of pre-existing worldview, mindset, and consciousness, to be replaced with an abiding experience of oneness with Being, Reality, and All That Is.

Of course, a variation of this visualization can be practiced by replacing “Blood of Christ” with “מים חיים” (mayyim chaim), “pure ocean water”, “fresh water”, “chakra cleansing spiritual energy”, or similar concepts that resonate for you based on your own traditions and beliefs. There’s no need to practice with a spiritual idea that weirds you out.

So yeah, if it wasn’t obvious, Merry Christmas to everyone who celebrates it. And enjoy your quiet day off if you don’t.


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