Surviving the Season of Desires

            Venturing out to the mall to buy
some work clothes for a presentation, I see a hundred other shoppers searching
for bliss on clothes racks, in shelves of sweaters and handbags and at
glass-cased cosmetics counters.  Their
faces, rapt with attention to the perfect thing, twist and frown as they yearn
for the one thing that will fulfill their desires and bring absolute
satisfaction.  What if the key to
unlocking the season’s bliss isn’t some thing?

            After years of living abroad and
experiencing the holidays in France, Italy and Switzerland where it’s okay to
display Christmas crèches with
mangers and light Advent and Hanukkah candles to brighten the season, it seems
the only real hint of anything publically spiritual about the U.S. season is
the word Christmas that still refers to the mass celebrated to mark the birth
of Jesus.  Tolerance of all spiritual
practices is encouraged – in private – in the U.S.  But the openly sanctioned way to celebrate
this season of yearning and desire is through dauntless consumerism.  This secular approach is approved by everyone
from the government and politicians to businesses and social institutions.  “Buy more.” 
This is the season’s mantra in America where Black Friday marks a
contemporary family tradition. This meaning spreads beyond the borders and also
affects others across the globe.

            The spiritual sense of this season,
which includes a vast array of traditions from Jewish celebrations to Wiccan
rituals to mark the solstice and adore nature, remain after thoughts compared
to the main player – the obsession to possess new material things fueled by
rampant desires.  But instead of creating
satisfaction and joy, all of the paring down of the season’s deeper meaning
over the past decades has instead spawned feelings of emptiness, depression,
frustration, unrealistic expectations and anxiety. 

alternatives exists.  This time of year
naturally draws us to move inside, not just indoors out of the cold, but into
the interior of our inner rooms of the soul. 
This time of waning light invites us through festivals of light like
Deepawali and Hanukkah, to light the lamp of wisdom and love within our own

            In a society out of balance with its
extreme emphasis on material things, this time of year marks a perfect occasion
to become conscious of the pull to materialism and a chance to change
course.  Make efforts to appreciate the
many simple things.  Count blessings of
good health, the gift of being alive, and the ability to realize the divine
connection within the chamber of the sacred heart.  This is a good time to pray for peace and
bring it consciously into our lives.  “Let
there be peace in the world and let it begin with me,” is a good motto to

            A heart focused on things and filled
with desires will inevitably meet disappointments.  Instead of fretting about all that’s desired
and not yet acquired, make a list of the things you already have to be grateful
for.  Include the intangibles like good
relationships, the ability to change your mind, the possibility to grow.  Bring the heart and mind home to rest in the
contentment of the present moment.  God
is now here in the form of Truth, Awarenss, Bliss in each individual’s
heart.  All we need is the eyes of love
to find that divine spark.

Debra Moffitt-Leslie, Dec. 2009


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