My mother and I used to plan our Christmas shopping days like two generals preparing for a military campaign. We’d lay out flyers, ads and coupons on the floor and map out our goals for each store, each of which was grouped by location, all of which was coordinated with a list of which gifts to buy for whom.
Armed with our agenda, we’d set out for the day. Part of the strategy included procuring the right gift at the lowest price. In those pre-Internet days, we’d often visit two or three stores and compare prices until we felt reasonably certain we had found the best deal possible. Only then would we make the purchase. Sometimes these shopping days would last 10-12 hours. We’d come home exhausted but satisfied that we’d done well.
I wonder if there’s some aspect of this approach to Christmas shopping that permeates other areas of life. Do we hold back a part of ourselves, never “making the purchase”, because somewhere out there is still that “best deal possible”?
What if, however, we already have the best deal possible? What if the friends, partner, job, home, etc., we have right now are exactly what we need? Rather than continually search for the best deal possible anywhere for anyone, can we recognize when we already have exactly who and what we need here and now?
And what if this yearning for the best deal possible is, at its root, really a spiritual matter?
What we are ultimately yearning for are love, happiness, self-acceptance, and inner peace. These graces can’t be bought or sold. It is the essence of all spiritual practice to cultivate an awareness that they already and only reside within us.
Will we choose to trust that we are unconditionally lovable and loved throughout eternity? Will we open to the wellspring of gratitude so that all the glory of the Universe is available to us every moment? Will we cultivate self-acceptance and inner peace so that our daily successes and failure rarely rattle our core sense of identity?
When we invest ourselves wholeheartedly in these inner graces, we no longer need fantasy because our outer experience begins to mirror our inner reality. And it is in our inner reality that we discover we’ve had the best deal possible all along.