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What is Thanksgiving?

Mike Ghouse, November 21, 2007

For every good we receive, we have to offer our gratitude to the giver, absence of a simple thank you creates discomfort and an imbalance in any relationship. A simple thank you will tie the loose ends, saving each one of us from the sense of incompleteness.

For every hurt we hurl on others, an equal amount of burden gets dumped on us, and until we say sorry and repent genuinely, the burden makes us do weird things and deteriorates the peace within us. The transaction remains incomplete.

Just as the accountant recites his mantra, for every debit there is a credit; the physicist says that for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction; and as a spiritualist I feel that for every wrong we do, an equal amount of serenity is drained from us.

In our quest to achieve the most peaceful state of mind, we may encounter eternal bliss from time to time but we may mess it up as well. We have to do our balance sheet.

To lead a comfortable life with fewer worries, we have to have more assets and or income than liabilities and payments. If we are in the hole (Red), we have to fill it immediately to survive, on the other hand if we are in the black (surplus) we don’t have to worry.

Let’s apply that to our spirituality again;

For everyone we hate, an equal amount of disturbance affects us within. When we hate, we are the losers not the ones we hate. This is the most important aspect of happiness, and every religion teaches us not to hate any one. The more hateful we are, the more problems we create for ourselves and the ones around us. It is in our interest to work on hate and it is in the interest of society to help each other to remove hate. Let's not do it because God wants it, or it is an act of nobility - let's do it because it makes sense, it gives us peace of mind and a sense of composure.

Life is a continual act of balancing between pain and pleasure, and to lead a normal life we have to maintain that equilibrium. We are constantly receiving and giving energy, intake and output must be equal to have a healthy mindset. Absence of this double entry book keeping will throw the books off balance.

Let me share a small story – Where I grew up, it was a Sunday ritual for us to sit and take care of the poor. A line of deprived individuals (I do not like the word ‘beggar’) formed in front of my house. Being the oldest in the family, my Dad would assign me the task of doling out the cash and food items to the individuals as they pass our door. I have seen lepers, blind people, people who cannot hear or talk, and certainly people with missing body parts.

I was fascinated by one gentleman in particular; he did not have arms and limbs from the base of the body, he was made up of just the torso and the head. He wrapped his body with a car tube (those days car tires were inlaid with an air tight tube to hold the air) and would slide inch by inch... his shoulder and rear part would move in tandem, similar to a snake. He always made me think about life and hope. I was about 14 years old then and was hesitant in speaking with him.

One day, I asked him what made him want to live. He did not have relatives, could not do anything, could not have a family, could not have a place to live, and could not wear clothes....

Why did he want to live?

He took a deep breath and looked at me and said, “Son, I look forward to every morning to see the blue sky or see the rain and smell the earth, I smell and taste the good food people give me, and I enjoy the water that I get now and then... I am thankful to Bhagwan (God's generic name in Hinduism) who has given me the eyes to see his creation ..”.

Appaiah turned around as asked “Isn’t there so much to thank the lord?” I was rendered speechless. That is gratitude. Just that morning, I heard my Dad’s favorite verse from Qur’aan- 55:16 “Then which of the favors of your Lord will ye deny? (- English (Arabic: Baset - Hussari - Minshawi .)” . To this day, if I am down, I to go to the scriptures, I have found solace in opening Bhagvad Gita, Bible, Dale Carnegie’s book, the book of Mormon or Kitáb-i-Aqdas (Baha'i) or Sura Rahman, chapter 55 in Qur’aan, to uplift my spirits.

 Happy Thanksgiving.

Do me a favor, carry a small piece of paper with you anywhere you go, and whenever you get a quiet moment, make a list of all the people you want to thank. Making a list is the least you can do, which in it self is peace giving and you will find a sense of relief with it. Even if you don’t call every one on the list, you have already said your thanks by thinking about the individual and reciting his or her name in your mind. When you express your gratitude to the persons who have made a difference in your life, it brings a ton of relief to you. The tension of the action (good done to you) to you is released with your re-action of thinking about them to writing their name down and possibly calling them.

Ponder over all the good things people have done to you, the good words they have said to you. Even if you don’t like some of them now, separate the good they have done and say thanks for it. Reign in on your ego and see the victory you feel within you.

On this note I would like to express my gratitude to Mr. Harbans Lal of Sheshadri Puram, Bangalore, my first boss, who encouraged me to write. That was in 1971 and since then I have written quite a lot. His voice still echoes “you will become a writer” and it's been music to me even since. Please become that voice to some one. There are many more people to thank, and I will do my part. Nothing beats the joy of it my friends, I really care about you, even though my email to you is not addressed to you in person, I know you. If you are happy, that makes me happy.

Each one of us can become a voice to others to encourage whatever talent we may have. We are a product of what others want us to be, most of the time. If you want a better society, invoke the best in others. It is indeed rewarding.

This year, my biggest gratitude goes to Mr. Everett Blauvelt, the man whom I call Dadsky. He has changed my whole life by inviting me to the United States and giving me a start. I express a deep sense of gratitude to him and dedicate this write up to him. Our friendship began 30 years ago in Shedgum-Uthmaniya-Dhahran, Saudi Arabia. I am also adding Bernie Mayoff, my friend how has forwarded my name to CNN's Heroes list. Thank you Bernie and Thank you Everett. I am making another list for private use and hope to call each one of them to let them know that I appreciate their presence in my life.

I further express my gratitude to our men and women who are doing their duty to protect our freedom. Please watch the following video about honoring our soldiers.

Happy thanksgiving

God bless America



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