“Open your eyes to the good that you now have; keep alert and alive to each new manifestation of His grace.” — Paramahansa Yogananda
At Thanksgiving — a time that draws together family and friends to celebrate in loving appreciation all we have received from the Giver of every good gift — we in Paramahansa Yogananda’s ashrams join you in offering to God our hearts’ gratitude. We send you our special remembrances and love, and prayers for our spiritual family around the world, conscious always that your divine friendship is a most treasured blessing.
Gurudeva very much appreciated the tradition of setting aside a national day to reflect upon God’s bounty; and he encouraged us to live every day in a spirit of thankfulness. The Divine sustains us whether or not we acknowledge Him. But how much sweeter and more transformative that relationship is when we become aware of the countless ways that His presence pervades our lives. When we open our eyes to the wonders of His creation and feel the touch of His love through every kindness, through each uplifting truth revealed by God-attuned souls and every comforting insight in times of need, we begin to realize how deeply He cares for our well-being. As we refine the perceptivity of our consciousness by sincere gratitude, our connection with Him is strengthened, and we are less vulnerable to the negative expressions of the dualities of this world.
The practice of “counting our blessings” trains our minds to seek out and concentrate on the good in ourselves, in others, and in the various circumstances of life — even those that test our faith in God. Thus we become more receptive to His guidance and love, whether His grace comes as an answered prayer or as an opportunity to stretch our capacities and grow in spiritual strength and understanding. When we look to the positive, and see God’s hand behind it, we store up precious memories of His help that we can draw upon to reinforce our trust in Him. As faith and attunement with Him increase, we understand that He is never indifferent to us. “If you keep watching for Him and the many ways in which He does respond,” Guruji said, “you will know that in fact He answers you all the time.” The greatest assurance that the Divine is ever sustaining us comes when, in the stillness of inner communion, distractions of the material world fall away and we are bathed in His light and love. Feeling beneath our consciousness the supporting ocean of His limitless Life and Being, we recognize that though we had not known it, He has bestowed on us the supreme treasure — the eternal gift of Himself.
Cultivating this wisdom-perception fills the heart with gratitude to the Divine One. It overflows not just in words of thankfulness but as desire to give — to offer to Him unconditionally our efforts to know and love Him; and to reach out to those in need, materially or otherwise. From my own heart, I pray at Thanksgiving time that you find the pure joy of giving — the soul-freedom and security that come when by spirit-enlarging gratitude we allow His abundance to flow freely into our inner and then outer lives, and through us to all.
A blessed Thanksgiving to you and your loved ones,
Sri Mrinalini Mata
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