Thoughts on Thinking

"When somebody persuades me that I am wrong, I change my mind. What do you do?" John Maynard Keynes

"If you're unhappy with your life, change your thinking." Charles Fillmore

"The primary cause of unhappiness is never the situation but your thoughts about it." Eckhart Tolle

"People are not disturbed by things, but by the view they take of them." Epictetus

"The unexamined life is not worth living." Socrates

"Consciousness is a terrible thing to waste." PunditGeorge

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Thoughts on Thanksgiving

Not only is autumn my favorite time of year, I adore the series of three major Holidays in the United States: Thanksgiving, Christmas, and the New Year. I interpret the trio as Appreciation, Expectation, and Celebration.

Appreciation is one of our most powerful expressions. Any time we appreciate something (a.k.a. being thankful or grateful, although these words carry a bit of baggage) we elevate our consciousness to a grander vista. Perspective alters, and a greater awareness of Creation is gained.

Expectation is the trademark of Christmas. Yes, yes, the Historical Jesus was probably born in the spring under the sign of Pices (got to be a reason for the fish in early Christianity) and the Winter Soltice was already a popular celebration. Hope and expectation are hallmarks of the teachings of Jesus. The giving and receiving of gifts has evolved as a trait of the ancient Mass.

And, of course, the thrill of beginning anew, which by our calendar we do every January first. Let by-gones be gone, and a new future unfold. That's something the celebrate.

For sure, it's a joyous time. Or it can be. Perhaps, should be. This is not a time of suffering, of denial, of dearth and death, although it's often approached as such. Thanksgiving is a celebration of abundance, not lack. Christmas is empowerment through spirit. The New Year is freedom.

Yet some folks are miserable.  They look about them and see pain, suffering, failure, sickness and so forth.  They cannot feel good while so many suffer.  They often expect others, then, to make a sacrifice to help the unfortunate.  Check to make sure you're not carrying into the season an erroneous sense of "sacrifice." Mis-understood, that's a word that cheats people of joy, albeit with good intentions (did someone say road to hell?)

The Metaphysical Bible Dictionary defines sacrifice as "A refining process that is constantly going on in consciousness." Always, the action is within. To make a sacrifice is not to "give up" something cherished (talk about a fast track for self anger!) but instead to refine consciousness (back to the appreciation thing.)

For instance: Is it possible to sacrifice your health for a sick person to get well? Although I suspect many a parent/husband/wife has wished to be able to remove a loved one’s pain and suffering by absorbing it. That’s compassion. But it’s not possible. You simply cannot “give” your health to another. Your pain, your illness, your suffering will not somehow make another healthy.

By the same token "sacrificing" or deliberately choosing to do without something you like and desire is not going to improve anyone else's life experience. It doesn't matter what the motivation to do without is, such as guilt and its cousin obligation, a diminished you doesn't benefit another.

Appreciate all that makes up your experience, right here, right now. That's good for all of us, especially when you enjoy the holidays.

As always, John Stossel has a take on Thanksgiving worth noting.

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