After an hour delay waiting for the plane to arrive in San Francisco, the anxious passengers rushing off to celebrate Christmas with their families finally boarded the crowded 747 for Chicago.

Shortly after the push back the captain announced on the PA, "I'm sorry ladies and gentleman, we are having trouble with our positive bag match. We will need to search the baggage compartment to find the bag of the missing passenger." This caused another half hour delay.

As the jumbo was taxiing down the runway, the Captain once again announced, "I'm sorry ladies and gentleman, but Chicago air traffic control has informed us that due to bad weather conditions, they have to space the arrival of each plane and have given us a wheels up time of forty minutes." Groans echoed throughout the cabin in response to this announcement, and call lights began ringing left and right with people wanting to know about their connections.

Upon arrival two hours behind schedule, the purser announced, "In the spirit of the season, please exercise kindness to your fellow passengers who have tight connections by remaining in your seats until those who are in a hurry have exited."

As the harried travelers struggled to retrieve bags from overhead bins, two men got into a shoving match, whereupon several people began shouting angrily and pushing each other.

Out on the jetway, frazzled parents with infants waited for strollers, only to be informed by the rampman, "Sorry folks, the storage compartment is frozen shut." At the baggage carousel, the announcement came over the PA: "Due to lightening on the tarmac, the baggage handlers are unable to unload your luggage."
Frantic passengers shoving and pushing, crying children, baggage holds frozen shut—and in the background, the music piped, "Have yourself a merry little Christmas."

As the purser crossed the baggage plaza, at the carousel was a man greeting his girlfriend with roses. He swept her off her feet, and they embraced and kissed. And the purser thought to herself, "This is what it's all about."

There is a holiday cheer that can't be created. It's not found in the tinsel, the lavish presents, or even the long distances traveled to munch on festive fare together.

I'm speaking of the warm heart, which is an expression the Dalai Lama uses. Approach people with a warm heart, he says. Family members, friends, yes—but also the people you are tempted to shove and push in the gangway, and the people in your office, your church, and even those members of your family with whom you don't get along.

When the Dalai Lama talks about the warm heart, do you hear it as an injunction? Does it feel like you are being told you are "supposed" to have a warm heart Is it one more thing you ought to be or do?

If that's the case, I would think it's not easy, as the passengers on the plane to Chicago demonstrated.

If the whole reason for taking your Christmas trip is about to go down the tubes because someone, or some weather pattern, is in your way—when there is someone who is always trying to get one up on you—when you want to be close to someone but they constantly distance you—when someone repeatedly puts you down, or is forever trying to manipulate and control you—when the cost of all of those expected gifts is too much and you're worried about paying the credit card in January—just how do you do what the purser suggested, and be nice?

The Dalai Lama isn't loading yet another demand upon us. He is asking us to find the spot inside us from which come those roses and that loving embrace, which is and always has been our warm heart, the only enduring source of cheer.

If you are trying to be a certain way, it is much harder than if you are simply accessing something already inside you.

It's the difference between buying holiday cheer to pep up your life for a day or two, or allowing all the mythology, the music, and the symbols of the holidays to awaken and draw out the cheeriness that is already within.

Author's Bio: 

David Robert Ord is author of Your Forgotten Self Mirrored in Jesus the Christ and the audio book Lessons in Loving--A Journey into the Heart, both from Namaste Publishing, publishers of Eckhart Tolle and other transformational authors.

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