November is the month of Thanksgiving and we’re reminded to give thanks for all the bounty that is ours; for our families and friends, our good fortune, good health and good food, our country and our freedoms but the aspect of thanksgiving I would like to address here is the thanksgiving for ourselves. Yes, I know, we’re taught to not only shrink with horror from the idea of being thankful for ourselves but to actually believe it is somehow basically wrong to love and cherish ourselves, to be “selfish” is thought of as a character flaw but I would like to reexamine those teachings and ask that you come with me for a bit and see what you think.
I dearly believe that to be able to truly love and honor all life, we must begin with ourselves. To embrace the concept that we each are a Divine Child of God and therefore, infinitely lovable and loving is central to knowing our true nature, to living authentically and fully and to bringing the gift of ourselves to ourselves and to the world. I believe it is central to the very purpose of life, that being the coming to know God in every form and His presence in each and every sentient being.
This cosmic examination of Life is a very big topic so let’s step back to where we began, to the celebration of Thanksgiving. I often think that seeking clarity is a lot like focusing the lens of a camera, we can move into the tiniest detail or all the way out off the planet and somewhere in between, we will begin to see clearly; it is from that point that we can navigate the distances. In looking at the experience of thanksgiving, we can examine it on every plain in order to find the one that is most familiar and then move forward and back from there. If holding loving, appreciative thoughts for someone or something outside of yourself is easier than feeling that for the self, start there. In essence, thanksgiving is the presence of reverence and it’s that sense of the sacred that is central to love. If we feel love for someone or something, we can do no harm there. The feeling of reverence (love) for the self is at the heart of the urge for survival so it’s time to make friends with it and embrace self-love as central to human nature. We could even go so far as to say that the lack of acknowledged self-love is at the core of suffering but that’s another topic.
I believe we should always include ourselves in our prayers for others because we are all part of the experience of being a human being and therefore a part of all life. If we can consciously begin to bring forth the idea of no separation of the self from any other life, than we can begin to heal the pain and suffering in ourselves and in the world and make better decisions for a better future. This Thanksgiving, lets take the expansive step of embracing love and gratitude for all, starting with ourselves and moving out to include all Life.
Written by Kathleen White