There is nothing in the world like giving thanks! True or False?
(Hint: Giving thanks takes us out of the world.)
Men and women have always tried to escape the pain and suffering of their old world by moving on to a new world. In April 1598, over 400 men, women and children participated in a ceremony giving thanks for reaching a new homeland just before crossing over to settle their "New Mexico," a region that is now New Mexico, Arizona, Eastern California, Southern Nevada, Western Texas, Western Oklahoma and Southwestern Kansas.
Maybe the real crossing over happened while they were giving thanks.
Another famous thanks giving event in American history was the gathering of Pilgrims and their allies in Plymouth, Massachusetts celebrating the success of their Fall harvest in 1621. The Pilgrims started a tradition in the early English colonies which lived on and in 1863 became an American national holiday set aside to give thanks for blessings received during the year.
Maybe the real blessings happen while we are giving thanks.
Stories of men and women escaping their old world and giving thanks for a new start in a whole new world abound throughout history. But what if the new world turns out to be not much different than the old world ... except in moments of thankfulness which could be seen as holy instants?
Talk to those who have constantly moved from one job to another, from one location to another, from one relationship to another. They will tell you they have learned the hard way there is no escape in this world. Whatever is the condition of your mind simply recreates the "same old, same old" in a new setting ... because your mind is creating the world you experience. The only escape would be to change your mind, which is what happens when we shift from a focus on escape to a focus on giving thanks.
Jesus Christ tells us we really do not want any particular job or location or relationship in the world we see. What we really want is to rise up out of this world altogether. In his revelation given for the 21st Century A Course in Miracles, Jesus says:
"Each thing you value here is but a chain that binds you to the world, and it will serve no other end but this. For everything must serve the purpose you have given it until you see a different purpose there. The only purpose worthy of your mind this world contains is that you pass it by, without delaying to perceive some hope where there is none. Be you deceived no more. The world you see has nothing that you want.
"Escape today the chains you place upon your mind when you perceive salvation here. For what you value you make part of you, as you perceive yourself. All things you seek to make your value greater in your sight limit you further, hide your worth from you, and add another bar across the door that leads to true awareness of your Self." (ACIM Lesson 128)
Even Jesus uses the word "escape," and surely escape is the result. But the mechanism is giving thanks. Yet notice that Jesus focuses far beyond giving thanks for the "blessings" we can count, since we have made the world of pain by deciding on our own what are blessings and what are not blessings. Jesus councils us to escape the world we have made altogether.
In the Holy Bible, Paul writes: "In every thing give thanks: for this is the Will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you" (1Thessalonians 5:18).
Paul is teaching as Jesus teaches. Not just for our blessings, give thanks. But for everything. We escape the world we have made totally and completely by achieving a state of thanksgiving for everything, every moment.
Some would call this "total forgiveness." Others might call it "accepting everything just the way it is." But look inside at your memory of heaven. When we finally choose to dwell in total forgiveness, when we finally laugh and accept everything as it is without resistance, we are surprised to notice that we are overwhelmingly grateful. People in total gratitude have been heard making utterances like: "Oh, my God! What a joy! I can barely speak!"
Do you need help in reaching a state of total overwhelming gratitude? You better believe it. Otherwise you would already be there. Your help is the ever-present Holy Spirit. Jesus in his course says of the Holy Spirit's help:
"Let Him be Judge as well of everything that seems to happen to you in this world. His lessons will enable you to bridge the gap between illusions and the truth. He will remove all faith that you have placed in pain, disaster, suffering and loss. He gives you vision which can look beyond these grim appearances, and can behold the gentle Face of Christ in all of them. You will no longer doubt that only good can come to you who are beloved of God, for He will judge all happenings and teach the single lesson which they all contain.
"Such is your resurrection, for your life is not a part of anything you see. It stands beyond the body and the world, past every witness for unholiness, within the Holy, holy as Itself. In everyone and everything His Voice would speak to you of nothing but your Self and your Creator, Who is One with Him. So will you see the holy Face of Christ in everything, and hear in everything no sound except the echo of God’s Voice." (ACIM Lesson 151)
So this Thanksgiving season we not only count our blessings and give thanks for our blessings, for that is merely a starting point. This season we put our entire heart and soul and being into our giving thanks, to feel a hundred million times more grateful than Spanish or English Pilgrims ever felt, to literally be overwhelmed by gratitude:
"We thank our Father for one thing alone; that we are separate from no living thing, and therefore one with Him. And we rejoice that no exceptions ever can be made which would reduce our wholeness, nor impair or change our function to complete the One Who is Himself completion. We give thanks for every living thing, for otherwise we offer thanks for nothing, and we fail to recognize the gifts of God to us."
Le s s o n 195
“Love is the way I walk in gratitude.”
"...nor will people say, 'Here it is,' or 'There it is,' because the kingdom of God is within you." (Luke 17:21)
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