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Wednesday, November 21, 2007

What is Thanksgiving?

What is Thanksgiving?
Mike Ghouse, November 21, 2007 .

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For every good we receive, we have to offer our gratitude to the giver, absence of a simple thank you creates discomfort and an imbalance in any relationship. A simple thank you will tie the loose ends, saving each one of us from the sense of incompleteness.

For every hurt we hurl on others, an equal amount of burden gets dumped on us, and until we say sorry and repent genuinely, the burden makes us do weird things and deteriorates the peace within us. The transaction remains incomplete.

Just as the accountant recites his mantra, for every debit there is a credit; the physicist says that for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction; and as a spiritualist I feel that for every wrong we do, an equal amount of serenity is drained from us.

In our quest to achieve the most peaceful state of mind, we may encounter eternal bliss from time to time but we may mess it up as well. We have to do our balance sheet.

To lead a comfortable life with fewer worries, we have to have more assets and or income than liabilities and payments. If we are in the hole (Red), we have to fill it immediately to survive, on the other hand if we are in the black (surplus) we don’t have to worry.

Let’s apply that to our spirituality again;

For everyone we hate, an equal amount of disturbance affects us within. When we hate, we are the losers not the ones we hate. This is the most important aspect of happiness, and every religion teaches us not to hate any one. The more hateful we are, the more problems we create for ourselves and the ones around us. It is in our interest to work on hate and it is in the interest of society to help each other to remove hate. Let's not do it because God wants it, or it is an act of nobility - let's do it because it makes sense, it gives us peace of mind and a sense of composure.

Life is a continual act of balancing between pain and pleasure, and to lead a normal life we have to maintain that equilibrium. We are constantly receiving and giving energy, intake and output must be equal to have a healthy mindset. Absence of this double entry book keeping will throw the books off balance.

Let me share a small story Where I grew up, it was a Sunday ritual for us to sit and take care of the poor. A line of deprived individuals (I do not like the word ‘beggar’) formed in front of my house. Being the oldest in the family, my Dad would assign me the task of doling out the cash and food items to the individuals as they pass our door. I have seen lepers, blind people, people who cannot hear or talk, and certainly people with missing body parts.


I was fascinated by one gentleman in particular; he did not have arms and limbs from the base of the body, he was made up of just the torso and the head. He wrapped his body with a car tube (those days car tires were inlaid with an air tight tube to hold the air) and would slide inch by inch... his shoulder and rear part would move in tandem, similar to a snake. He always made me think about life and hope. I was about 14 years old then and was hesitant in speaking with him.

One fine day, I asked him what made him want to live. He did not have relatives, could not do anything, could not have a family, could not have a place to live, and could not wear clothes....

Why did he want to live?

He took a deep breath and looked at me and said, “Son, I look forward to every morning to see the blue sky or see the rain and smell the earth, I smell and taste the good food people give me, and I enjoy the water that I get now and then... I am thankful to Bhagwan (God's generic name in Hinduism) who has given me the eyes to see his creation ..”.

Appaiah turned around as asked me, “Isn’t there so much to thank the lord?” I was rendered speechless. That is gratitude. Just that morning, I heard my Dad’s favorite verse from Qur’aan- 55:16 “Then which of the favors of your Lord will ye deny? (- English (Arabic: Baset - Hussari - Minshawi .)” . To this day, if I am down, I to go to the scriptures, I have found solace in opening Bhagvad Gita, Bible, Dale Carnegie’s book, the book of Mormon or Kitáb-i-Aqdas (Baha'i) or Sura Rahman, chapter 55 in Qur’aan, to uplift my spirits.

http://www.islamicity.com/QuranSearch/ 55:13 Which, then, of your Sustainer’s powers can you disavow? Asad(55,4) Topics discussed in this Verse: [Allah's favours gratitude for:will you deny] Fabiayyi alai rabbikuma tukaththibani فَبِأَيِّ آلَاء رَبِّكُمَا تُكَذِّبَانِ (55:13) Baset - Hussari - Minshawi

Happy Thanksgiving.

Do me a favor, carry a small piece of paper with you anywhere you go, and whenever you get a quiet moment, make a list of all the people you want to thank. Making a list is the least you can do, which in it self is peace giving and you will find a sense of relief with it. Even if you don’t call every one on the list, you have already said your thanks by thinking about the individual and reciting his or her name in your mind. When you express your gratitude to the persons who have made a difference in your life, it brings a ton of relief to you. The tension of the action (good done to you) to you is released with your re-action of thinking about them to writing their name down and possibly calling them.

Ponder over all the good things people have done to you, the good words they have said to you. Even if you don’t like some of them now, separate the good they have done and say thanks for it. Reign in on your ego and see the victory you feel within you.

Today, I would like to express my gratitude to Mr. Harbans Lal of Sheshadri Puram, Bangalore, my first boss, who encouraged me to write. That was in 1971 and since then I have written quite a lot. His voice still echoes “you will become a writer” and it's been music to me even since. Please become that voice to some one.

There are many more people to thank, and I will do my part. Nothing beats the joy of it my friends, I really care about you, even though my email to you is not addressed to you in person, I know you. If you are happy, that makes me happy.Each one of us can become a voice to others to encourage whatever talent we may have. We are a product of what others want us to be, most of the time. If you want a better society, invoke the best in others. It is indeed rewarding.

This year, my biggest gratitude goes to Mr. Everett Blauvelt, the man whom I call Dadsky. He has changed my whole life by inviting me to the United States and giving me a start. I express a deep sense of gratitude to him and dedicate this write up to him. Our friendship began 30 years ago in Shedgum-Uthmaniya-Dhahran, Saudi Arabia. I am also adding Bernie Mayoff, my friend how has forwarded my name to CNN's Heroes list. Thank you Bernie and Thank you Everett. I am making another list for private use and hope to call each one of them to let them know that I appreciate their presence in my life.

I further express my gratitude to our men and women who are doing their duty to protect our freedom. Please watch the following video about honoring our soldiers. http://www.youtube.com/v/ervaMPt4Ha0&autoplay=1

Link for this article: http://www.mikeghouse.net/What-is-Thanksgiving.asp

Happy thanksgiving

God bless America


Mike Ghouse is a Speaker, Thinker, Writer and a Moderator. He is president of the http://www.foundationforpluralism.com/ and is a frequent guest on talk radio and local television network discussing interfaith, political and civic issues. He is the founding president of the http://www.worldmuslimcongress.com/ with a simple theme: "Good for Muslims and good for the world." His personal Website is http://www.mikeghouse.net/ and his articles can be found on the Websites mentioned above and in his Blogs: http://mikeghouseforamerica.blogspot.com/ and http://mikeghouse.sulekha.com/ Mike is a Dallasite for nearly three decades and Carrollton is his home town. He can be reached at MikeGhouse@gmail.com
For a full bio:
http://www.mikeghouse.net/ProfileMikeGhouse.asp

1 comment:

  1. CLARIFICATIONS:

    The following comment in particular compelled me to clarify my regard for our men and women:
    Mike, A wonderful write up spoiled unforgivably in the end. "I further express my gratitude to our men and women who are doing their duty to protect our freedom. Please watch the following video about honoring our soldiers."

    Sheesh...what were you thinking? even if i go by the US polls a majority of Americans oppose(d) the Iraqi incursion...not to mention the majority worldwide... the neoconzix dream of cornering oil supplies have led to the death of millions of civilians and there is no end in sight. This obsessive lame-duck president would like nothing better than to leave another mess (iran) also for the next administration to sort out
    Sorry mike - you irretrievably spoiled an otherwise nice thanksgiving essay by being more loyal than the king.

    My Response:

    The rightness and wrongness of the war should not be placed on our soldiers. However, how they act on the ground; morally or immorally towards the combatants and the civilians is their responsibility. They have to follow the Geneva convention.

    The soldiers duty is to do what they are asked to; they always believe that they are defending their nation and the freedom of it. The ultimate responsibility for the war and the wrongness of it rests squarely on us, the people, the people who elected the neo-cons like Bush and Cheney who have no regard for life or for any morality.

    The US system of governance is one of the best in the world, however, it stinks when it comes to getting rid of the bad boys. In UK, Israel, India and perhaps Canada, these rascals would have been out of job with a no-confidence vote in the Parliament. They don't deserve to be. We Americans need to figure out how to safeguard our nation from the extremists like Cheney/Bush. ( http://mikeghouseforamerica.blogspot.com/2007/11/impeach-vp-cheney.html )

    All of us are making waves to rid of the Bush/Cheney Regime, I have written 13 articles condemning the acts of our President and his VP. Two of the articles were on the soap box of the congress website. They are mass murders of over a million people.

    President Bush and VP Cheney will go down as the immoral administrators in American History. I am a Moderate Republican and completely opposed to the extremists in our party, we need more of us to bring sanity in our party.

    I salute the soldiers, they are doing their job with good intention. As the immorality of the war is surfacing, more and more soldiers are refusing to go back to serve in Iraq. I salute them as well.

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