Thursday, 23 December 2010

In Search of Nativity (by Franco Santoro)

The days of Capricorn, including Christmas, have always been significant times because they marked the entrance into our separated world of a solar deity, a luminous being completely at one with God and a perfect manifestation of our true multidimensional nature on earth. 

Jesus, like other such luminous beings, was either a historical person, a myth or both yet the Christ I refer to here is an eternal multidimensional condition, the representation of our true nature. 

The ego, our separated self, hides our true nature and throughout ages on this planet seekers have tried to transcend this split identity, which is the cause of all pain and evil. The ego in itself is not evil, when it defines the boundaries of the ordinary identity we need in order to cope with everyday reality. Yet the ego is a major calamity when it imprisons us in a separated self, devoid of any connection with others and with the infinity of our being. 

The best way of transcending the ego is through the path of forgiveness, which is a path of true Love, a way of uncovering our connection with God and with who we truly are.

Every human being has the capacity to experience true Love and the presence of God. For many people the term God has lost interest and is even regarded with repulsion and resistance. Among certain groups of people, including also spiritual folks, it is sometimes quite awkward to mention God, since it can easily give a wrong impression and cause prejudices. This is because some concepts of God are largely derived from scriptures and rules that provide a false image of God, one that triggers fear, guilt and judgment. 

This is the god created by the ego, a bogus idol aimed at maintaining our separated world. Yet there is another God, the true God, who is the object of our search. When fear, guilt and judgment are at work the ego is in command and there is no trace of the real God. This God is unconditional Love and is experienced deep in our hearts, in the inner landscape of our being. 

It does not matter what name we use for God. God takes many forms and names, and Christ, Holy Spirit and Jesus are only specific terms among thousands. What counts is obviously the experience of God, rather than the form we employ to address God. 

What most people on the path seek today are not spiritual formalities, doctrines, gurus or creeds, but paths of direct experience. We seek a direct communion with God, a direct experience of Love and the truth regarding who we are. 

Forgiveness is the way to release the separated self, which blocks this experience, and unveil the reality of true Love, who is God Himself. It is a path that involves the systematic resolution of conflicts and dualities, a road that firmly paves the way towards unity and release from all the misery of the separated world.

These days of celebrations are powerful because they can allow us to bring into the present the birth of the Christ and of all luminous beings that have lived on this earth. During this time, as we commemorate the Nativity, we also celebrate the birth of the Christ in us. Jesus is reborn in us when we turn within and unveil our inner source of true Love. Each time we stop and look within, inviting the presence of God, of genuine Love, the Christ is reborn in us and the way of forgiveness resolutely unfolds.

What does it actually mean to have Jesus reborn in us? What does it practically mean to move along the way of forgiveness? At times these terms sound like abstractions or void concepts, susceptible to misunderstanding and confusion, especially when we are caught by dramatic and painful issues in everyday life. Having the Christ reborn in us means giving him permission to lead us out of the misery and pain of separated life. 

This is what forgiveness is about. It is the ongoing practice of identifying ourselves and all there is with only the loving and the lovable, actively expressing it, while letting go of whatever is alien to it. 

“To forgive is merely to remember only the loving thoughts you gave in the past, and those that were given you. All the rest must be forgotten. Forgiveness is a selective remembering, based not on your selection.” (ACIM, T 354)

Jesus is reborn in us, and forgiveness unfolds, when we look within for God, when we remember who we truly are, when we let go of our illusory identity and open up to the luminous mystery within. It is reborn when we choose to see the face of Christ in all our brothers and sisters, including ourselves. 

Here forgiveness is the practice of sending the Good Eye, which is the antonym of the Evil Eye, and involves looking at others through the loving eyes of innocence, without seeing grievances and misery. And in this way we all glow and shine in full beauty, not because something physical has happened, but merely because we can see without the projections of guilt and pain that we had once cast there.

“This brother who stands beside you still seems to be a stranger. You do not know him, and your interpretation of him is very fearful. And you attack him still, to keep what seems to be yourself unharmed. Yet in his hands is your salvation. You see his madness, which you hate because you share it. And all the pity and forgiveness that would heal it gives way to fear. Brothers, you need forgiveness of each other for you will share in madness or in Heaven together. And you and he will raise your eyes in faith together, or not at all.” (ACIM, T-19.IV.D.12).

Practising forgiveness entails scanning our mind and heart, looking for areas of grievances and pain, and offering them as a gift to God. With Capricorn we have the apex of obscurity, separation and density, yet this maximum expression of darkness is followed by the triumph of light. This is the time of the year marking the peak of darkness, when obscurity comes as a gift in order to be blessed by the emerging light.

“The sign of Christmas is a star, a light in darkness. See it not outside yourself, but shining in the Heaven within, and accept it as the sign the time of Christ has come. He comes demanding nothing. No sacrifice of any kind, of anyone, is asked by Him. In His Presence the whole idea of sacrifice loses all meaning. For He is Host to God. And you need but invite Him in Who is there already, by recognising that His Host is One, and no thought alien to His Oneness can abide with Him there.” (ACIM, T15, XI.3)

Forgiveness implies expressing the firm choice of allowing pain and misery to be released. We realise that we do not intend to hold onto our grievances anymore. We become aware that it does not serve us to keep our grievances so as to demonstrate how unfortunate we are, how awfully someone has hurt us, how desperate our life is.

 “This Christmas give the Holy Spirit everything that would hurt you. Let yourself be healed completely that you may join with Him in healing, and let us celebrate our release together by releasing everyone with us. Leave nothing behind, for release is total, and when you have accepted it with me you will give it with me. All pain and sacrifice and littleness will disappear in our relationship, which is as innocent as our relationship with our Father, and as powerful. Pain will be brought to us and disappear in our presence, and without pain there can be no sacrifice. And without sacrifice there love must be.” (ACIM, T15, XI.3)

The essence of the Winter Solstice and Christmas is Love. Spirit is manifested in the separated world through the birth of a luminous human being. Each year during this time the Christ energy slides into the Earth, pervading our world with the seed of unity and the calling to merge with God. Jesus is an example of such embodiment, yet so are we! 

We can all become the manifestation of God, the vehicles of Love in this world. Yet, this is not a solitary enterprise. God and Love are unity, and their manifestation is only feasible when we join together, acknowledging the same Love within each one of us. We cannot see God with our physical eyes, yet we can see our brothers and sisters as they truly are. By unveiling the light and love in them, God will be embodied in them and we will uncover who they truly are. As we see the light in our friends, we learn to acknowledge God expressing through them, and in this way we also learn to become aware of how God operates in us. 

As you come closer to a brother you approach me, and as you withdraw from him I become distant to you. Salvation is a collaborative venture. It cannot be undertaken successfully by those who disengage themselves from the Sonship, because they are disengaging themselves from me. God will come to you only as you will give Him to your brothers. Learn first of them and you will be ready to hear God. That is because the function of Love is one.” (ACIM, T4.VI:7).

Forgiveness is the art of learning to perceive all our relationships as a proof of our holiness, rather than as sources of grievances. It is about letting go of the garbage we have projected on our brothers and sisters, which is the same garbage we have projected on ourselves. It is allowing the starry sky to pierce the obscurity of the winter firmament, shedding blessings on whatever surround us, within and without. 

The entire zodiac can be explored from the perspective of forgiveness, using the 12 different signs as representations of all aspects of life, all the others within and without, letting go of their grievances and supporting their return to the original light they all belong to. And in this way the Christ is born again in us, for it is reborn in everyone and everything. As we enter this holiday season, let’s allow every Christmas tree, every decoration we see in the streets, every time we send or receive a Christmas card, every moment we wish Happy Christmas to someone or receive their holy wishes, to be a confirmation that the Christ has come within us and through us to everyone and all there is.

“Now the God of patience and consolation grant you to be likeminded one toward another according to Christ Jesus. That you may with one mind and one mouth glorify God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore receive you one another, as Christ also received us to the glory of God.” (New Testament, Romans 15:5-7)

Please click here for a Nativity song
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