A Season for Awakening

This season, as in the previous two, I begin each morning in Advent, by meditating on the online devotional, "Follow the Star."

I have been pondering some of Michelle Thomas Bush's reflections this week, but this one, in particular, struck a chord:

"Keep awake! We are an over-caffeinated community with 6 hour energy drinks, who are in the practice of staying up late. The local coffee shop knows what we will order when we walk through the door. Facebook and Xbox Live can keep us up for hours on end. We know how to stay awake.

Keep awake! It is a call to be alert to the presence of God. We may be wide awake, but have we fallen asleep in our spiritual life? We are in charge and waiting for the return of our Master. Our God is coming! This is a wake up call!"

Yes - we do know how to stay awake on a physical level - perhaps willing ourselves so - but we do so without being fully present, attentive, or mindful.

We know how to stay awake and multi-task. But, are we awake in our hearts and our souls? Are we brimming with a "joie de vivre?" Do we experience each moment as a gift and a miracle? And are we grateful for those moments?

When the Buddha became enlightened - he did not say - "I am enlightened." He said - "I am awake."

When Thelma and Louise were nearing the climactic end to their journey evading the law in that quintessential movie of early 90's, what does one of them say, after realizing that she had been more alive in the few days preceding their flight? Simply, "I am awake."

In 2005, a year that was pivotal for me in many ways, I wrote a poem acknowledging - that I felt I was awake.

This season, let us strive to be more awake - and aware of all the things that pull us out of our center - every meaningless distraction we encounter. Let us take this time - regardless of our our tradition - to find the inner stillness within and reflect on the true meaning of life.

I have chosen to purge all that is not part of the true meaning of the season out of my observance of Advent and Christmas this year, starting with ornaments and decorations that do not reflect the "reason for the season." But, most especially, I have chosen to awaken more deeply to the gift of life, and to try to carry the beauty, and spirit that is ignited at this time of the year, into every day of the coming year.

Follow the Star


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