Many feel a pressing need to get away from it all and quite literally to lie on a beach during the Christmas holiday period. This isn't a selfish desire, because a holiday break's positive health effects are backed up by research, as well as being intuitively good for your mental, physical and spiritual health.
It could also be argued that no great discovery or innovation made in human history has been made without considerable "thinking time" in an environment where mental and spiritual development can occur unimpeded by the demands on time by colleagues, relatives and friends.
The epic blockbuster now showing, Exodus: Gods and Kings, opens with the hero Moses dealing with the heavy demands of family and national politics within Pharaoh's palace, and blissfully unaware of the injustices occurring to his kinsfolk. Not until a series of circumstances opened his eyes and forced him to detach himself from this life, did he have the time to ponder his real life purpose.
Although the director, Ridley Scott, may not have understood or felt able to develop many of the underpinning spiritual themes in Moses' story, an inspired reading of the Bible demotes a merely historical rendering in exchange for its more significant spiritual meaning.
For instance, when Moses was banished from Egyptian society, his time-out spent in a humbling shepherd's role enabled him to begin to understand his relationship to the divine – to become more thoughtful and less prejudiced, to choose to become more compassionate, to forgive himself and others, and to confront a fear of speaking in public, so that he was ready when it was time to "step up to the plate." I'm sure most of us could draw parallels in our own lives, here.
The Ten Commandments, the culmination of Moses' life work, are unique but include universal principles which can be glimpsed in the teachings of every religion or moral system in practice today: it's best and kindest if we honour our mum and dad, we shouldn't kill people or hurt each other in any way, or ourselves by fretting over other's possessions or achievements.
The first few Commandments explain the nature of God as One and All and are what sets them apart. Moses glimpsed that the divine was not a man-like being (or a malevolent little boy as depicted in the movie) but a non-human Mind or Spirit, and his people would do better if they acted from that premise, accepting that their own makeup was more spiritual than material. A better understanding of God would keep them safe, no matter what. And it did! However, finding words to explain the universe, or God, to them was difficult back then and still is today.
Moses' quintessential life purpose is set forth uniquely by American religious reformer, Mary Baker Eddy: "Moses advanced a nation to the worship of God in Spirit instead of matter, and illustrated the grand human capacities of being bestowed by immortal Mind." (Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures)
Cell biologist, Dr Bruce Lipton, keynote speaker at the Uplift Festival held at Byron Bay last weekend, also had a transformational experience, when he was elbowed out of the scientific world to make way for the emerging Darwinian matter-based, biochemical view of reality. Through the study of quantum physics, he and many other scientists now acknowledge an epigenetic (above genetics) model.
In his talk, he clarified that it's not a random evolution of material organisations we are experiencing here on earth, but an evolution of consciousness that is really occurring. Lipton's scientifically-geared references to the realism of The Matrix, our bodies likened to virtual reality suits and our minds to computer chips are interesting viewing. His account of when he realised that 95% of the time we are reacting to false education and his "aha moment" that we are immortal and masters of our genes, can't help but modify your view of reality.
The man who knew and demonstrated best our essential spiritual nature lived over 2000 years ago. Many in Australia and around the world celebrate his birth each year on 25 December.
Jesus' view of reality as only spiritual and based in divine Love, or heaven already on earth, couldn't help but revolutionise. It effortlessly instigated social change, moderated the weather, healed mental and physical sickness; and, supplied immediate needs.
However, he didn't achieve this state of thought without regularly taking time out. So often the Bible states that he went by himself or with his disciples "into a mountain" to pray, to meditate on God's spiritual idea, man and the universe.
For me, Mary Baker Eddy pre-eminently grasped his world view, and her insights continue to transform lives today. Regarding Christmas and health, she wrote, "The true spirit of Christmas elevates medicine to Mind; it casts out evils, heals the sick, raises the dormant faculties, appeals to all conditions, and supplies every need of man."
As we celebrate His great gift to humanity, take precious time this holiday season to renew, rejuvenate, recharge, revive, repair, and consider rekindling your true spirit.