Sunday Edition

Be thankful to god

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Be thankful to god

Let us recount the many things for which we owe gratitude to God, the giver. That will pave the way towards a better life, writes Sant Rajinder Singh

First, we are extremely fortunate that our soul was born into a human body. If we look around at all the various species of life, we see what a difficult existence they have. They have a life in which they have to find shelter from the elements and live in fear of predators. While many people treat their pets as well as their own family members, pets are still enslaved. Even though there are now pet beauty salons, pet therapists, and pet yoga classes offered, animals lack the faculty that we have in which we can be conscious of who we are. Their lives are restricted to feelings and survival instincts. They cannot contemplate who they are, why they are here, and where they are going. We are fortunate that we have been born into the only species who can know ourselves and know God. For this, we should thank God.

How many thank God for our health? When we are in the throes of a serious illness or have an accident and are in pain, we send loud prayers to God to help us, to take away our pain and heal us. Yet, how many of us send prayers to God in gratitude for our health? We may utter a “Thank God,” when our illness or our pain ends, but then we often do not thank God for each day thereafter that we are healthy.

We may feel that God only exists when everything goes our way. We ignore the good things such as our physical gifts, intellectual gifts, and emotional gifts from God. We forget that everything we receive comes from God. Instead, we set up a condition that we only believe there is a God if we get whatever we want. We take for granted what God has given to us and focus on what God has not given to us.

We may have had a job for twenty-five years, but the one time we are laid off due to a company downsizing we say there is no God. We may have had a loving family relationship for fifty years, but when one member passes away, we forget how long we enjoyed his or her company and instead blame God or say there is no good in our life. We may have been healthy for forty years, but the one major illness we have we say, “Why is this happening to me? There must not be any God.” We may win all our sports games, but the one loss causes us to say, “God doesn’t care about me.” Think about the plight of God. With all that has been given to us, we blame God when one thing goes wrong. How would we think God feels when that happens? Few are grateful to God for the good they receive so that when something goes wrong they tell God, “It’s okay, God. I still love You, I am grateful to You, and I know You are there. What happened must have been something that was best for me, or was due to my karma that I created, or is a part of nature and life and is okay, under Your will.” How many people take such a grateful attitude to God?

There are people who undergo a tremendous amount of pain yet remain grateful and thank God on days they are pain-free. Most take good health for granted. Even if we have some physical problems or some pain we have to live with, we should thank God for what we still can do, whether it is waking up in the morning, or going to work, or finding some moments of enjoyment in our lives. If we spend time complaining to God about our physical condition, even though we can still function, we should look at those who have serious handicaps that make them dependent on others, and then reevaluate our own situation. Some people have handicaps, yet are so grateful they are alive or that their suffering is not worse. They are grateful to God for whatever blessings they do have. Let us thank God for our health and be grateful our ailments are not worse than they are. For each day that we are able to do our work, enjoy our family and friends, and meditate, thank God.

Have we ever thanked God for our spouse, our parents, or our children? We often find reasons to complain about those in our family, but we seldom realize how helpful it is to have a family. Some may be living alone now, but when they were growing up, they lived with family. Think about how difficult life would be without parents, a caretaker, siblings, a spouse, children, or relatives. Friends can help us only so far, but family members are committed to being there for us through thick and thin. When we are sick, they help us. When we have no money, they are there. They are there to listen to our problems and to help us. We often find a reason to complain to God about our family members, but how many thank God that we have them? Often, we only appreciate them when we lose them through death or separation. Let us take time to thank God for them and also show them how much we appreciate them.

We also have received spiritual gifts. This includes the gift of our soul longing for God. Many may feel God has forsaken them. They do not feel God in their lives. Some even deny the existence of God. Why? When we are so focused on our outer life, we do not see what is coming to us from our inner life. We are only facing in one direction.

Spiritually, we are blessed. Our soul is a part of God. Each of us is blessed with a way to find God who sits within us. In this search, some people stop at the level of going to their places of worship and reading scriptures. For them, this is a beginning of connection with God. Outer religious practices provide some time in which people can think about God, sing God’s praises, and worship. These gifts focus our attention on God. However, for our soul to directly experience God requires more than outer worship. There is a part of us that wants to know God and is not satisfied with only reading about God in scriptures or doing outer practices to worship God. When we have a spiritual awakening in which we realize the need to find God, we begin to yearn to receive a firsthand experience of the spark of the Divine. We start a search for God and cannot rest until we meet God. We are no longer satisfied with the attractions of this world; we want something lasting.

God is gracious and works through spiritual masters. Masters point the way back to God’s Abode. A spiritual Master roams the earth ready to show seekers the way back to God. Masters are like lighthouses beaming out rays to invite our lost ships back to a safe harbor. If our eyes are facing the darkness and mist of the seas, we do not see the lighthouse. The moment we are threatened by storms, we turn our eyes in every direction, seeking the guiding light of the lighthouse. That moment is our spiritual awakening when we realize we cannot brave the stormy seas of life alone and need help. We do not know how to access God. The Master is a catalyst who puts us in touch with God through a process of initiation into the inner light and sound and teaches meditation on that current. Through meditation, our soul can travel on that divine current back to its true source.

If we have asked the questions about who we are, if there is God, and what the purpose of life is, we should be grateful to God. If God has put us in touch with a living Master, we can express gratitude.




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