Giving Thanks – Br. Shankara

Download the MP3

Click to download at PDF of the Notes & Quotes from this talk.

November 24, 2019

November is a month for study of Bhakti Yoga. A bhakti yogi (bhakta) establishes a devotional relationship with God through study, prayer, ritual, and worship. As a bhakta, you practice giving every action, thought, emotion, perception and tendency “a Godward turn.” All your energies and attributes, both positive and negative, are offered to the Divine Presence. Your prayer is for self-surrender and, ultimately, union with your Belovèd.

America’s beloved Holiday of Thanksgiving is a week away. This Sunday morning we will talk about Giving Thanks, as a spiritual aspirant.

Here are some thoughts from Henry David Thoreau: A 19th Century American spiritual teacher, Thoreau offers us a very practical kind of spirituality:

“Pursue some path, however narrow and crooked, in which you can walk with love and reverence.

“If you advance confidently in the direction of your dreams, and endeavor to live the life which you have imagined, you will meet with a success unexpected in everyday circumstances.

“As a single footstep will not make a path on the earth, so a single thought will not make a pathway in the mind. To make a deep physical path, we walk again and again. To make a deep mental path, we must think over and over the kind of thoughts we wish to dominate our lives.

What you get by achieving your goals is not as important as what you become by achieving your goals. Things do not change; we change.”

The practice of greater kindness and compassion are very beneficial ways to change. So, as we offer our gratitude at this Season of the Year, let’s keep this in mind; it’s from Mark Twain: “The observance of Thanksgiving Day — as a function — has become general of late years. The Thankfulness is not so general. This is natural. Two-thirds of the nation have always had hard luck and a hard time during the year, and this has a calming effect upon their enthusiasm.”  That’s from Following the Equator, published in 1897.

Thanksgiving Day will mark the beginning of our annual food and clothing drive — a way to be of service to those who are having a hard time. Food will be given to the Atlanta Community Food Bank for distribution; warm winter clothing will go to the Threshold Ministry in Decatur, which serves the homeless.