Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday because it calls us to the energy of appreciation and gratitude. We take a break from our pursuits for a few moments to value the graces which we are fortunate to have in our lives. This stands in stark contrast to the other 99.9999999999999% of the time which we spend craving and plotting to acquire that which we do not have.
Our culture is constructed on the principle that life is about “getting what you want”. This is truly our religion. Our God is Desire. Following our “dreams” to whatever end is perceived as the noblest pathway of human life. Is it? Any intellectually honest observer can readily see that the fruits of this approach to life are the very greatest problems and difficulties of human existence: greed, war, murder, exploitation, disequality, tyranny, unhappiness…all stem from the desire to satisfy desire.
This is not to advocate a life in which nothing is pursued and accomplished. Far from it. Rather, it is advocacy of a fundamentally different approach to our pursuits and accomplishments.
During Thanksgiving, we typically count ourselves thankful for that which has come into the sphere of our lives. We usually list things such as family, friends, pets, careers and posessions as worthy of thankfulness. While that’s perfectly all fine and appropriate, it also falls far short of the true spirit of Gratitude.
The most essential giving of thanks and the most fundamental font of appreciation is that which fully embraces and honors Existence itself. True and profound Gratitude for simply being alive is a necessary precursor to the real appreciation of any externally derived grace.
Without a real appreciation for the miracle of Existence, there is no satisfaction of any desire. With it, all desires are innately satisfied. This principle may very well be the crux of the spiritual and philosphical teachings of the ages. And yet, it seems to have not well penetrated into the soul of the human species.
We all know that having aquired the person or object that we have desired we experience a degree of satisfaction that is temporary and fleeting. After some generally brief time the warm fuzzies experienced from the attainment of our interest begin to fade. New desires emerge to replace the old ones. The pursuit begins anew.
Few lives experience true Fulfillment. A series of temporary satisfactions stands in for the realization of a fulfilled sense of Being.
When we cultivate a true appreciation for the mere fact of our Existence as primary and fundamental, we experience life from an innately Fulfilled basis. We then approach all our doings with freedom and joy. Since we are already fulfilled merely by being alive, everything else that we do, experience and acquire becomes the cherry on top of a never-ending ice cream sundae! The dessert itself is wonderful and amazing without the cherry. The cherry on its own is gobbled up and quickly forgotten. The cherry on top is just an extra boon to the experience.
From the perspective of a life lived in Gratitude for Existence, there is no gain or loss, success or failure. Life itself is the Grand Prize. Everything else is a bonus.
The inability to grasp this basic principle is the root cause of all our personal and collective disquietude and strife. When we learn to be genuinely thrilled just to exist in this amazing Universe, everything and everybody that enters our lives is appreciated and valued without undue attachment nor aversion.
Humans are meant to develop and pursue interests, to achieve, innovate and push back the boundaries of possiblity. We can still do all of that and more when we act and live from a place of deep, ongoing appreciation and wonder for the blessing of Existence itself.
This Thanksgiving and every day and each moment of your life, place “I’m thrilled and amazed to be alive” at the top of the list of the things you are thankful for.
If you meditate, make this a central focus of contemplation. Notice where unfulfilled desire lives in the body and energy field and offer into those places your profound and total appreciation for Existence. If you pray, make thankfulness for being your constant message to the Divinity. You will be amazed at how this will change the quality of your experience of life and attract boons to you without effort!
Have a wonderful Thanksgiving Day 2018!