Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Giving Thanks

There is an element of thankfulness, of gratitude, that raises one up from the ordinary to the sublime. Elevated, not necessarily in stature, or in circumstance, but internally, to a qualitative condition that allows one to function with kindness, with dignity, and in harmony with ones self. It is a condition that, when observed in other people, is most often experienced as graciousness. Graciousness implies intention, which implies consciousness, which is fed by gratitude. A self-serving life, a life dedicated to the service of self, disparages, by its own nature, the importance of these very qualities. But it is a chosen and practiced position, a life doing battle with, and within itself, and one that eventually blinds the participant to his own indulgence.

Most of us, however, live in a shifting condition, one that intersects differing regions. We are people who live in both the ordinary, and in the sublime. We vacillate between the two positions as mood, emotion, or circumstance lift us up or drag us down. It often seems to be beyond our own control. But it is not. To be thankful is to view circumstances through a different lens, it is to experience them on an eminent level, and to embrace them in a manner worthy of our higher nature rather than in submission to our baser inclination. There is an enormous spiritual component in the practice of gratitude, and it is a gift made available to all. I am in full receipt of it at times, and not so receptive of it at others. I prefer the former to the latter, and am thankful for the ability to be thankful, without which life would most likely manifest itself only in muted tones and various shades of gray.

Thanks giving, my friends, is practice in the art of appreciation.