Standing in for Santa Claus

Image: Sweet Ice Cream Photography

Every time I’m about ready to write (or say) this word, I hesitate…

I’m talking about the ‘S’ word... Spirit.

It’s much like the ‘G’ word (yep, God) in that it comes with a huge backstory and points to a charged meaning for a lot of people.

I fear that people are going to misconstrue my intent of these kinds of words.

Well, I feel I’ve hesitated over that ‘S’ key for far too long. So, I set out to find what my sticking point has been around these words. After some digging, I found it.

I clearly saw this problem to be an entirely internal one than an external one (as is usually the case). It wasn’t that I’ve ever been called out for it — it’s that I was calling myself out every time I went to use it.

The conflict I’ve had with these words is simple:

The big problem with spirituality (and God, while we’re on the topic) is when we speak of them as stand-ins for Santa Claus.

My readers (yes, I’m talking to you) are smart people. Really damn smart. When I start mentioning Spirituality or God, I‘ve feared that you think I’m talking about some kind of anthropomorphic deity likened to Santa Claus. I don’t want you to think I’m speaking of a cosmic wishing well that grants us (and only us — the spiritual ones) wishes.

Although I’m still trying to put my finger on exactly what it is, when I speak of Spirit, I’m talking about something much simpler and far more powerful. I’m talking about the thing that animates us — that beats our hearts and grows our hair and fingernails. I’m speaking of the thing that is aware of and moves this body and mind.

This thing has already given us everything we’ll ever need to live a fulfilling life. Our job is to be cognizant of and use Spirit to bring this truth into reality in our lives.

When we start thinking of God or Spirit as Santa Claus—when we believe its sole purpose is to bring us stuff to make us happy — we sabotage one of the most important, useful things in our lives: Our faith. We create a straw man that will disappoint us mostly every time.

When we pray (wish) for sickness to end, and it doesn’t, we lose faith.

When we pray (wish) for that red car and it doesn’t come, we lose faith.

When we pray (wish) our partners would be more perfect, but they continue to fart in bed (sorry about that, honey), we lose faith.

When we pray (wish) a certain someone doesn’t get elected, and they do, we lose faith.

I could go on…

It’s tricky, though. We can easily get sucked into this belief system because every now and again our requests come true. Our loved one becomes cured or we get that raise we’ve been praying for.

It works! Hallelujah! Santa Claus actually came down the chimney and gave me that thing! I made the nice-list!

But soon enough, after some time, we find ourselves with a lump of coal in our stocking again. And just like that, our faith is gone.

This is the wrong game to play...

Is there ‘something’ working for our good? It sure seems like it. But it seems to work on its own volition. It seems to have a better idea of what’s good for us than we do. Problem is, like any teenager, we think we’re smarter than it is. So we do all sorts of stupid shit to rebel and finagle the system, which usually brings adverse consequences (and a deeper loss of faith).

The game to play is the one that’s impossible to lose...

We’ve already hit the jackpot. Santa already came and gave us a never-depleting Amazon gift card. Only thing is, it doesn’t get us stuff, it gets us new perception, on-demand. It breathes new life into us and propels us forward, despite the circumstances we’re in. It’s the creative force that brings us our best work. And it comes out of the nothingness that is the basis of everything.

We are alive. We have use of thought. We can motor these bodies, feel the contrast between our preferences and aversions, and see things differently than our default settings. We evolve by drawing this latent principle out of ourselves.

Paint with Spirit, don’t supplicate to it.

This is the thing I’m pointing to when I speak of Spirit or God or anything of that nature.

Glad we’re straight on that (or at least I am… for now).


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