When I explain to people that I believe in Santa Claus, they usually respond in such a way that tells me that they either think I am joking or that I am intentionally misdirecting them while actually referring to something else. But when I tell them that Santa Claus is more real than ‘we are’ and that I can prove it, these same people often think I’m a bit crazy, or at least somewhat unbalanced. It will probably be useful that I now take the time to validate this point.
First, take a moment and explore your life. Take notice of the things that you do from day to day. Look at your job or career. Observe your home life, your daily chores, errands that need to be run, bills that need to be paid, people you need to call, hobbies that require some attention. Look at all of it. When finished, explore how these things make you feel. How deep do the feelings go? Is your mundane life provocative to your feelings and emotions or are they somewhat neutral? Do you go about completing the tasks of daily, ordinary life, with passion or is most of it accomplished on some sort of mental autopilot? If you are like most people, chances are good that these daily events instill little passion in your mind and cause you to feel even less in your heart. If there is an emotional response to some of it, it is probably a diminishing sense of dissatisfaction or contentment, but hardly anything that will excite the feeling center of our being for any meaningful duration.
Now, take a moment to explore any works of fiction that resonate with you. Perhaps it was a book you read, a movie you saw, or something related to the realm of good story telling. Consider how powerful these emotions and feelings were in relation to your ordinary life. How frequently have you cried or been greatly moved by your ordinary life as opposed to the same frequency of occurrence found in works of fiction? Again, if you are like most people, the drama of theater, music, literature, or any of the arts will inspire a deeper reaction to such content than to that of the mundane. Have you ever wondered why the drama of a story feels stronger than a similar event in our own “real” lives?
We might see two people kissing on a park bench and become annoyed, thinking to ourselves that their lack of discretion in showing us a vivid public display of affection is quite soppy or mushy at best, or we might think , “get a room!” at worst. Yet, if we go to a movie and watch a passionate love scene between two people who are hopelessly in love with each other in much the same way as our “real-life” counterparts, we may identify with the characters, finding the similar display (which may be quite a bit more sensual and graphic than two lovers on a park bench) beautiful, enriching, or exciting. Many people love love-stories, yet when the same love-story enters the realm of the mundane, these same people will often look away from it and not want to see it. Ever wonder why?
The causality of this experience is much deeper than it might appear on the surface, yet the answer is painfully simple. We respond to fiction more passionately, more willingly, and more wholesomely, because at our core, we recognize the archetypal language built into the dramatic act on display in works of art. These archetypes feel stronger than ordinary experience because we know, at the most rudimentary level of the universe, that what is being portrayed is spawned from something much larger than our ordinary world. Archetypes are the language of the Divine. They are the actual “Word of God” that brings everything into creation and they are the elemental building blocks of the spiritual world. Quite simply, we feel them more strongly because they are more real (even though it does not appear this way to our brains) than the illusory facsimiles apparent in our limited mundane range of experience. In a sense, the archetypal language is properly attuned to our souls; not our brains. What we term “ordinary life” has no compatibility with our highest authenticity.
Santa Claus is archetypal. While there may not be a man coming down your chimney each Christmas to bring your children gifts before he takes off into the sky with his flying reindeer to enter some other house, the reality of Santa’s essence lives far and beyond this. Within the cosmic archetypal structure, these events do, in absolute fact, take place. They can be witnessed in art, naturally, but for the mystic, they can be experienced directly. There is a very real world unlike our own world of shadows where heroes like Gandalf conquer evil and lovers like Romeo and Juliet acquire a love eternal. This is a world where what we dream is what is authentic and it can be validated by what we feel and how strongly we feel it.
The Hindu maya is true. Our world is illusory and does not exist in the way we think it does. It is a shadow realm and one that is a poor copy at that. This true creation can be recognized by feeling. The window into this world is art, but in order to pass through the threshold and enter into this world [forever], so as to become a part of it, requires a sacrificial act of total surrender. The shadow will only cease to be cast when the authentic object in question turns away from the reflection and looks into the light.
As long as we live life through our shadows, seeing the shadow as the real world, we are pawns and slaves, with ‘meaninglessness’ taking the role of the slave driver. But when the sun shines everywhere, shadows cannot be cast. Nothing is hidden. So it is with the archetypal stories that make up the entire foundation of our thinking. In order to connect with this reality, we must be prepared to leave our ordinary faculties of perception behind. We must remove ourselves from all bias, all neurological stereotyping and see with perfect clarity that we and the people in our lives are merely crude doppelgangers expressing the archetypal operations of the cosmos.
So what is real?
Real is what affects you. Real is what you feel, not what you do or what is done to you. Real is that core feeling underneath the emotions that emanate from this core. Get in contact with that center, learn the language of God, and you too will see how Santa Claus is far more real than the chilidog you had for dinner last night or the laundry waiting for you to clean in the hamper…Or the ‘self’ that does all that me, myself, and I talk in your head.