An unexpected book arrived in the mail the other day. A gift from my friend’s at Wisdom Publications. Zen Master Raven: The Teachings of a Wise Old Bird. by Zen Master human form, Robert Aitken. Here the koans are told by and to animals of the forest: raven, porcupine, owl, woodpecker, badger, black bear, and […]
If you’ve read my posts about Thanksgiving before, you know my basic premise is that we should be thankful everyday, not just this day. In fact, we could be thankful in every moment we are alive. Each moment that we are not, we are missing an opportunity to open ourselves to the grace of being alive.
Much has been happening in the world lately. Many people in many places are losing their lives in acts of violence. The attacks in Paris have captured the developed world’s attention and motivated a huge outpouring of support, solidarity, and outrage.
Still, more events like these could occur and each day that they do not is an occasion to be grateful. Each moment that some mishap does not visit us is a victory against the vicissitudes of randomness, genes, and the laws of physics, not to mention the intentions of malicious others.
It can also be helpful to recognize the privilege we enjoy to be having a feast today. While indulging in turkey and traditional trimmings, it can be helpful to recognize how fortunate we are to have enough food to eat. Many people around the world go hungry on a daily basis.
How to best account for our privilege is an open question that I don’t pretend to have an answer to. One thing that I do know is that there is really no way to let ourselves off the hook. A bit of volunteer work or donating money won’t cut it. We cannot save the world nor can we do our part or not do our part. The wound of the world persists.
Our primary task is to keep our own house in order: to act with mindfulness in the world, to treat ourselves, others, and the environment of which we are a living component with compassion, kindness, and appreciation.
What we do beyond this is a matter of individual commitment, conscience, and the context of your life in this moment. We can never do enough yet everything we do contributes something.
Take a mindful breath today before taking a bite of that turkey. Be mindful of the turkey’s life that was taken for you to eat it. Be mindful of the opportunity to gather with friends and family. Be mindful of the peace you are enjoying. Be mindful of the absence of calamity (I am assuming that if you are reading this post that you are enjoying peace and the absence of calamity).
This is what I’ll be doing today and I wish everyone an abundant, heartfelt, and harmony today and everyday.