On the twelfth day of Christmas,
my true love gave to me
twelve drummers drumming
The twelve points of the Apostles’ Creed. Absolutely fitting, as we come to the finish line of our twelve-day sprint through theology, philosophy, and recovery. The Church fathers (doubtless while the Church mothers were tending the kids and the shop) itemized the Creed in 12 bullet points so that said kids and anyone new to the faith could remember them. Don’t think I want to list them here, but basically the Creed declares Jesus to be the Son of God, born of the Virgin Mary, and our rescuer and our protector.
This might be a good time to mention Step Eleven, which I forgot to bring up yesterday. It’s my favorite step, because it links recovery’s essentially dualist theology (God’s up there, you’re down here; God’s perfect, you’re far from it;
God can save you, you can’t save yourself) with one of nondualist Tantra’s main tenets: the Divine is always there/here, we just need to remember/recognize Him/Her/It:
Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God, as we understood Him, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out.
In other words, the sun is always shining, just open the blinds!
Step Twelve follows up by asking us to carry the message to others and be a power of example in our own lives. Gandhi would feel right at home. Think your little words and deeds don’t matter? Remember that diminutive man who rocked a continent and an Empire.
As for drumming, turn to Shiva Nataraj (see Day 9), Godas frenzied dancer. In his upper right hand he holds a drum, whose beat brings the world into being. A grown-up, Hindu, slightly deranged version of the Little Drummer Boy. Drums may be the one instrument that figures in every musical tradition worldwide. We all follow the upbeat, the downbeat, the beat of our own drums, our heartbeats.
As we close in on the Epiphany-the arrival of the three wise men at the manger-it’s time to step back from the story and ask:
How Awake am I?
What is my source, my light, my truth?
Which unwavering star guides me through the darkness?
How long and how far am I willing to travel?
You are every character in the story: the Virgin Mary, the humble wise men whose wisdom pales in the light of Christ’s simple insights, the baby Jesus, and God the Father. Even the Holy Spirit, if that counts as a “character.” You are Judas and the faithful apostles, Pontius Pilate and the Jews who became Christians and those who stayed their course.
You are capable of great things and small, of awesome destructiveness and astounding creativity, of selfishness and generosity, of abysmal darkness and blinding light. The rest of your life has yet to be written. Let’s enter this new year and this new age where we began twelve days ago, with our sights on the Highest!