Fresh Gratitude: It’s What’s For Dinner

For Thanksgiving, the Sun presents great column again

A while ago, I was "on retreat." I prefer "on retreat" to the ominous "in the hospital," just as I prefer "on sabbatical" to "in jail" and "exploring new opportunities" to "laid off."

In any case, while I was on retreat, I had a roommate named Ferd. Ferd was a slight, unshaven man who resembled George W. Bush on a bender. In one of Ferd’s rare moments of lucidity, I asked about his name.

"Mom couldn’t spell Fred," he said.

Ferd was an extraordinarily annoying, totally self-absorbed person, perhaps because of his decades-long overindulgences in various legal and illegal intoxicants. Those indulgences caused Ferd to have, to put it gently, "squirrels in the attic." Ferd would constantly bellow, "I want somethin’!" The hospital staff, who knew Ferd well, usually ignored him. Ferd would grow impatient and then yell "c’mon, c’mon," followed by an even louder "I want somethin’! Now!"

This would go on for hours, or until Ferd got somethin’ — usually food. Then the cycle would repeat.

During Ferd’s tirades, I would ponder the dire spiritual consequences of "I want somethin’!’"

Measured on psychologist Dr. David R. Hawkin’s kinesiological scale of consciousness; wanting or desire registers at 125 on a scale from 1 to 1,000, with 10 being comatose and 1,000 being pure consciousness, or God. Thus, wanting and desire are very low-level, negative, fear-based emotions that will drain you of joy. This is why Buddhists call wanting and desire duhkha — the root of all suffering. Duhkha is wanting things to be other than the way things are.

Psychologist Dr. Thomas Hora, the founder of metapsychiatry, said: "Suffering comes from wanting, and not wanting." Patrul Rinpoche claimed: "It is said that there are only two tragedies in life: not getting what one wants, and getting it." This is because of the impersonal power of the spiritual law of attraction: "you reap what you sow." Hence, the great law rewards want and desire with more want and desire, at the low consciousness level of 125.

I tried pointing this out to Ferd, as kindly as possible. He pondered it for about five seconds. Then he belched, passed gas and yelled, "I want somethin’!"

Mystic Annie Besant said that the great law "Binds the ignorant, but frees the wise." Ferd didn’t realize this, so the great law kept giving him more "I want somethin’!"

A good way to break free from the low level of want and desire consciousness is to have a Thanksgiving gratitude adjustment. If you are spiritually inclined, a fine Thanksgiving gratitude adjustment meditation can begin with this beautiful aphorism from the Sufi mystic Rumi:

"A breath that is not used to thank God is wasted."

Conversely, if spirituality evades you, you can have a Thanksgiving gratitude adjustment by using each breath to express thanks for the incredible miracle — the odds are 10 to the 270,000th power — that you exist.

Christian mystic Donna Goddard said this about gratitude:

"When we maintain a conscious connection with gratitude, our presence will naturally radiate a certain beauty and undisturbed, inner tranquility. Such individuals glow. All such individuals look beautiful and seem irresistible to those who value goodness. They have an attractor field of loveliness which, likewise, tends to bring out the beauty in other people."

A conscious connection with gratitude — a Thanksgiving gratitude adjustment — raises your consciousness level to 350, the non-duhkha level of peaceful acceptance. Thus, the law of attraction will bring harmonious conditions into your life, and into all lives in range of your consciousness.

Psychologist Dr. Melanie Greenberg very eloquently discussed a Thanksgiving gratitude attitude:

"To begin bringing gratitude into your life, you can deliberately meditate on all the things in your own life that help you or give you pleasure. You can also write a gratitude diary. The holidays are a great time to express your gratitude to friends and family by writing cards and exchanging thoughtful, personal gifts. Sharing food with the poor is another way to express appreciation for the abundance of food that we have in this country. Gratitude can lead to feelings of love, appreciation, generosity, and compassion. These further open our hearts and help rewire our brains to fire in more positive ways."

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