At this time of year many people remember the birth and life of Jesus. Was the world he was born into really that much different from our own? Was there not the same need for peace and stability then as now? What does Jesus’s life truly represent to the world today?

What if Jesus wanted his followers – and us – to reach the same unity with God that he had reached? By following the young seeker from Nazareth on his path to Christhood, I’ve laid out a map of enlightenment. It wasn’t necessary to invent the map. Enlightenment has existed in every age. The path from suffering and separation to bliss and unity with God is well marked. I put Jesus on this path because I believe he walked it.

This holiday season, believing Christians and all seekers have even more reasons to be inspired. Seen from the perspective of Buddha or the ancient Rishis ("seers") of India, Jesus attained enlightenment. Can Jesus’s path also be ours? I believe it can. Jesus was a teacher of higher consciousness, not just a shining example of it. He told his disciples that they would do everything he could do and more. He called them the "light of the world," the same term he applied to himself. He pointed toward the Kingdom of Heaven as an eternal state of grace, not a faraway place hidden above the clouds.

The Jesus who is left out of the New Testament turns out to be in many ways the most important Jesus for modern times. His aspiration to find salvation vibrates in every heart. His life was a life of meditation and union with God. During this season as always, it is especially important to remember our responsibility in honoring and practicing what Jesus taught on our own way to reaching God consciousness.

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Deepak Chopra has inspired millions with his profound teaching over the years. One of Time Magazine’s Top 100 most influential people, he is the author of more than 50 books, cofounder of the Chopra Center, and one of the world’s greatest leaders in mind-body medicine. Through his over two decades of work since leaving his medical practice, Deepak continues to revolutionize common wisdom about the crucial connection between body, mind, spirit and healing. His mission of “bridging the technological miracles of the West with the wisdom of the East” remains his thrust and provides the basis for his recognition as one of India’s historically greatest ambassadors to the West. Visit www.chopra.com.

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