Epiphany (Greek: επιφάνεια, “the appearance; miraculous phenomenon”) is a Christian feast intended to celebrate the ‘shining forth’ or revelation of God to mankind in human form, in the person of Jesus. The observance had its origins in the eastern Christian churches, and included the birth of Jesus; the visit of the three Magi, or Wise Men (Caspar, Melchior and Balthasar) who arrived in Bethlehem; and all of Jesus’ childhood events, up to his baptism in the Jordan by John the Baptist. The feast was initially based on, and viewed as a fulfillment of, the Jewish Feast of Lights. This was fixed on January 6.
This is also the day of the year that we celebrate the Incarnation of God into the person of Jesus Christ. We have gone through to get to the light of Epiphany.
January 6, the last day of Christmas or the “12th Days of Christmas”
The Season after the Epiphany extends through 28 February 2017, which is the day before Lent begins. The Season of Epiphany begins on the Epiphany, 6 January, and ends on the Sunday before Ash Wednesday. This season varies in length, depending on the date of Easter Day. Its climax of the season is the Transfiguration on the last Sunday after the Epiphany.
Please read the verses below as the beginning and the end of the Season. We can walk together with Christ in this season of transformation.
Epiphany – Matthew 3:13-17
16 As soon as Jesus was baptized, he went up out of the water. At that moment heaven was opened, and he saw the Spirit of Goddescending like a dove and alighting on him. 17 And a voice from heaven said, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.”
The Transfiguration – Matthew 17:1-13
17 After six days Jesus took with him Peter, James and John the brother of James, and led them up a high mountain by themselves.2 There he was transfigured before them. His face shone like the sun, and his clothes became as white as the light. 3 Just then there appeared before them Moses and Elijah, talking with Jesus.
5 While he was still speaking, a bright cloud covered them, and a voice from the cloud said, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased. Listen to him!”
I wish to invite you for a period of observation during the season of Epiphany. During this time of 8 weeks with your attention focused you allow Spirit to speak to you so you can be changed into His likeness by Transfiguration Sunday.
What are we observing?
- observing the revelations of our divine self
- observing God’s unique spark being expressed thru us
- observing daily how God reveals to us thru our daily activities and interactions who ‘I am’
- observing how thru our actions we ae revealed to ourself
- observing as God juice flows thru us
- observing our uniqueness beyond the routines and the fears
- observing ourself as the manifestation of a divine being
In support of the above, you are invited to do the following:
Pose the following questions to yourself daily:
- In what way am I a magnificent and unique expression of God?
- What qualities do I possess that is of Godlike nature?
- What image of myself do I let go of and what is it that I embrace about myself in order to get closer to God and become more of who I truly am, that is of God?
Becoming the observer
God dwells in the moment where there is no past or future.
“To have greater self-awareness or understanding means to have a better grasp of reality.” Dalai Lama
Being present in the moment means that we make observations of situations without infusing them with emotions and thought.
From a neutral place we pose the questions: What is it? What is happening?
Becoming the observer requires that we do it in a neutral witness manner. It is not enough to just think about our self. When the ego part of the mind thinks about our self it often does it with a mode of comparison. The ego part of the mind will compare us to someone else, or an idealized version of our self we hold in our belief system. Or judge us for not being good enough. All these thoughts are judgements with an agenda. The result of which is that we feel worse.
When you become the observer you will notice that your thoughts arise all by themselves. You will notice that your mind thinks all by itself and you can sit there and listen to it and watch the images it projects.
You notice our thoughts and feelings but you do not engage in them. One of the byproducts of this process is that you realize that you can sit and listen without responding to the initial impulses, or the reactions to those impulses and thoughts. When you are doing this you realize yourself as something separate from these impulses and the mind that is doing the thinking, talking, and reacting. You are calm and conscious of your self while around you the mind is busy with chatter and impulses to do something. You become aware that your mind is separate from you. With this awareness you also become aware that you are separate from your mind.
As a practical exercise, begin sitting still, close your eyes and start noticing all the sensations you feel with each inhale and exhale of your breath.
Then begin to observe all the things that come to pull your attention away from observing the sensation of breathing.
As a next step open your eyes and start looking around. Keep focusing on your breath while doing his. As you are moving your focus from one item to another, name them silently like “a chair”, “a picture”, “colours”, “carpet”. Hold your focus as long as you can.
These will give you a good start for developing the skills of a conscious observer.
Repeat the above as often as you wish. You can experiment with this ’conscious observer game’ while shopping or waiting in line.
The beauty I see in you
Lao Tzu remarked that “at the centre of your being, you have the answer; you know who you are and you know what you want.” Indeed, the source of your greatness runs deep inside of you. And to uncover it, you must first let your guard down and take a good, honest look at who you are.
You may not like all of what you shall discover… but you will be enchanted to see some diamonds shining in the dark.
Start with sitting or standing facing yourself in the mirror. Make eye contact with yourself and maintain it throughout this exercise. Let your breath support you. Then start telling yourself all the beauty you encounter in yourself by saying:
‘The beauty I see in you is …’ say it out loud whatever it is revealed to you in that moment.
Evening or morning pages
As you are playing the above games and making interesting observations take the time to make notes of your discoveries. It can be revealing to read these notes with time!