If your goal is happiness, then Thanksgiving Day is the most important day of the year. It’s the day we collectively stop and give thanks for all that we have. The day we choose to be with family and friends and see the world through the lens of love and gratitude.
If gratitude is the most important spiritual practice we can adopt to bring happiness and joy into our lives, wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could turn Thanksgiving Day into a daily spiritual practice?
Let me explain why it could change our lives.
There are only two ways we can choose to view the world. One is through the lens of fear, the other is through the lens of love and gratitude.
Unfortunately, fear is the lens most often used by our ego. When we use the lens of fear we tend to see only the dark side of life.
The lens of fear only sees our endless lists of ”wants”….prestige, more money, success, a better car, a better job, more, more, more……the list goes on and on. Of course, the more successful we are in achieving our wants, the more we will begin to worry that what we “have” will be lost or taken from us.
It’s true. The more successful we are, the more “wants” we satisfy, the more unhappy our ego tends to feel. We live our lives unaware that our ego is often unhappy simply because we are worrying about keeping what we already possess.
We become hyper alert to all the things that are bad or wrong or dangerous in the world…..anything that could threaten our happiness or take what we have achieved away from us.
Then we begin to worry we can’t seem to find happiness. We actually begin to worry about worrying. The more we worry, the unhappier we feel.
Our ego becomes addicted to the evening news, the daily litany of everything that is wrong in the world, because it helps us add to the things we can worry about…accidents, riots, wall street greed, debt, governmental gridlock that will destroy our way of life…..again the list is endless.
It’s hard to believe that our first simple wants in life have become such powerful addictions to“wanting more”; the addiction we commonly refer to as “becoming successful”.
Whatever we choose to call it, the lens of fear almost always keeps us stuck in darkness, unaware of the light in the world.
But wanting more isn’t always a bad thing.
Striving to “be” more, striving to grow and “become” more than we are is a good thing.
The problem with “wanting more” is that our ego doesn’t have an antidote to control its compulsive, never-ending addiction to desire.
That is where the spiritual practice of gratitude becomes so important….. gratitude is the antidote!
When we view the world through the lens of love and gratitude, all the darkness is still out there, but what we choose to open our hearts to is an awareness of what’s good in the world, the beauty, the generosity, the joys in life.
Using the lens of gratitude we begin to see the everyday gifts that fill our life….our breath, a morning sunrise, food on the table, a warm place to live, the beauty of a new snowfall, fall leaves, the laughter of children embracing life with joy and enthusiasm, taking a walk with someone we love.
The lens of gratitude enables an amazing healing to begin. Our ego starts to become happy again. Our “wants” begin to grow smaller. Our fears and worries become less important.
We begin to realize that if we could just learn to see the world through the lens of gratitude every day, not just on Thanksgiving Day, the whole world would become brighter, more filled with light and compassion, happier, more peaceful.
We would begin to see that happiness not only “does” live in the heart of gratitude, gratitude opens our heart to the present moment…..it enables us to experience the spirituality and reality of the world around us.
To be effective however, gratitude has to be more than a feeling. If our goal is true happiness, the spiritual practice of gratitude needs to become a behavior we practice every day of our lives.
When gratitude becomes part of our daily lives we will begin to experience the joy and happiness of just being alive; celebrating in the knowledge that gratitude is not only born in a thankful heart, it is the identical twin of happiness.
In time, we may even discover, through the practice of gratitude, that who we really are is simply pure observing consciousness…..the enlightened understanding that we are simply star dust conscious of the universe that birthed us.
So from all of us here at Stonyhill, thank you for being part of our community. As we awaken our collective consciousness together, we can make a difference in the world.
We hope you have a great Thanksgiving Day this year…grateful and thankful for friends and family, grateful for the awe and wonder that surrounds all of us every day of our lives.