Can You Really Be Thankful?
There is a commercial currently running that features a group of guys in a convertible, running low on gas. One of the guys takes out a birthday card from the glove compartment, takes a picture of the enclosed check, and voila! They can instantly buy the gas they need and are on their way. Clearly they are happy for both the gas and the instant access to the funds. But are they truly thankful?
Little children everywhere are taught to say please and say thank you, and they dutifully repeat these words to get the object of their desire, but we know they are just parroting the words. They do not hold meaning, other than it makes the adults smile, and that is good in their little world.
In our everyday life, we routinely say thank you as well. It is polite, socially acceptable, and a conversation ender. You said it, it's done, on to other things. But saying thank you and feeling thankful are two separate things.
When I think of the times that I have been truly thankful, it is because someone shared their skill or resources to help me do something I could not do myself. Whether that was a doctor, a fire fighter, a technician, an auto mechanic, a teacher, a co-worker, or a stranger, the times I am truly thankful is when I am in need. I am even more thankful when I see what it costs for the giver to help me. How many of us have received checks in birthday cards from a grandparent or older relative? How many of us realize the actual cost to those sending the check? Do the guys in the commercial think about what grandma went without so she could send a $10.00 check (plus postage?)
Saying thank you is easy. Being truly thankful requires humility, sincerity, and empathy. In our yoga practice, we focus on these things and seek to stay on our path of enlightenment. What are you truly thankful for today? How can you show it?
See also Being Thankful in a Thankless World. Pay it Forward in kindness and truly celebrate the Thanksgiving holiday in your mind, in your words, and in your heart.