Like many children, my favorite holiday was Christmas. It had little to do with religious significance. Rather, it was the jolly North Polian named Santa. Santa no-middle-name Clause. Who both awed and baffled me.
While I hadn’t yet honed any deductive reasoning prowess, the implausibility of delivering so many gifts in one night perplexed my young mind. But oh how I treasured his annual visits! Sometimes he’d bring my favorite candy (Snickers) or a few jigsaw puzzles and often a batch of books. How did this astonishing world traveler know exactly what I wanted?
I’m not entirely certain when I learned the truth. Nor do I recall if I was saddened by the loss of such an omnipotent gift-giver or relieved that the laws of physics were not being violated. But what I certainly comprehended is that thoughts of Santa were warm and comforting while they held meaning for me.
Which brings us to a discussion of prayer, and what it means to believe in a supernatural entity watching over us, selectively delivering offerings of peace, health, wealth, or even parking spaces.
Are our entreaties worthless, falling on deafly non-existent ears?
Like a belief in Santa Clause, prayer is most definitely not without merit so long as the concept holds meaning and value for us.
But once we’re ready to advance on our spiritual journey, we understand the meaning behind A Course in Miracles’ counsel that “I have given everything all the meaning it has for me.” It’s at this point we recognize all our beliefs are designed to keep attention rooted in a world of bodies, separate from other bodies, each seeking to fill perceived lacks. Otherwise known as the wrong-mind of the ego thought system.
Yet awareness of the ego and looking at its suppositions with gentleness and kindness leads to an extraordinary discovery. We step out of the ego and into the right-mind of heaven, coming face-to-face with … Santa Clause. But not a corpulent, cheerful man dressed in red. This “Santa” is far, far more magnanimous. He delivers gifts every night and day. And something much more satisfying than Snickers: glorious, exquisite peace. A peace that “surpasses all understanding.”
But this benevolent bestower is not an entity. It has no existence nor awareness. It’s a nameless, formless, infinite presence of is-ness. And when we choose against the ego for the right mind, in that moment we reflect the limitless joy of heaven; we become one with all.
But until we’re ready for such a revelation, we can take comfort in Francis Pharcellus Church’s wonderful 1897 essay, “Yes Virginia, there is a Santa Clause.” And then, we can use our once limiting perspectives to help transcend them into experiencing beatific bliss.
Join me in Thursday’s class where we’ll explore the nature of belief, and steps we can take to receive the most precious present, perfect peace. I look forward to seeing you then.