There is a tendency among some Christians to hold the dogma of their religion so tightly that its relevance is lost to non-believers.
Alan Watts, the Buddhist scholar, wrote of the shared symbolism of a union between opposites in many religions including Christianity. It is relevant to the agnostic as well.
He wrote that as a man and woman unite to produce a child, in Christianity a ‘man must be born anew of water and the Spirit’. In these words, he notes that the Holy Ghost is Spirit and Mary (from the Latin word, mare (sea, water) is the world, in the joining of these two is the birth of Christ.
The realization of Christ within (or Buddha within, Tao within, Krishna within) is in each instance the result of a bringing together of opposites, of subject and object, ego and universe, of the One behind the Many, to create the ‘Holy Child’. (Become What You Are, Watts, 2003). To an agnostic, this union may reveal Truth or Knowledge; to the Christian, God; to the Buddhist, Ultimate Reality.
Seeing Christ in this broader context unites us all in celebration on Christmas day.
We may discover Christ or Tao or Buddha or Krishna or Truth if we set on a quest to look but are not bounded by dogma such that it blinds our ability to see. Discovering such Truth cannot be taught or willed into existence; it is always present and merely requires an open mind to glimpse it.
Opening the mind to discovery is perhaps the single most relevant thing we can do, for so often we live behind closed doors, narrow corridors, and high walls that block our view. Chipping away at our barriers requires that we see their presence (a challenge in itself). I think of my barriers of mind as large brick walls built on either side of a narrow path (along which I often find myself). But, when I look carefully at the walls, I always notice a small chip or loose brick through which a glimmer of sunshine breaks through, with just enough light to direct my eye to the spot. I can see on the other side of the wall an infinitely large garden of beauty – green and vibrantly changing.
Knocking down the barriers of mind may open the way to this garden, but don’t be deceived, for once inside, small hidden walls are apt to be discovered.
Perhaps the great quest in life is to discover this constancy – to know this continuing process of change. With one discovery comes another question. The game is infinite.
Yet in the discovery, perhaps Christ is Born, Buddha Enlightened, the Tao followed, and Truth revealed.