What can we say of thanks-giving that has not already been said?
The best thing about remembering to give thanks – even in a formalized way through a national holiday (even one based on falsely concocted national myths) – is that it encourages many of us to shift our attention from our personal sorrows, fears, and desires to a bigger picture.
It helps us shift our lens from our mind to our heart, from the eyes of calculation for what we can get, to the eyes of appreciation for all we already receive.
For some it is e a time of appreciating those closest to us. For others it may go further to include thanks for the simple amenities of life we take for granted – hot water, safe housing, enough food. For others the appreciation may extend further, to the bounty of the Earth that is the support of all life, despite how we abuse her. And for some it may go even further, to Existence itself, the very miracle of Being that brings us all into this moment of experience – whether that moment is pleasurable or not.
For the truth is that every moment is an out-breath of something we cannot fathom, a mystery greater than we normally even pause to consider.
Is it appropriate to thank that which breathes us into existence – we and the entire universe? Are thanks in order? Or is it something more like humility and awe?
Can we stop our mental calculations long enough to look up to witness such a bigger view?
And what purpose does that serve?
I believe humanity is moving in a direction of inclusivity, away from the ground rules of separation that have caused so much chaos and suffering for so long.
The impulse to remember what we are grateful for is a moment of inclusivity in larger and larger circles of connection. It is a moment of recognizing our interdependence, and that the ultimate reality we are part of is totally out of our hands – and yet is a blessing.
The impulse to give thanks helps us to remember that self-reliance (the great myth of our culture) is a delusion, and that we are all co-participants and co-creators in a great dance so vast we cannot see its pattern or its edges.
We do not know how the steps of our lives contribute to the pattern of the dance – because we cannot see the big picture and we’ve been given no rules to follow.
But I am sure that every step you take and every step I take in our seemingly separate lives, and every occurrence on this and all worlds, are all part of that dance, whose beauty and meaning are continually emerging in patterns we cannot comprehend.
And I trust that some great Eye is witnessing it all and giving thanks.
Thank you Tomar for such a wonderful posting. Thanksgiving Day does have SO many levels to it…and perhaps a different focus for each person. I SO appreciate your question: Is it appropriate to thank that which breathes us into existence-we and the entire universe. I do believe that when one takes the TIME to ponder the greater view of life…it calls for both humility and awe, as you mention!! And as we gather for Thanksgiving tomorrow, if one takes a moment to “really” look at the feast before them and reflect on “where” and “how” did all this come to be, no doubt they will be in great gratitude and appreciation. From the soil which held and nurtured the seedlings; to the planting by the farmers; to the harvesting of the crops; to the market where everything was purchased… we are co-creators on the planet and so interdependent! Thank you Tomar for bringing the deeper meaning of this time of year into the “light” with your posting today. It was a JOY to read. I look forward to reading more from you in the near future!
Thank you, Sharon, for your wise reflections that truly add more richness to what i wrote. I appreciate your sharing your perceptions here and look forward to more.
Have a beautiful day tomorrow, however you celebrate it.
Excellent point about self-reliance. It is a indeed a delusion, isn’t it? I suspect it is worse in America than anywhere but we should reconsider our interconnectivity, and be thankful for it.
I agree, Kim, the delusion of self-reliance is deeply ingrained in our American myth. Think the Lone Ranger as an ideal. That’s why many of us who simply can’t become super-heroes going it alone get discouraged, not knowing we were never meant to. All of nature is a complex and exquisite dance of interdependence. That is how ecosystems survive, how life is designed to be. I believe it is the only way humanity will survive and thrive.
Thank you for commenting!
I so agree with the isolation as a learned behavior that does not fit our new reality anymore. I just had a conversation about it with my ‘Fairy God Daughter’ and told her how the community garden I started where I life started with many hands being interested, and then slowly people pulled back and created their own planter boxes in their own garden behind their fence.
I watched it with awe, and started realizing that not everyone is not ‘done’ with isolation yet. It feels safer and avoids the confrontations that may happen in community. I just let everyone do what they needed to so and kept working, mostly on my own – in the community garden I wanted to see flourish on our street.
This year a few new neighbors have moved in who are excited about doing things together. And me? I am overjoyed to see there are people who want to move out of isolation and create a world where we care for each other and do our best to create more Love amongst us.
Thanks, Pernilla. That’s a beautiful example of the movement from separation to inclusivity – one garden at a time! 🙂
While I agree that it is good to take time to appreciate what we have, especially since we really do have a great deal here in America, I’m not sure I understand much of the rest of what you’ve written. Why is self-reliance a myth? What “falsely concocted national myth” are you talking about? And why do you describe it that way? In reading your post, I felt like I was stepping into an ongoing conversation where I’d missed some important points.
Thanks for pointing that out, Lesa. It’s not that there is no such thing as self-reliance. The national myth is over-emphasis on individualism, the idea that the individual is solely responsible for our own well-being and success, discounting what I see as a greater truth of inter-dependence. Inter-dependence has dominated in more tribal cultures, in extended families, and in eo-systems. In fact, it is the underlying principle of nature. I am advocating for a return to embracing inter-dependence as the way society works in the future.