There is a very intriguing holiday on the horizon for us. That holiday is Thanksgiving. It’s the time of year when we gather our family and close ones together, break bread and give thanks for what we are and what we have. It’s a holiday that requires little more than preparing a meal, eating and being thankful. Yet in such a simple, undemanding day lies one of the greatest keys to life.
When we express sincere thanks there is a deep resonance of gratitude that we can feel in our bodies. After all it isn’t called “heartfelt” thanks for nothing! When we focus on what we are thankful for our mind tunes into that which we have. Many times this means the mind shifts away from that which we lack, as it is a very common tendency for the mind to focus more on what we may have lost, don’t presently have, or feel we cannot obtain.
We as students of the Blue Dragon School of Martial Arts know that when we practice Qi Gong our mind plays a very important part in directing our Qi. Where we focus our mind increases the amount of Qi circulating to that body part during our practice. We as humans have a great gift and that gift is the power of choice. We have the ability to focus our mind on whatever we choose. The mind does not judge what we focus on, it simply follows the orders of our intention. We have the power of choice to direct the mind anywhere we desire. You may want to ask yourself; “What are my desires?” Do they match what your mind focuses on?
But back to this wonderful day; Thanksgiving. If we take some time this Thanksgiving and practice being thankful throughout the day, we may find that feelings of lack, loss, or fear tend to weaken. This is because the mind cannot focus on a positive and negative feeling at the same time. If you are happy, you can’t truly feel sad and vice versa.
We may also find as we continue the practice of being thankful that what we have to be thankful for seems to increase. Like our Qi when practicing Qi Gong, what we focus on grows. These “new found” things may have been in our lives all along, but it may only be now that we notice and appreciate them. We may even be lucky enough to experience an acceptance and appreciation for every circumstance in our lives, as we detach from judging the conditions of our life as good or bad and find lessons for us in all things and this is truly a wonderful gift.
It’s quite amazing that all these things can happen in one day of thanksgiving, but what is stopping us from living everyday from this place of appreciation? What is stopping us from moving out of a day of thanksgiving and into a life of thankful living? It seems the only things that hold us back are ourselves; our choice and our intention. If we can be thankful for one day, then we can do it everyday. If we can do it everyday just imagine how strong our feeling of appreciation can become in our hearts and lives. Imagine the energy we would emit into the world. Just like with meditation; if we can do it for one second, with practice we’ll one day do it for 10 seconds, then 1 minute, then 10 minutes and so on.
Here at the Blue Dragon School we have the perfect place to practice this. Every time you enter the dojang, take a moment and be reminded of what you are thankful for. We have a special place here to practice these things.
The choice is forever yours. Have a wonderful Thanksgiving.
Originally Published in the Fall, 2006. Written by Mark Beckenbach”