Thanksgiving Leads to Giving
and Forgiving
John Marks Templeton

We often take so many things for granted.  It is important to learn about the art of looking for and appreciating the real blessings of life, great and small.  There is an old saying that "a donkey may carry a heavy load of sandlewood on its back without ever knowing its value; all the donkey knows is the weight of its load!"  Often we, too, may go through life, feeling only the weight of circumstances, unable to know the precious nature of life, simply because we may have a chronically negative attitude.  Cultivating the attitude of gratitude can lead to self-appreciation and a more positive mental perception of life.

Cicero once said, "There is no quality I would rather have, or be thought to have, than gratitude.  It is not only the greatest virtue; it is the mother of all the rest."  The word "gratitude" actually comes from the Latin gratis, which means "pleasing" or "thankful."  And "-itude" implies a quality or state of mind.  So, literally, gratitude is an attitude of pleasure and joy and thanksgiving. . . .

The law of gratitude and thanksgiving is considered an aspect of the universe that deals with the flow of energy.  That is, as you give out energy it returns to you.  This works in almost every department of life.  As one gives love, love can be magnetized toward you.  

It may come back in a different form, but it can return when it is given without manipulation.  This law of life is about combining the expectations of the mind with the power of the heart.  You create a "mold" for something good in your life, and with the power of gratitude, good things continue to be drawn to you as to a magnet.

"Ask and it shall be given you," says Matthew 7:7, 8.  As you work in this state of thanksgiving you may find that money follows the same law.  Have you ever noticed that when we hoard our resources, be it friendship, help, or affection, the flow of the energy circuits often stops?  But as we give in love and appreciation, abundance flows to us.

This can also be true with the law of forgiveness.  The lack of self-forgiveness in any single area of life can fester like a poison within and may bring anger, pain, and illness.  Psychologists and sociologists often infer that the damage from childhood experiences can set patterns into motion that may follow an adult through life, being projected outward, unless forgiveness is attained.

"Dwell not on the past," Eileen Caddy writes in God Spoke to Me.  "From this moment onward you can be an entirely different person, filled with love and understanding, ready with an outstretched hand, uplifted and positive in every thought and deed."

Have you ever wondered what it might be like if we couldn't appreciate the good things of life, such as spirituality, music, art, drama, literature, friends, dance, sports, nature, and all that makes life worth living?  Have you ever considered the possibility that gratitude, thanksgiving, and the power of forgiving could be as creative as other works achieved in the world?  Every person may not be great according to the terms of the world, but we can be grateful!  Perhaps true appreciation is a fantastic kind of creativity that can lead to spiritual growth.  Let us choose our lives with love and gratitude.  Let us use the laws of thanksgiving and forgiving to bless ourselves and others and make our lives more complete.

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I move through my day-to-day life with a sense of appreciation and gratitude
that comes from knowing how fortunate I truly am and how unearned all
that I am thankful for really is.  To have this perspective in my everyday
consciousness is in itself a gift, for it leads to feeling “graced,” or blessed,
each time. . . . Every time I see beauty around me I appreciate what I am
seeing, and simultaneously I have this sense of appreciation—for being
alive to have this particular moment.

Jean Shinoda Bolen


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Gratitude is the state of mind of thankfulness.  As it is cultivated, we
experience an increase in our "sympathetic joy," our happiness at another's
happiness.  Just as in the cultivation of compassion, we may feel the pain of
others, so we may begin to feel their joy as well.  And it doesn't stop there.
We begin to feel a growing sense of gratitude for whatever happiness,
great or small, that comes to those around us.  Practicing gratitude increases
our appreciation for life.  It brings balance to those parts of the self that
have cultivated attachment to our suffering, causing us to feel victimized
by life, making God's imagined dial tone all too appealing.

Stephen Levine
A Year to Live


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