Monday, December 20, 2010

The Gift That Keeps on Giving

M.M. Note: Adapted from the CSC's Holiday e-newsletter.

How are you doing with your holidays, my friend? ... My own tendency is to get excited early on, and then as the calendar starts counting down toward Christmas Day, I start to feel a bit stressed out!

With two young children in our family, hopes run high. And this year, my father, Roger Mills (co-founder of our non-profit) will not be with us--he'll be singing carols with the angels. He was a huge Christmas fan, a bedrock of our traditions. It won't be the same, for sure.

Then there are money concerns, holiday "Thank You's" to be paid out to teachers, housekeepers, the postman ... How much? ... Send Holiday cards or not? Use wrapping or newspaper? And, let's see, Christmas Eve dinner planning, shopping, special events for the children ... If you are Jewish, Muslim--or otherwise inclined--perhaps you are feeling quite relieved by now!

I recall a very old recording of a Sydney Banks talk, on which Syd described the feelings of contentment and gratitude that are a marker for deeper wisdom to come, for mental health and understanding. He used the analogy of Christmas. "You know that feeling that just hits you when you're walking down the street? Like, Geez, it's Christmas!"

Our holiday gift to you, no matter what holiday you celebrate (or don't), is the simple reminder that holiday spirit is a feeling that comes from within. Already, our family has failed on a number of "external" holiday "agenda items": We have given up on having beautiful and elaborate lights like our neighbors, our Christmas tree is not color coordinated, nor well lit, and has large, empty green patches. Holiday cards have not yet gone out, my husband may be working Christmas Eve, and we have not found a soup kitchen or other wonderful cause to participate in to teach our children important lessons in charity and giving.

Nonetheless, as I give up on these items, one by one, I see that my children are still thrilled with the holiday. They love singing the songs. They love Santa---the whole idea of Christmas. And when I am simply present with what is, the holidays are very pleasant, and spirited, indeed. A few nights ago, carols on the car radio inspired us to drive around our neighborhood admiring the holiday lights, with the children singing at the top of their lungs.

And as John Lennon sung: "Life is what happens to you while you're busy making other plans."

The best gift is the gift we each already have within us--the capacity to enter into a deeper feeling about life at any time: the richness, the guidance, the love, the "holiness" that comes from nowhere else, but from within ourselves. The present of Presence.

Here's hoping that no matter what you celebrate, or don't, you enjoy the quiet moments between "doings," and even during "doings" that are nourishment for our souls, our families, our lives.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

No Curriculum for Truth

Thank you for your posting on your blog. Now [because you did not seem to really answer my question] in your words, if I were a 5-year-old, how would you describe "specifically" the 3 p's to me? Example: "Well lil'guy first of all ... etc etc." and then ...

--Robert Walking Rabbit

[M.M. note: the "3 p's" refer to philosopher Mr. Sydney Banks' Three Principles of Mind, Consciousness and Thought. Please refer to Mr. Banks materials--books, audio files, videos--for more on these.]

Dear Robert,

I had a feeling you would ask this again! I did manage to skirt the issue, did I not?

Mr. Banks used to say, "There is no curriculum" for the 3 Principles--in schools, in communities, or elsewhere.

What this means is that there is no curriculum for Love. I recently posted the following quote on Facebook:

"You have identified yourself with secondhand information. Don't live with secondhand information. Don't live with beliefs. You have the capacity to explore and really find out what actually IS." (--from Jean Klein's dialogues in "Transmission of the Flame")

What Mr. Banks (and Mr. Klein) were trying to say is that if I use a curriculum of "how to teach or share" principles of Truth with a child, or anyone else, then when I am in the moment of sharing--rather than coming from my heart and my own understanding, I am coming from memory, from "secondhand information."

And rather than look deeply into my own heart, which might mean taking a pause, taking a moment out of "doing" and going into reflection ... into inquiry for myself (into the unknown), I, rather, come up with something someone else wrote in a book, or outlined for me to say.

That is not a terrible sin, and there is nothing wrong with sharing information from books, I am just pointing to the fact that we then bypass our own capacity for understanding in favor of someone else's capacity for understanding.

Do you understand?

You wrote to me via e-mail that "I do not know," "I leave that to the professionals." But, why is that, Rob? ... I know that you are speaking to a Kindergarten teacher about all of this, but might not this be a question you could explore together, from a feeling of curiosity and respect?

Or, if you do not feel "ready" to talk with her about such things, again, an invitation to sit with oneself, to gently ask: Why not?

I know you know that each one of us "practitioners" started once where you are. And over time, we began to deeply trust ourselves, our own connection to wisdom.

The truth is that the Principles are alive in every children's story, in everything that happens in every single day (there is thought, there is action based on thought and there is the love, wisdom and compassion that bubbles up in each of us--and in so many stories.) There are as many ways to explain the Principles are there are human beings on the planet--and so much the better if each one of us expresses uniquely.

I know you were thinking you would not get an answer out of me, (and still you have not, eh?) but I encourage you to not leave it at that, not drop the question for yourself, Rob. Perhaps wisdom guides you not to work with this teacher directly yet, but that is not the end of the story.

That is actually the beginning.

With Love,

Your Mystical Mama