Friday, January 27, 2006
Pick up the Reciever, and I'll make you a Believer
Here we go, with Thanksgiving comin’ up, I thought I’d fire out some thoughts on what we celebrate every year in November. I was talking to a friend of mine, and we were talking about how she used to write essays on a topic just for the hey of it. She told me I needed to write one (to be cool like her), so this is the product of that conversation. I’m going to write as essay, much like ole Emerson. So today my friends, I’m an essayist. Hope ya like it, and maybe even learn something from my silly imitative rambling.
It is at the center of the success of anything. The fuel that will get you through the worst life can throw at you. It was the stairs every one of the greatest characters in history stepped upon to become who they became The greatest cannot stay the greatest without it, nor can they appreciate their journey without it. It is perhaps the biggest key to opening the door to true happiness. And it may then be the antidote to the epidemic of depression. It is the secret to continual optimism, the shield against cynicism, the sword against forgetfulness. It is the heart’s memory. The eye’s color. The nose’s sweet scent. It is the poetry of life. Before there is love, hope, humility, kindness, abstinence, chastity, patience, liberality, diligence, there is gratitude.
Gratitude is a wonderful thing to possess. Is there any greater gift than true appreciation?
It has many faces. Expected by every God in every religion. Lauded by, philosophers, Prophets, Mothers, and Teachers. Studied by Psychiatrists, theologians, spiritualists. Gratitude has been weighed, scaled, given depth. It can be harnessed, not in saying, but in doing.
The spiritual practice of gratitude has been called a state of mind and a way of life. But we prefer to think of it as a grammar — an underlying structure that helps us construct and make sense out of our lives. The rules of this grammar cover all our activities. Its syntax reveals a system of relationships linking us to the divine and to every other part of the creation. It connects families, communities, cultures, nations. In its essence, it is what perpetuates the Golden rule.
To learn the grammar of gratitude, it is a matter of practicing saying "thank you" for happy and challenging experiences, for people, animals, things, art, memories, dreams. But it isn’t enough to say it, it must be shown through actions, smile for smile, laugh for laugh, love for love, memory for memory, dream for dream. It is the continual cycle of all good things, and it can grow to become something that can change a great many things. From one’s life, to the whole world. Perhaps we do not consider the far effects of the virtues, perhaps in today’s world, we are loosing our spirituality. We are loosing our farsightedness. Spirituality gives us a telescope to view our lives, the effects of our choices. If we could view the far reaching effects of our mistakes, would we make them? Yes, we would, we’re human. But we would regret making them all the more. Gratitude banishes regret. You cannot be truly grateful and have regret. It is the same as fear and love. Faith and doubt.
Gratitude is the one thing that we need to look at very closely here in America. I find it sad to see so much ability, so much freedom abused. We are a greedy self entitled people. We have become prideful. And pride is a terrible terrible thing. It is the source of all evil. It is the unraveling of every moral thing, the virus that causes love to die, families to split, friendship to expire, men to kill, religion to judge unjustly, nations to war. What hope do we have in these increasingly dark times? We have gratitude. For it combats greed, and most importantly pride when it can be fought and won. But it must be built up, it must be heated, white hot, and then folded, tempered, sharpened. And in that moment, and then beyond, must be expressed; it must leave ones heart and become reality, a continual reality.
Is it any wonder why Thanksgiving comes before Christmas? Isn’t there a great lesson in celebrating gratefulness before charity? Have we forgotten, like a great many have with Christmas what the reason for the season is? Isn’t there a great purpose in how things are organized? Yes, yes, yes, and yes.
When will we learn that Thanksgiving is more than a dinner? Why have we been inundated with Christmas so early this year? It seems to me to have started earlier than it ever has, in all its commercialism. I’ll tell you why, it is greed, and never has the need to stop and ponder the meaning and effects of gratitude than now.
And so this thanksgiving, as you are siting there with family, alive, with food all around you, stop and say thank you, and then show it, again and again and again ad infinitum. Do that, and you'll change the world.
P.S: 10 points if you know where the title to this blog comes from!