Often, we find ourselves dwelling in dark places, with little joy, and we find it difficult to recognize the true gifts we have in life. Perhaps these gifts are our parents, our children, or our spouse. Perhaps these gifts are friends or teachers who have helped us along the way. Maybe these gifts are simple pleasures in life, like a few minutes to relax after a long day or week, or a sunset (or even a sunrise). We all have gifts in our lives, but sometimes they are easy to forget; and as a result we fail to give thanks.
We live imperfect lives — in imperfect times. One of our challenges, is to seek a path that does not aim to perfect but rather to accept life’s imperfection while working to improve life, to reduce suffering. There is a great deal of suffering in this world. Very likely, you suffer. We all do in one way or another. Your suffering may be physical. It may be mental or emotional. It may be caused by an ailment or a relationship with another person. Suffering is the human condition. And yet, we can work to reduce suffering, in our own lives, and in the lives of others. One way is to give thanks.
When we give thanks, we acknowledge that our suffering has been relieved in someway. It feels good to give thanks. We smile when we say thank you. It reduces suffering, not only for the person who is giving thanks but for the person how is being thanked.
This year, on Thanksgiving, I am thankful for many things. I’ve got good health, good family, good friends, and all the things for which we are usually thankful. But what I’m most thankful for, is that I’ve discovered some ways to be more mindful in my life and these practices are making a difference. I am thankful that I am feeling more joy and wonder even in imperfect times in this imperfect life.