Once again, the holiday season is upon us. For most, this season carries with it a wide range of emotions. It’s a time to sit back and enjoy the love we feel for one another. Families come together, festivities abound, and the feeling of spirituality is in the air. It’s also a time we reflect on our lives and relationships. Not only do we feel our gratitude, but we also feel our disappointments and issues, as well as those of our loved ones.
We all have our belief systems. They include our ideals, longings, and judgments. When the family gets together, individuals cannot help but project onto one another. When others project their issues onto us, we feel measured. As we feel measured, so too we measure. We see some people as successful and others as lacking. In this time of annual reflection, all feelings are heightened.
The question is what to do with them. Suggestions abound. Denial is a popular one. Bury your head in the sand and try to push out everything except feelings of joy that are traditionally supposed to accompany the season. Others take on a philosophical perspective, acknowledging this is just how life is. There is no one appropriate technique.
Oftentimes what we do is dictated by the nature of our psyche. Some dissociate, trying to feel nothing or avoiding being part of the dynamic. Others reach out in an attempt to commune with their loved ones. Some suppress any uncomfortable feelings and take on a jovial persona. Others try to control the situation, feeling affirmed by their convictions and evaluation of everyone and everything around them. Still others embrace a neat and tidy perspective where everything is fine. What is not fine is nicely tucked away in an orderly place beyond emotion. Needless to say, with such a spectrum of dynamics projected onto one another, family get-togethers can become quite a complex ordeal. This is neither right nor wrong; it is simply the state of human affairs.
It is only natural to ask how to deal with it all. For starters, I would suggest dealing with it naturally. What is the alternative? To deal with it unnaturally? If you look at many suggested techniques, you will soon recognize that they tend to be unnatural. It is natural to feel periods of spiritual appreciation, joy, sadness, and even depression.
During this holiday season, realize that a full range of emotions will run through you. There will be times of comfort, joy, adoration, appreciation, pride, glee, nostalgia, reverence, devotion, love, and happiness. There will be times of sadness, unrequited love, anger, hurt, resentment, disappointment, and depression. It is only natural and human to have diverse feelings. After all, what exhausts us is the suppression of the natural flow of our own being. To depress your feelings creates depression. Allow yourself to live naturally.
Unification of being is when all things come together into a seamless whole. Keep in mind that the experience of unification is called bliss. Unification means unification of all things; it is not just unification with everything you like and the annihilation of everything else. Polar opposites merge into oneness (happy/sad, mean/kind, love/hate, war/peace). Taken as an ideal, this can seem most confusing, but to experience it as the underlying essence of life is fulfillment.
As we begin to move in that direction of unification, it is experienced as sometimes bitter and sometimes sweet, and excess of either brings imbalance. As you allow yourself to move through life, all polar opposites begin to unify within the depth of your being and your relationship with the wholeness of life evolves. My suggestion throughout life, but particularly throughout this holiday season, is to be with what you are feeling. In so doing, your feelings will flow through you most naturally and become a path of healing. Suppression and overindulgence alike bring imbalance. If there is something within you that you try to hold away, it will only stay with you longer. If you attempt to cling only to those things which you feel are desirable, the denial of aspects within yourself will, over time, fester.
I would encourage you to use the holiday season as a technique to cultivate the very essence of the holiday season. That essence is unity—the divinity, holiness, and sanctity of unity. My prayer for you this holiday season is as always: that your life moves in the direction of greater wholeness, unification, and wisdom. These are all one and the same. They are the spirit of the holiday season.
© Michael Mamas, 12/07