Thursday, November 27, 2008

Thanksgiving Greetings to My Readers

The concept of gratitude is critical to mental and spiritual health. Those who focus on the kindnesses, miracles and times of deliverance that have carried them to the present day do not give central focus to the obstacles of circumstance and on human meanness and cruelty. One of the Breslov books that I am fond of reading states that one can not think two thoughts at once. This is a powerful realisation. When I realise that I am feeding on my own anger with negative thoughts, I try to find a focus that will put me in a more constructive mood.

One of my children once asked me why I seemed to be in such a bad mood.

I shot back "I'm so nasty, I stopped talking to myself." My child laughed and I laughed with her. The mixture of self caricature and self acceptance had a curative effect for me.

I have found that most of the time, even dealing with the holocaust I am able to keep gratitude as a central focus. When a story of rescue or of a saving miracle is told, man's inhumanity to man becomes a supporting background for a ray of light. The proper historical and religious understanding of traumatic events should focus on our ability to overcome and to transform concealment into light. What is ultimately important is that we continue to strive to make the world a better place.

There are holidays that remind me of the overlapping values of Jews living in America with the majority population Thanksgiving is among these shared holidays. Memorial Day is also a sort of Thanksgiving during which we remind ourselves of those who made the ultimate sacrifice for America.

Although Jewish holidays overshadow secular observance on my calendar, the quiet reflection upon the central message is to me the central point. To reflect upon the core values of the nation and meditate upon them at regular intervals is a good way to maintain balance and focus. I do not agree with the faux profundity of complaining that thankfullness should not be confined to a single day of periodic notation. Birthdays and holidays offer a calendric anchor that keeps values and individuals who are dear to us from being cast adrift in our thoughts.

In this spirit, I wish a happy Thanksgiving to my readers. Sphere: Related Content

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