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Thursday, January 4, 2007

What is thanksgiving about?

What is Thanksgiving all about?

Mike Ghouse

As the accountants recite their mantra, for every debit there is a credit; the physicist say that for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction; and the spiritualists feel that for every wrong we do, we take out an equal amount of serenity out of us. The eternal bliss is the most peaceful state of mind. All of us achieve it from time to time and mess it up continuously.

We have to do our balance sheet.

For every good we receive, we have to offer our gratitude to the giver. Most times, a simple thank you will complete the loop. Absence of this double entry book keeping will throw the books off balance.

For every hurt we hurl on others, an equal amount of burden is pressing us, and until we say sorry and repent it genuinely, the burden makes us do weird things, and the burden accelerates and deteriorates the peace within (soul). The transaction remains incomplete.

For every one we hate, an equal amount of disturbance affects us within. When we hate, WEEE are the losers not the one we hate. This is the most important aspect of happiness, and every religion teaches us not to hate any one. The more hateful we are, the more problem we create for ourselves and the ones around us. It is in one's interest to work on hate and it is in the interest of the society to help each other to remove hate from us. Let's not do it because God wants it, or it is an act of nobility - let's do it because it makes sense.

Life is a continual act of balancing between Sukh (joy) and Dukh (sorrow) and to lead a normal life we have to maintain that equilibrium. We are constantly receiving and giving the energy, intake and give-out must be equal to have a healthy mindset.

Let me share a small story - It was a ritual in my town at that time (mid 60's) that every person would walk in front of your house or store with a bhiksha (begging) bowl, lepers, blind people, deaf people and normal people who are poor form a non-stop line... you either give them food or some money.

One of them became my fascination; he did not have arms and limbs from the base of the body. Just the body and the head and he his wear was a car tube spread that he tied around his body. He would wedge inch by inch... shoulder and the rear move in tandem... I always wanted to know what is in life for him.

One day, I asked him, what makes him want to live? He did not have relatives, could not do anything, could not have a family, could not have a place to live, and could not wear clothes.... what is the hope?

He answered me: Son, I look forward to every morning to see the blue sky or see the rain and smell the earth, I smell and taste the good food people give me, and I enjoy the water that I get now and then... I am thankful that God has given me the eyes to see his creation.... as a boy I was rendered speechless. That is gratitude.

Thanksgiving is tomorrow, make a list of all the people you want to thank, the least you can do is make a list and that in itself is relieving. When you express your gratitude to the persons who have made a difference in your life, it just brings tons of relief to you.

Ponder over all the good things people have done to you, good words they have said to you. Even if you don’t like some of them now, separate the good they have done and say thank you for it. Reign in on your ego and see the Vijayata (victory) you feel within you.

On this note I would like to express my gratitude to Mr. Harbans Lal of SheshadriPuram, Bangalore, my first boss, who encouraged me to write. That was in 1971 and since then I have written quite a lot. His voice still echoes, it's been music to me. I appreciate Dewey Lewis, who inculcated the habit of seeing two sides of an issue and Kathy Bounds for the live and let live attitude. Thanks to each one of my mentors. There are many more… and I will thank them privately and in my own mind.

Each one of us can become such a voice to others to encourage whatever talent they may have. We are a product of what others want us to be, most of the times. If you want a better society, invoke the best in others. It is indeed rewarding.

Mike Ghouse is a thinker, a pluralist, a free person, a doer and a writer. His work is visible at www.FoundationforPluralism.com , www.Mikeghouse.net and the blog www.MikeGhouse.Sulekha.com . He can be reached at MikeGhouse@Gmail.com

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