Boxing Day

                                                                                                                             Photo: Vivian Maier

​Boxing Day is celebrated the day after Christmas in nine countries and recognized in seventeen others. The story goes that Boxing Day originated in England in the Middle Ages. Masters gave Christmas Boxes to their servants the day after Christmas for they, the servants, had worked on Christmas. The servants then went on holiday taking their Boxes to their families. So too, at some point, alms Boxes turned up in local parishes where monies were collected and given to the poor on the day following Christmas. This practice became part of Boxing Day. In our times this day is celebrated by giving gifts to tradesmen, mail carriers, doormen, porters and others in service.

Though my country doesn’t celebrate Boxing Day the gesture and sentiments touch me deeply: An echo of my British ancestry perhaps. In my own life the gifts I give those working in the laundry, in the shoe repair, to the receptionist at the medical office, the checker at the market, and so on always gives me the greatest pleasure and joy—more so than other giving.

In our world those with advantage are borne on the backs of the less advantaged: Those having less expend their energies laboring for and enabling those with more. Lower class youth fight and die in wars benefitting the higher classes. In nature greater trees crowd out lesser ones. And so it goes ad infinitum in all kingdoms: animal, mineral, vegetable and fungi.

Life lives on Life! This is an integral design element of our Cosmos. Experiencing pressures and conflicts are inescapable artifacts of our Being—of living. Our Cosmos is annihilation and creation-based: it expands and contracts: Forces and countervailing forces form our basic Cosmic architecture. We experience the high and low pressures of these forces in a myriad forms constantly: Stress and pressure are inherent in living. Angst and suffering are not.

Angst and suffering issue from us elevating the status and value of one Life form above another—from elevating aspects of ourselves above others. We ourselves create angst and suffering. They are after-market add-ons. They are distinct from Cosmic design. They are a consequence of us failing to see into the Mystery’s realities. Yet nothing is hidden from us. Nothing.

My point is not about out there though. Rather, we’ve judged parts of our own selves as less worthy, less beautiful, less correct or relevant than other parts. We’ve given them the cold shoulder—we’ve tried to annihilate them. Yet we fancy others bits. Judging them better. Worthy. We like these things about ourselves. We expand them all the while forgetting they are borne by the disliked parts doing the heavy lifting.

Some say hierarchy is the problem. To me, hierarchy is structural. Its isn’t the problem. Rather, the rub lies in our failure to Love Life—the Whole of it—within ourselves—and the entirety of it out there. We love only the forces of the lovely. To remove angst and suffering we need also to express the love of kindness, compassion, generosity and graciousness within ourselves, and with others. We need to do so while in the throes of the forces of difficulty.

Our failing to Love comes from our failing to see into the Mystery. Our failing to see comes from failing to Love. A cyclic thing.

Let’s go on! Let’s arrange a belated Boxing Day Christmas Gift Box of Love for those inservice inside ourselves. Let’s interrupt the vicious cycle.