Christmas Eve Reflections

Christmas Eve Day Sangha

Michael guided our reflections this morning, with a focus on faith or trust, with an aim toward looking into what it is that we trust in ourselves, and what we have learned not to trust.

The holidays present us with the apparent demand that we trust in religious faith, or communal celebratory spirit, and it can be useful to have a balance against that pressure, to allow us to look into our selves, and find what, amid the changing surfaces of life, seems constantly reliable. Strategies for protecting that space are the subject of this poem by Naomi Shihab Nye:

The Art of Disappearing.

When they say Don’t I know you? say no.

When they invite you to the party

remember what parties are like

before answering.

Someone telling you in a loud voice

they once wrote a poem.

Greasy sausage balls on a paper plate.

Then reply.

If they say we should get together.

say why? It’s not that you don’t love them any more.

You’re trying to remember something

too important to forget.


The monastery bell at twilight.

Tell them you have a new project.

It will never be finished.

When someone recognizes you in a grocery store

nod briefly and become a cabbage.

When someone you haven’t seen in ten years

appears at the door,

don’t start singing him all your new songs.

You will never catch up.

Walk around feeling like a leaf.

Know you could tumble any second.

Then decide what to do with your time.

The process of establishing boundaries sketched in, we then turned to contemplate what it is we might trust all the way down. Prompting our conversation on this subject was an 11 minute video by spiritual teacher Gangaji. The particular talk that we watched is not available for circulation, but there are plenty of talks on trust by Gangaji available on YouTube. Here’s a link to a talk she gave introducing a retreat devoted to the topic.

Our conversation ranged broadly, anchored by a respect for right wisdom about how best to spend our time to cultivate a new birth in our own lives.