"Tis the season to be jolly...... fa la la la la lalalala......" Are you feeling jolly? Me neither..... Who wrote that song and what the hell were they thinking? When did Christmas go from being the season to be jolly to the season for stress, anxiety and depression? Am I alone here? I don't think so.
Finding time for sadhana (spiritual practice) is already hard enough. Add in Christmas shopping, decorating, cooking, entertaining and spiritual practice gets pushed further down the "to do" list. Or does it? What brings you more joy, standing in line at the mall to buy the gift that will eventually be returned anyway or sadhana? What makes you feel jolly, dragging boxes of Christmas decorations out of the attic or flowing through a few sun salutation?
Am I the only one who wonders why we go through so much trouble for something that lasts 1 day? Why don't we put as much effort into our sadhana when the effects of the practice will have a much longer lasting positive effects? We will go to the ends of the earth to get our children the "must have" toy of the year so that they will be happy for an hour. Why don't we go to the ends of the earth to teach our children the importance of daily spiritual practice that will make them happy for a lifetime?
I've been contemplating discipline and dedication lately. I'm reading the yoga sutras and one of the sutras talks about how in order to progress in meditation the practice needs to be done sincerely, systematically and with sustained enthusiasm for a LONG period of time. I think sometimes we modern day yogis and yoginis skip over that part. We practice our yoga (the whole yoga not just asana) until it gets too hard or we get too busy. Our dedication to the practice is challenged during the holiday season. We can use this challenge to practice dedication. After all, the more we practice the stronger our relationship to dedication and discipline becomes.
Do you remember that public service announcement where they show you the egg and then they crack the egg into a hot frying pan? "This is your brain..... And this is your brain on drugs" remember that? Well here's a challenge for you. You already know what happens to your brain during the holidays normally. Why not experiment with a daily spiritual practice during this holiday season and see what happens to your brain on yoga?
Don't get me wrong, I'm not a scrooge or anything. I enjoy a beautifully decorated house and the smiles on my children's faces when they open their gifts from Santa as much as the next guy. The difference is that I'm choosing to keep things in perspective. At least that's my intention. By all means, if fussing with tangled Christmas lights and fighting crowds in the stores makes you want to sing fa la la la lalalalala..... go for it. As for me..... I'll be singing Om Namah Shivaya on my yoga mat.