“Full of peace and trust and love
You come to us from high above,
From far below and deep within
Where all the miracles of life begin…”
Amid the shrieks of laughter and the sound of presents opening, my attention turned to the green branches and colored lights of the Christmas tree. I thought to see a face hidden behind a few of the lower branches and my eyes stared there for a long time. It was indistinguishable whether the sweet face was male or female. I could not tell the nationality or origin of the smiling features. My mind traveled to a manger in a faraway cave and thought about a newborn life lying there in the stillness of the night. I thought: This must be the moment of holiday connection that I longed for in this busy whirl of consumer frenzy and commercial sentiment. Letting myself go further in the feeling I suddenly heard a distant flute being played.
I saw the image of another child being carried in a basket through a tumultuous midnight thunderstorm. This child’s father carried his wide-eyed newborn through the vigorous splashing waters of a sacred river in the hope that his child will live out his destiny and rule over the land. I felt the trusting heart of the father as another man with a gentle but firm face greeted him on the opposite shore. He received the basket and watched the first man disappear back into the waves to return to the prison where he was carefully watched. I observed this child’s life unfold. He grew up as a cowherd and filled his village with poetry, songs and stories to expand their imagination and celebrate life. He came to spread the awareness of a higher state of being. I saw this child’s fearlessness as he prepared himself to rule his kingdom. After a short while the image of him faded.
I then saw a woman weeping near a great body of water. She hugged and kissed her baby and reluctantly placed the infant into a floating basket. She silently watched the flowing waters after settling the child and feeding him for the last time. Her heart embodied the faith that he might embrace a greater destiny than was in store for her and her people. She held the vision that there was more to life than mere survival and self-preservation. She believed in a freedom that many others had lost sight of.
In that instant, I heard my name being called and I came back to the Christmas celebration. I was handed a gift bag with a picture of Tigger and Winnie the Pooh on one side. It was filled with wonderful surprises. I smiled at the child who was handing it to me. I quickly gazed back at the tree and saw only the colored lights.
Later, back at my apartment before closing my eyes to sleep, I thought about the image of the child in the branches. I thought about all the endless stories and legends that were taught to me about Jesus, Krishna and Moses. I don’t really know if the stories are historically accurate. Yet I do know that the spirit of these stories inspired generations and civilizations through tremendous obstacles. These stories activate the imagination to live a heroic and creative life. I do know that what these babies grew up to teach nourishes my heart. I do know that life is more than earning a living, accumulating wealth and battling the onslaught of an anxious race eager for fulfillment. I do know that now, more than ever is the time to wholly embrace the ancient lessons of inner peace to manifest an abundant and happy life. The future of each one of us depends on our capacity to understand our relationship with the Universe. Perhaps the unknown face in the branches waits to be identified in a unique way by each of us.
PhotoArt: "Child in the Branches" ("Heart of Child" series)
Adapted from my original "Womb of Imagination":
Song Lyrics: "In Love this Much"