The Festive Season is kicking in once again and many of us are anticipating travelling for Christmas holidays and to visit family.
But it won’t always be plain sailing! Whether it’s by coach, train, plane or car we are affected by the actions of others – drivers, schedulers, pilots, baggage handlers, air attendants, bus drivers, cruise and ferry captains and our fellow travellers.
I’ve had my fair share of travel difficulties over the years. I’ve missed interstate meetings because of flight delays, have stood for hours in queues, lost luggage, weathered rough seas, battled with tired children, been stuck in traffic jams and lost my patience on more than one occasion.
However, although travelling can be frustrating at times, I’m finding there are always affirmative, upbeat things to notice: the excited faces of children, the courtesy of others, the patience of parents and travel staff.
And I’m increasingly realising that the presence of good in human affairs is not something that happens by mere accident, in a universe of chance. It is actually evidence that the underlying power that governs the universe is Love.
A couple of years ago, I wrote of a travel situation I resolved through understanding this, when dealing with a difficult flight attendant. By going out of my way to love her I not only changed my experience but also found that a headache I had was simultaneously healed.
In contrast, on a recent interstate short-break I was delighted and thankful not to experience a single hold-up, flight delay, argument or problem of any description.
Had I done something differently?
Yes, I feel I had. The truth is that I’m learning the more I consciously acknowledge the power of divine Love, governing me and everyone, the more harmony I experience. And that is what I had been doing on this trip – acknowledging and understanding that good governs in my life – not because of any personal entitlement, but because of the availability of that same abundant good for everyone.
I have also been learning that whenever we glimpse the truth about man’s divine nature, we have, in effect felt the Christ – “the true idea voicing good, the divine message from God to men…” – as spiritual thought-leader Mary Baker Eddy defines the Christ in Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures.
That voice speaks to everyone, and at all times of the year. When we have done the right thing instead of the wrong, we have been directed by the Christ. When we have been patient instead of irritable, we have conceded to the dynamism of the Christ. When we have made a sound choice among several tempting options we have listened to the Christ and we have seen the true love that’s characteristic of Christianity in action. (See The love and dynamism of the Christ, by Geoffrey Barratt)
During the Christmas Season many of us revisit the life of Jesus, who so perfectly demonstrated this power of the Christ to bring out harmony in our lives. The wonder of his virgin birth was not an isolated miracle but evidence of a spiritual law in operation that was confirmed by the healing works that animated his adult life. Today, more and more people are recognising that his life, although unique and especially blessed, points to a way of living and thinking that’s actually available to each of us.
Indeed, seeing beyond the limits of nationalism and religiosity to the universal Christ is at the heart of Christianity. Truly supranational, the message of the Christ in Jesus’ words was to be “of one mind,” “love your enemies,” “bless them that curse you,” and realise “the kingdom of God is within you” and within all.
From this viewpoint, we can claim that spiritual nature Jesus showed us as our own true nature, and that of every man, woman and child that we meet in our travels this Christmas.
There’s actually no secret to trouble-free travel. It may largely depend on how we think of ourselves and others.
This article was first published by APN news on the Sunshine Coast Daily.