One of the reasons I prefer the term soul over the term Christ as a reference to our spiritual essence, is because of what happens in our mind when we use the latter, biblical designation. It shoots back to a point in history 2,000 years ago. Likewise, using the combination, Jesus Christ, as representing one who fully achieved a consciousness of his oneness with God suggests an impossible standard of spiritual achievement to most of us. Thinking of Jesus as a man who fully awakened to his soul dissolves this perceived barrier and places his example in a more practical light. If he said, as I believe he implied, I am expressing the completeness of my soul and you can do the same, I would find this much less intimidating than holding, as my highest spiritual aspiration, the attainment of Christ Consciousness. It turns my focus from the man Jesus to my own soul, which is exactly where it needs to be if I’m to make any spiritual headway.
If we can clear away our many preconceptions of the true meaning of the Christmas story, we can see a beautiful depiction of our own path to enlightenment. Mary is presented as a virgin pregnant with a very special child. Joseph is troubled by this, for he knows that he is not the father. He makes the decision to quietly put marriage plans aside and move on with his life, without Mary. In a dream, however, he is told the special circumstances and that he should go ahead with the marriage.
Mary represents the intuitive aspect of our being. It is through Mary that the soul (the Christ child) is born into our field of awareness. Most people believe this birth happens through Joseph, the intellect, through intense study and continued exposure to spiritual ideas. Joseph had to be asleep before he could get an understanding through a dream of what was taking place.
The intellect does not participate in grasping and expressing the soul. Filling Joseph with spiritual ideas is not the goal. Our goal is to allow the soul to emerge into our field of awareness, a process that occurs through our intuitively focused times of quiet meditation. By “quiet” we mean that we are to give Joseph a time out. Let him become the observer rather than a needed participant in the soul’s coming forth.
The self-image is the child of Joseph. This is the senses-based, body-oriented aspect of consciousness that most of us live from. Jesus had brothers and sisters, but none rose to the spiritual level he is assigned. The soul is different from these intellectual offspring. Joseph’s role as a father shifts into that of nurturing the forthcoming into consciousness of the soul. Quoting Psalms, Jesus pointed out that all will be taught by God. Joseph becomes a student of the soul. He is influenced by it rather than it by him.
The intellect inadvertently encases the soul in concepts that become unnatural barriers to its expression. We hear nothing of Joseph in Jesus’ later years, which can represent a condition free of spiritual preconception, one that is fully motivated by the soul.
Many on the spiritual path put away Mary and refuse to take her as our wife. We follow the tradition of bolstering Joseph, thinking that the more spiritual information we cram into our heads, the more spiritually evolved we will be. Nothing could be further from the truth. The so-called Immaculate Conception has already occurred in each of us. The soul is fully present and awaiting passage into expression through that virgin, intuitive channel of Mary. Virginity in this regard, is a pathway untouched by the conceptualizing antics of the intellect.
We’ve all received the announcement from the angelic host. Our desire to be and express more is the soul announcing itself. Our converting this desire into a quest to build the intellect postpones the actual birth of the soul into our field of awareness.
This is the mystery embodied in the Christmas story, a mystery that will remain hidden and unsolved until our Joseph side agrees to let go of the reins and take Mary as our wife.