Christmas is a different time. Something changes in the environment and in the minds of people as this date is so marked. Some show their joy, others disagree. It's a few days that leave no one indifferent. What happens at Christmas? Or rather, what happens to us at Christmas? What are the emotional implications of Christmas?
Absence, presence, meetings, gifts, commitments, laughs, cries, conflicts, tensions, hypocrisy, solidarity, love, consumerism ... This hodgepodge of concepts could be extended ad infinitum since each one could add their own concepts of Christmas.
- 1 Absences
- 2 The War of Lights and Conditioning
- 3 Real love or hypocrisy?
- 4 Gifts, Commitments and Consumerism
- 5 Final reflection
One of the first highlights of the emotional implications of Christmas are the absences. Those loved ones who are no longer with us. Christmas is a family reunion date. Those who have not seen each other throughout the year are reunited, and those who see each other often bind their ties more. In this way, when someone is missing, their absence is more noticeable.
These absences usually cause sadness, although each process it in their own way. In fact, there are families that stop performing certain acts when one of the relatives is gone. This aspect, born of reluctance and discouragement, could be described as dysfunctional, since it feeds back the circle of sadness. It is best to continue with family traditions. As we all know, "Those who have left would surely love to see us happy".
Other notable but less painful absences are those of the relatives who live far away and they can't meet with the family. In these cases it is best to be aware that the important thing is the welfare of the family member. And that, if we think about it coldly, not because it is Christmas there is more obligation to see each other. Christmas is full of conditioning and we will address this issue throughout the article. There is a very strong conditioning between these dates and the fact of meeting "yes or yes". And when it is not possible, discomfort is created.
The War of Lights and Conditioning
Among the emotional implications of Christmas also comes into play War of Lights. Little by little, more lights are invading us in the city. Christmas lighting is present before the holidays arrive, even in some cities before December. What is the point of this? Consume.
A religious holiday like Christmas has suffered a very strong conditioning to consumerism. On these dates we give to Santa and Reyes. We also increase purchases of sporadic gifts, and above all, in food. We are not satisfied with any type of food, but seafood predominates, the most expensive meats ... We have associated Christmas to consume.
So, the sooner we get into a Christmas atmosphere with the lights, the sooner we start to spend. The funny thing is that a large majority of people know it, but fall into the trap and spend more than in the rest of the year.
Real love or hypocrisy?
Christmas is tender, it makes us better people, more supportive and loving. These emotional implications of Christmas are laudable but fleeting. One may wonder if we really become more loving or it is a false love. Or more than a false love, of a momentary love. From Buddhism, love is the aspiration and desire that all beings be happy and have the causes of happiness.
At Christmas, if we observe sincerely, we only look for ours. We are more generous, more friendly and more empathetic. The point is that we may become more loving, but only for the duration of the holidays. Then each to his own until the following year. The Buddhist Masters, as Lama Rinchen Repeated over and over again: "What you have learned in the monastery, the love and compassion you have practiced, must go beyond the walls of this place and not just stay here. It is easy to be generous in an auspicious environment. The difficult thing is to be in everyday life".
These statements can also lead to the feeling of love and solidarity that encompasses us at Christmas. It is easy to be loving and generous at Christmas, we are conditioned to it. The difficult thing is to be the rest of the year. Once the dates pass the joy, generosity, and "everything that was given" disappears. In this way, more than hypocrisy, as many call this attitude, perhaps it would be more correct to call it "conditioned punctual love".
Gifts, Commitments and Consumerism
The two phrases I hear most at Christmas are two: "And now what gift do I?" Y "I don't like being given anything because they put me in a compromise". As mentioned before Christmas has suffered a very strong conditioning in relation to consumption. Being aware of this we have already taken a step. So, if someone gives us something, it is because they really want to do it, then we should not be obliged to return the gift.
"As long as the general population is passive, apathetic and diverted towards the consumerism or hatred of the vulnerable, the powerful will be able to do whatever they want, and those who survive will stay to contemplate the result."
Similarly, we are not obliged to give anything to anyone. There are very large families that make an economic effort every year to give gifts to the whole family. And it is that one thing is to celebrate a religious holiday and another to leave the pocket shaking. There is no meaning between one thing and the other, right? What connection unites it?
As they claim Henao and Córdoba (2007), "a consumer society is not one in which people consume, ... but the one that has been called consumer society because in it consumption is the central dynamic of social life, and especially the consumption of goods not necessary for survival".Thus, as Henao and Córdoba report, the central dynamic at Christmas, apart from family gatherings, is consumption. Above all, because the vast majority of gifts are not necessary for our survival. These authors also claim that consuming is a set of sociocultural processes. According to them "It is not individual needs that determine what, how and who consume". In this way they show that society and culture determine our consumption behavior, in this case, massive.
Despite the somewhat critical message of this article, it does not mean that at Christmas you can enjoy and have some other details. However, always being aware that it is a social behavior imposed of which we are conscious and unconscious victims.
It is an ideal time for the love we distil and the generosity that we appear to be transferred to the rest of the year. Carrying out loving acts and helping others, no doubt, also has a positive impact on each one of us. So, the emotional implications of Christmas can be fruitful if we keep working.
Matthieu Ricard, molecular biologist and Buddhist monk, was baptized as the happiest man in the world. As a Buddhist, his meditations also focus on love and compassion, and it is scientifically proven that meditating on these two concepts raises levels of happiness. At the brain level the left prefrontal cortex associated with welfare levels.
“I have come to understand that although some people are naturally happier than others, their happiness is still vulnerable and incomplete, and that achieving lasting happiness as a way of being is a skill. It requires a sustained effort to train the mind and develop a set of human qualities, such as inner peace; mindfulness; and altruistic love. "
Thus, Christmas can serve as a kind inspiration to generate in us a seed of kindness and generosity that goes beyond the holidays. And in this way, to be able to benefit all beings.