I say first thoughts because I think this needs some real consideration, and I hope to write more on the subject fairly soon.
That being said, the basic idea, I think, is that the holidays often go hand in hand, uncomfortably, with alcohol. Other drugs, too, I’d imagine, but alcohol the most. At least in this time and place, 2014 America. And that creates problems. If people were to drink more carefully, as part of being on the path, that would be good- less depression, fewer car accidents, less violence, more general societal harmony.
Once again, other drugs probably do get used more during the so called holiday season here, as big gatherings happen, as depression and self medication happen, but I don’t think they compare to the pervasiveness and destructiveness of alcohol.
Before I digress somewhat, I just want to emphasize that main, simple point. Not that everyone should suddenly stop drinking, but that, for millions of people, I think it’s possible that alcohol is an uncomfortable, unhealthy part of this season, and it does not have to be. I encourage people during this time of year to really seriously think about how they want to observe their holidays. There’s very little that’s without choice there. For a long time, I hated this time of year, for many reasons. It was depressing. I no longer feel that way, and I sincerely hope that other people can find ways to not hate the holidays. So much neurosis seems to revolve around them, and I think this could, maybe, be changed a little. It’s not set in stone that holidays be festivals of stress, negative emotion, materialism, and discord. So if you have a habit of drinking alcohol know first, that I do imbibe sometimes, and I’m not condemning it altogether, and second, that it could be a part of whatever holiday issues you might be having.
The holidays have potential. They could be enjoyed. There’s so much group energy. So much atmosphere. I think, also, that often, not always, but often, when things have large group participation, like community events, like popular culture, there is something to them. Don’t dismiss things just because they’re popular, or a tradition. There might be something to them. On top of that, we can enjoy these magnets of energy for our own purposes, our own path. When I think about celebrating, I interpret the holidays in terms of my study, my path as a yogi. Isn’t there an element of ancestor worship to thanksgiving? That seems reasonable, so what can I do with that? The question of the holidays becomes one of recognizing, transforming, and utilizing the energies that are already there.