In America we celebrate Thanksgiving. In this day and age we may be finding it difficult to say and be Thankful. The world is having a rather rough go of it. We are being challenged everywhere we turn.
Thank you God. Thank you Baba for showing me that God is everywhere and God’s action is always Love. Therefore each test we are facing is for our good.
What good can come from this nightmare we are facing? We must ask that question over and over again. If we keep digging into the next answer that arises and not resting on the simplest and most superficial, we will find ourselves with an answer we never expected. The challenge is an opportunity, a tough opportunity, in which God and His Love are embedded in every fiber.
In my Saturday scripture class, we are presently reading the Bhagavadgītā. The scripture tells of the dialogue between Arjuna and Krishna on the nature of Reality. This dialogue takes place on the battlefield just before a great battle is about to occur between Arjuna and his relatives. Forgetting his path and not understanding the Truth of Reality, Arjuna loses heart and wishes not to fight.
We are Arjuna. How many times have we decided we “knew better” so that we could avoid action, right action? How many times have we bemoaned our fate instead of thanking God for providing the opportunity to get closer to who we truly are? We should be so thankful, and yet we will deny God.
“Perceiving that I was submerged in the flood of the great illusion, Thou, Hari,
didst indeed plunge into it and rescue me.
There is none other beside Thee in the whole world; but see our fate, that we
imagined ourselves existing [apart from Thee].
Filled with pride in my personality I thought that I was Arjuna in this world and
said that the Kauravas were my relatives.
In addition to that, I had the evil dream that I would kill them and then what
should I do? But the Lord wakened me from my sleep….
I, being no one, thought I was a person and called those my relatives who in
reality did not exist. Thou hast saved me from this great madness.” (Jnāneshvari XI.49-59)
We have all been through trials appropriate to our path. Most people do not know what each of us has been through. Hopefully we do not advertise or wear on our sleeve what has occurred. Hopefully we have learned so that we can be and are thankful for all that we have faced. And we have the clear vision to see that whatever God does He does for good. Hopefully we have learned that the nightmare was only a dream in which the individual, not who we truly are, acted its part.
“O Śiva, you have produced a three-world drama which has in its interior Māyā as the source of all the existents. You have presented the introductory portion of the drama. Where is the creative artist other than yourself who can bring about its conclusion?” (Stavacintāmaṇi 59)
If we know that God is both the producer and the soul (haha) actor of the entire play, then we will be thankful all the time, like the man in Meister Eckhart’s sermon who never had a bad day:
“You wished me good day. I never had a bad day; for if I am hungry I praise God; if it freezes, hails, snows, rains, if the weather is fair or foul, still I praise God; am I wretched and despised, I praise God, and so I have never had an evil day. You wished that God would send me luck. But I never had ill luck, for I know how to live with God, and I know that what He does is best; and what God gives me or ordains for me, be it good or ill, I take it cheerfully from God as the best that can be, and so I have never had ill luck. You wished that God would make me happy. I was never unhappy; for my only desire is to live in God’s will, and I have so entirely yielded my will to God’s, that what God wills, I will.” (qtd. in Underhill, Mysticism, 209)
Spiritual practice is about arriving at true Thankfulness at every moment of every day.
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