Thursday, 4 March 2010

How to get a better experience from your better holiday

Imaginations can get tense during the holidays. Expectations wrestle in our minds and lives. Holiday traditions are jammed into already busy days. Instant gratification turns into regret. Debts are accumulated. Or sometimes, the imagination just shuts down and we slog through the holidays doing what other people are expecting of us. What if this season, a spiritual expectation can improve our experience?

A spiritual expectation is different from a worldly expectation. Spiritual expectations equal a productive developing consciousness. Worldly expectations are analogous to a frenzied or idle consciousness that can't get out of itself. For example, if we expect a holiday party to give us joy, joy has just been reduced to time/space, excluding joy from many areas of our life. And, where is joy for those who weren't invited to the party? What happens to joy if we get sick and cannot attend the party? How reliable is joy when we go to the party and have fun, but return home to dirty dishes?

Spiritual expectations are linked to that which is greater. If we expect joy from the sheer fact we radiate joy, we can be joyful whether we are getting ready for a holiday party or not. Aligning our thoughts with the metaphysical fact that joy precedes us-joy is found for others, is found now, at a party, and when we come home to dirty dishes.

Along with joy, spiritual expectations do not depend on any human event, season, or tradition. Admittedly, the holidays can be a grand time however that grandness can extend throughout the year when emanating from unconditional hopes. It is intriguing to improve our holiday season experience and then continue to feel the holiday spirit year round. However, this requires breaking away from the familiar, from the common beliefs of what we have trained ourselves to think about the holidays.

From 21st Century Science and Health the first English revision of Mary Baker Eddy's Science and Health, we read, "The human mind is educated into selfish and sensualistic thinking as it constantly repeats the same thoughts to its self. If we are always talking about the body or persistently anticipating bodily pleasures (or even nervously expecting pain), we are being skillfully trained in the unspiritual. This education is at the expense of spiritual development." Likewise, if we constantly expect temporary enjoyment, or even stress, during the holidays, our spiritual development is neglected.

Many people review their holiday experiences and strive to eliminate worldly expectations by improving their habits and rituals. Less time and money are wasted. More forgiveness and philanthropy is expressed. And, their happiness and security become more stable. A confidence is built up-a confidence that love and joy is found within consciousness, not in a particular holiday or gift or food.

Expectations can be powerful. What we are hoping is generally where our head and heart are being directed. Instead of expecting the holidays to bring good-will, peace, and joy, realize and act on the fact that good-will, peace, and joy will bring a beautiful holiday experience all year round.

Cheryl Petersen advocates spiritual thought before action. Her website offers "21st Century Science and Health," an eBook that explains a practical metaphysical approach to everyday human situations.

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