Merry Christmas, everyone!
For me, celebrating Christmas is about celebrating the Prince of Peace, Jesus Christ. I am not a “Christian,” just as I am not a “Buddhist” or a “Sufi.” As a Yogi, however, I am a student of Buddha’s, Christ’s, and Rumi’s teachings as these three were Yogis if anyone could ever be called a Yogi. So in a sense, you could say I am a Christian, a Buddhist, and a Sufi, depending on how you define these terms.
Jesus is many things to many people, and for me also, he represents many things. First, he is the man Jesus (Yeshua), a Jew, who lived on this earth and who was an incredible teacher who’s teaching was widely misunderstood both in his time and throughout history. Yeshua was a spiritual revolutionary, a ‘Chakravartin’ in Sanskrit, who lived in a time and place that did not take kindly to religious revolutionaries. He hung out with the ‘wrong kind of people’ drinking wine at parties and taught to love all, forgive, and not to judge; a few lessons that humanity has yet to learn. In my opinion, he taught these things because these are the things that lead to peace, love, and joy, something we all want and crave and yet eludes most of us.
The Prince of Peace also represents ‘the Christ,’ the ‘anointed one,’ the divinity in all. The principle that leads to the salvation of your soul and entry into the ‘Kingdom of Heaven.’ These are true spiritual statements, not just for Christians, but for all. One only has to understand the esoteric symbolism of these words to see their spiritual truth. The above usually is read as a statement about the future. If you accept Jesus Christ into your “spiritual heart” while alive, then when you die, you go to Heaven. However, all real spiritual teaching is eternal. What that means is it is always 100% true, at any moment, and even when time itself does not exist. This means you can enter the Kingdom of Heaven right here, right now.
However, one must accept Christ into one’s heart to be ‘saved’ and enter the Kingdom of Heaven. What does this mean? Well, here’s a clue. From Luke 12:20-21, “The kingdom of God is not coming with things that can be observed; nor will they say, ‘Look, here it is!’ or ‘There it is!’. For, in fact, the kingdom of God is among you.” From my study of spirituality across traditions to ‘accept Christ into your spiritual heart,’ you must see that the same Christ that was in Jesus lives in you. You must know the world as he did. You must learn to love, forgive, and suspend your judgment in all cases. You must learn to live in the world and not be a creation of it.
In my opinion, what made Jesus the spiritual teacher so special is that he fully knew the Christ within him and all things. He tried to teach others to see what he saw, but was mostly unsuccessful, even with his closest followers, the disciples. This occurrence makes sense as spiritual maturity and insight usually take a long time for people, and Jesus did not have much time with his disciples or on this planet.
Unfortunately, today, many people use the Prince of Peace’s teaching as a source and excuse for upset, outrage, anger, and judgment. They think that they must ‘fight for peace’ not realizing that they already have it. If only they could understand what Yeshua, that young rabbi who lived all those years ago, was trying to teach.
In the spirit of peace, joy, and giving, I want to share a recording I made this past fall on the 2019 Mahāpatha Yoga Fall Retreat. One of my closest friends turned student, Matt McKenny, created and performed live ambient music for us while we did an extended Yin Yoga practice on Friday evening.
Matt is about as close to family as I have in Georgia, and he does a lot behind the scenes to support the Mahāpatha Yoga community like hosting and maintaining the website, creating printed materials, and playing music for events like this one, all without expecting or asking for compensation. Matt is an excellent example to all of us of what Seva or ‘selfless service’ looks like.
In closing, I pray for the birth of Christ in your spiritual heart, which leads to peace, love, and joy, not in the next life, but this one. It is already there, and just having faith that it is there brings you one step closer to finding it.
May peace be with you,
-Douglas Johnson E-RYT 500, YACEP