Thanksgiving is a time when people send out messages of gratitude; for community, food, friendship, and family. I’m grateful for the joy of loving our community and this beautiful land where we live. I’m endlessly grateful for the immense, wordless beauty of nature.
And I’m also feeling grateful for difficulties. They can keep us awake, and show us how much we care. When we practice Dharma together, we are in a different relationship with our difficulties. We learn how to be present with life’s unwanted suffering and fears, so they don’t capture all our attention. We can see with perspective, calmly in the present moment. This is how to use tough experiences to free our hearts, to strengthen our wisdom and awaken our compassion.
I’m grateful for the pain I feel for our world. I appreciate the sadness I feel when humans lose or kill each other, when thousands of species are disappearing forever — amphibians, birds, primates, fish, reptiles, butterflies, whales, porpoises, dolphins, reef-building coral, maybe 50% of all species by mid-century.
The depth of our sorrow is a tribute, a measure of the love and caring we feel. It can motivate us to deal mindfully with our emotions by giving ourselves some time and space to meditate. Then we can move into the world with tenderness and courage — to act, serve, and tend with a grateful, free and joyful spirit.