How to Have Thanksgiving Every Day
[00:45] Thanksgiving Tradition
In the United States and also in Canada, though it’s on a different date in Canada, there is a customary holiday during which time people gather as many family members together as they can possibly do, or in some way have a family orientation, and generally speaking, there is a meal involved that is as replete as people would like it to be, usually quite replete.
And during which time, the idea is that the family and the individuals in the family examine for a moment the blessings that are there in their life. In every life, there are some elements of the life that we’ve identified as being worthy of celebration. We call those blessings. And there are elements of life and living that have been difficult and which we would have preferred hadn’t happened.
And so rather than spending time on thinking of all the things we wished hadn’t happened, we think about the times and all the events and the phenomena and the forms that we are grateful for and pay attention to the gratitude.
And it’s a very interesting ceremonial get-together. There’s a lot of controversy, particularly in the United States, about the origins of the holiday, and I’d like us, for the moment, to transcend those.
Some of those origins I agree with because, in my own personal family, two members of my family are wed to tribal American people who really rather prefer not to refer to Thanksgiving in those words, based on the historic controversy over its origins. And I fully respect that.
[02:59] Turn Gratitude into a Daily Habit with Meditation
Nonetheless, the question for today will be, how is it possible for us to, instead of having this as an annual thing, where we might annually sit together and just think, “Well, let’s think about all the things we’re grateful for.” How can we turn this into a daily thing?
And, in fact, it’s very simple. In the Vedas, one of the results of practicing Vedic Meditation is described in very direct terms with result, with regard to gratitude.
And that is that, when you practice meditation, you tend to wake each day with a sense of gratitude. The waking process is a very interesting process. You’re lying in the bed, and a little bit of consciousness appears, and that consciousness might say, “I’m in a bed.” And then the consciousness grows. And as the consciousness grows, it will be, “I’m in my familiar bed.”
Or if you’ve been camping, or staying over at somebody’s house, or you’ve met a new lover, and you ended up at their place instead of your own, you might think, I’m in a strange bed. That can be very interesting, too, or if you’re on a holiday in a hotel or whatever. But this gradual dawning of awareness, “I’m in a bed. And I’m facing this way,” and so on and so forth.
[04:36] Morning Awakening to Gratitude
Now, it can take some time in the process of awakening in the morning before we begin to feel very, very fortunate to be leading the life that we’re living. Some people might not experience that in the entire day.
They’re fully awake. They’ve had their breakfast. They’re off to work, or off to looking for work if they don’t have work, or off to resolving that work is an impossibility for them, and dealing with life in whatever way they can without any work. But there’s always something to be done. Always.
How early in the day could it be possible for a thought to dawn on you that it’s remarkable that you exist where you exist? And in the Vedas, specifically in 10th Mandala of Rig Veda, there is a reference to a meditator awakening to the gratitude earlier and earlier in the day. That takes a fewer number of hours, minutes, and seconds to awakening into a sense of wonder and gratitude about the delights of life and living. And let’s examine those for a moment.
I mean, here we are, all of us, all of you, me included, sitting on a spinning little blue ball that’s hanging in space. How unlikely is it? Well, we only have to look at other planets that we can see, through our telescopes, to see just how unlikely it is.
[06:28] Blessings of Our Planet
The other night, one of my children was fortunate enough to be present, and this particular child is an astrophotographer, to be present at 3:00 AM outside when a relatively enormous meteor entered the atmosphere right above the city.
And to take a picture of the meteor whistling through the atmosphere, leaving an enormous thunder crack, as it probably was going many times the speed of sound when it entered the atmosphere, and burning up and fragmenting before hitting, and without hitting the Earth because it vaporized and all the fragments vaporized before hitting the Earth.
We look at other planets, and we see them pockmarked, pockmarked with meteor craters. Here on our Earth, we have a few meteor craters that we can identify, including one that’s only a few miles away from where I am right now.
One mile-wide meteor crater, made by an object about the size of a Volkswagen car, that hit the Earth doing 30 or 40 times the speed of sound, leaving a crater one mile wide and about 500 feet deep.
That must have been an anomaly because we don’t see craters like that everywhere, whereas when we look at the moon through our telescope, we see craters absolutely everywhere, pockmarked. No atmosphere!
[08:14] Life on Earth: A Journey Worth Celebrating
So, the fact that here we are living our jolly little lives, trying to figure out what it is that matters to us and how we can express that to the world, a lot of what we tend to be doing every day, what it is that matters to us, and how we can show that to the world is what we’re engaged in, living on this little blue ball that’s falling around a yellow sun.
It’s falling towards the sun, but then it misses it and goes out on an elliptical orbit and then curves back due to the gravitation of the sun and falls back towards the sun again but misses it.
And every time it does that, goes around the sun, one year has passed. One more year. One more year where we didn’t hit the sun. Where we just zoomed around the sun with our atmosphere burning up all the meteors.
And we have things that grow out of the ground here, and we can eat them. It’s astonishing. Really astonishing.
We have an apricot tree here that only produces apricots about once every four or five years, and this year, it must have produced 10,000 apricots. The tree is so heavily laden with apricots it’s practically breaking the branches. And there’s a limit to how much apricot jam you can make, and how many apricots you can eat in a day. And the birds are here feasting away.
[09:43] Finding Joy in Everyday Moments
How early in the day is it that you awaken to the wonders of the world in which you live? And sometimes, from time to time, we do well to actually sit and consider how long it took today for me to arrive, just by looking around or just by feeling, just by sensing how grateful I am for the fact of existence, for the fact of viable life and living, however long we must have.
I’m an ancient old man, and although I feel quite jolly and vivacious. I can count, and so I know that ancient old men like me don’t live another entire lifetime.
To put it in a way that is a little bit corny, I have many more yesterdays than I have tomorrows. But is this something over which one feels miserable? Or is it something over which one is able to rejoice every moment in the human body as an opportunity for us to experience the potential for great sparkling bliss?
Great sparkling bliss. Especially we meditators who have arranged for ourselves the most magnificent, well-deserved, self-created good fortune. We said yes to the right things when we learned to meditate.
And we keep our meditation going. We keep on awakening our inner connection, our individual inner reality of being part of the one indivisible, whole Unified Field of consciousness, vibrating through all the forms, all the phenomena, all the laws of Nature, all the people.
[11:49] Our Role in Making the World Better
And there are problems to solve. That’s always the case, always has been the case since Paleolithic times, when first we began to get individuated sense of human consciousness and figured out where we were and started painting stuff on caves and things. Our ancient ancestors were not without problems, political problems, and all kinds of problems.
And here we are, as a species, still on the Earth, still examining, what is it we have yet to resolve? Where is it we have yet to compromise? Where is it that we have yet to allow for the experiences of others and their state of consciousness?
And it actually is our great joy, as well as responsibility, to embrace all of this with that degree of enthusiasm that we must have if we use our creative intelligence even for a few minutes at the beginning of the day to assess what great, well-created, self deserved, good fortune we must have to exist here and to be breathing in the lovely air of the Earth.
It’s a good thing to do every day, not just one day of the year. No harm doing it one day of the year, but it’s a really worthwhile thing to appreciate every day.
Jai Guru Deva.