Thank you for all the goodness in my life. How amazing it is to be blessed with the ability to see and take in the magnificence of the universe.
In my daily life, I'm often distracted from noticing the marvels and miracles that surround me. There is so much to accomplish, so many hurdles to jump, so much that I feel needs attending. I sometimes get so involved in the immediate tasks that I lose sight of the larger amazing realities that abound in my life.
That danger lurks for this Thanksgiving-- that I'll become immersed in the details, the event of it, the sharing of it, and the loneliness of it, the disappointments at moments of potential closeness not fully actualized, as well as in the moments of joyous connection to my immediate friends and family, and that I'll not take the
time for real celebration.
So I want to take this moment to more fully acknowledge what I know but rarely say to myself:
The universe did not have to evolve in the direction of creating conscious creatures who could yearn for love and could appreciate complexity and could rejoice in the abundance and manifest kindness. Thank you universe, thank you the consciousness of the universe, thank you the evolutionary force of the universe, thank you God, thank you the Force of Life and Healing and Transformation, thank you however inadequate my formulation of your name and your being, for having evolved in this particular direction so that life would emerge from the elements, so that consciousness would emerge from life, so that kindness and love and attraction to peace and justice would emerge from consciousness.
This country in which I reside has so much beauty in its hills and mountains, its rivers and streams, its forests and marshes, its oceans and lakes. How amazing to be able to be in the presence of all this beauty. I am in awe of the grandeur of this universe with all its complexity and beauty.
I celebrate this particular body which I at once am and inhabit, this blend of consciousness and part unconsciousness, at every moment operating on multiple levels, tapping in to the larger pool of consciousness of the universe in the ways that I can with all the limitations that are part of my consciousness receptors (and all the levels of consciousness that are available to me but which I have not yet fully explored), breathing and being breathed by the universe, pumping blood, taking in and expelling parts of the world, listening, smelling, tasting, seeing, hearing, and perceiving, forming plans and assessing information and dreaming dreams, connecting me to others in emotional and physical ways that are pleasurable-- making me an ongoing miracle of life.
I rejoice in all that I am and all that I have been and all that I will become, knowing that this too will pass, and that this miracle of embodied being will someday be merged back into other forms of being from which I am made and from which I emerged, the matter and consciousness of the universe, the Spirit that some people call God, and others, because of the way that word has been appropriated by many religions to justify hurtful messages, no longer call God..
I am thankful for my own personal life, for this particular set of dramas that I am part of and which surround me at this moment of history.
I rejoice in the opportunities I have been given to play some role in advancing the consciousness of the universe.
I stand on the platform of a thousand generations who developed agriculture and food and recipes to cook or prepare, who developed technologies and medicines that would make it possible for me to live a relatively gentle and easy life, who developed language and the refinements of thought that were passed on to me by parents and teachers and friends and books and movies so that I can now advance and create new thoughts that are only possible because of all that has gone before me and because I can draw upon their creativity which has become the common property of the human race. I am grateful to the generations of humanity that developed science, mathematics, experimental interactions with the universe, and rational thought, and affirm all the goodness that has come from that powerful enterprise, as well as affirming the need to develop ways for science to be expanded or reconceived so that it can be more fully harnessed to the enterprise of building a world of love, justice, generosity, awe, ecological sustainability and peace.
I have been given the knowledge of mystics and prophets and artists and poets from which I can draw inspiration and sustenance when things look momentarily difficult. I can learn the stories of the past, the history of others who similarly faced difficult moments, moments in which it looked like the forces of darkness were triumphing, and see that they too, like me, could not fully see how the darkness would be overcome, and yet, learn also how it was overcome, time and time and time again.
And I can see how the best ventures of the human race were at times undermined when people moved from hope to fear, but I can also learn how, even in the midst of fear, there were prophets and poets who kept hope alive, even while being scorned themselves, ridiculed, attacked verbally or physically, jailed or sometimes killed, yet they persisted, and their hopefulness eventually was vindicated, sometimes hundreds or thousands of years later. I am thankful for those who fought for democracy, human rights, civil liberties, equality, and freedom so that in the moments when people come to awareness of the need for fundamental changes, they have some political institutions like the vote, like separation of church and state, like freedom of speech and assembly, like a jury system, to allow them to in some limited ways put some constraints on the power of the arrogant elites of wealth and power, on the energies that believe peace comes through domination of others, on the fantasy that safety will be won through police and surveillance and limits on personal privacy.
And, yes, in 2006, I felt a little bit more hopeful because Americans rose up against the war in Iraq and used these institutions with all their known limitations to express themselves and call for an end to the war. So I know that the hopeful energies can return and become the dominant reality, and I rejoice in the opportunity given to me to participate in the process of nurturing those energies in the darkness and contributing to their return and renewal.
I have been given the joy to know others, to have contact with other people who are similarly blessed with the gifts of life and who are similarly embodiments of the sacred energies of the universe. Their very existence gives me hope. And, I've been able to connect with the hopeful energies of Tikkun and The Network of Spiritual Progressives and its message that the world can be healed and transformed, and that has become yet one more source to reconfirm me in radical hope that the forces of love will eventually triumph. I can see the amazing possibilities of the Network of Spiritual Progressives' vision of a New Bottom Line in which love and kindness and generosity is given as much public attention and taken as seriously as the accumulation of money or power, and its attempt, already partially manifested in the results of the 2006 election, to build a movement that unites progressive and liberal secular people with progressive spiritual and religious people in a way that is mutually respectful. And as I look carefully and examine my life, I can see that there are many other aspects of my life from which I can also draw hope.
In this next month, I will commit myself to doing more to preserve the planet by reducing my resisting the pressure to join the orgy of consumption that leads to the misuse of the earth's resources in the production of holiday gifts that are often quite unnecessary. I will join the Network of Spiritual Progressives as a member, and I will spread its message that Christmas, Chanukah, Kwanza, and other December holidays should not be about giving gifts of "things"-which in a class society always leads people to feel inadequate for not having bought enough or received enough of the expensive items that are being promoted for sale. Instead, I will to the greatest extent possible give gifts of my time (e.g. some amount of hours to provide something my friends or neighbors actually want-to this one, child care, to that one, help in food shopping, to another, help with an elderly parent, to yet another, help in painting part of their house or helping with their garden or teaching their children some skill or sport, or in some other way sharing one's time in a way that the particular person receiving the gift would actually need and benefit from), and I will let others know that it is that kind of gift that I most wish to receive.
I rejoice in the goodness of all that I am, of all that I have been able to experience, of the goodness of my family and friends, of all the amazing and wonderful people I have been blessed to meet or to encounter through their writing, art, and music. I've been blessed in all the bounty, wisdom, pleasure and joy, and even from the painful lessons and disappointments, that I have inherited from the universe and from my family and from all that I have come to experience and know. I am grateful for the generosity of the universe. And I renew my commitment to bring more love, more kindness, more open-- heartedness, more non-- violence, more peace, more social justice, more environmental sensitivity, and more gratitude into the life that I live, into my encounters with others, and into the world that I am helping to shape, and into the consciousness that I bring to each aspect of my life.
Thank you, thank you, thank you for all this and for much more beyond all that I can put into words.
With warm wishes for a meaningful Thanksgiving experience.