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The Yoga Research Foundation is delighted to announce our annual Thanksgiving festivity on Sunday November 25th 2018 at the Miami ashram of our beloved Guru, Sri Swami Jyotirmayananda.  We warmly welcome you to a celebratory evening of food and fun, including a fabulous vegetarian feast, enchanting kirtan and stimulating discourse.  Please join us for this special event as we express our gratitude and gain priceless insight from our revered Guru into how to be truly thankful for all aspects of the lives with which we’ve been blessed. As a teaser for what you can look forward to on Sunday, we hope that you enjoy the following excerpt from an essay by Swamiji:

The Spirit of True Thankfulness

Every individual has been given a great opportunity for attaining Enlightenment, and this is the goal that one ought to strive for and not forget. Only when there is Enlightenment is there unity with God; only when one gets the revelation that the real you is one with the Divine Self is there complete fulfillment. This is the state of real thanksgiving to the Divine Self. The soul of man is thirsty and the water to quench this thirst is the water of knowledge, of immortality, of Self-realization. It is upon drinking this water that you are able to truly thank God for having bestowed human embodiment to allow for becoming one with the Divine Self.

People generally count their blessings by saying, “Thank you God, for keeping me healthy this year, for not letting my car break down, for the blessings that you have given to my family and relatives.” When finished recounting these blessings however, they often do not know what else to be thankful for, and their minds quickly return to a state of discontentment and craving. “Why did God deprive me of this opportunity?” or “Why did He give me this difficult situation in life?” or “Why does He place me in near perfect situations, only to have something spoil them?” One may feel like the person who expects that he will get the most delicious pudding on the menu, only to find a fly in it once served. People are forever wondering why God mars their joys. Hardly is one able to relax and feel a sense of joy when the sudden realization dawns that something is missing, that something is not quite right. Thus a ringing note of insecurity and dissatisfaction often sounds in the lives of men.

Therefore, one must derive deeper insight into the meaning of thankfulness.  Do not simply thank God for the things that you feel are valuable from an egoistic point of view. Even adversities have meaning within your lives when properly understood. In light of this, one should also thank God for these adverse situations. Adversity and prosperity, pain and pleasure-these are as natural to the evolution of the soul as day and night. From a practical perspective, one would be most uncomfortable if there were perpetual day or night. These must alternate. Similarly in one’s life, adversity and prosperity alternate. Both are needed for the soul to grow and evolve. Once you develop the insight that everything in life has been designed and planned by Divine intelligence, you give thanks to God perpetually, in a spiritually mature manner.

To live in the spirit of thankfulness means that you do not merely count your blessings in life, but rather you thank God because He is your innermost Self. You thank Him because He sustains your life. For true thankfulness in life means that you revere the Divine presence as an object of infinite love and sweetness. There is a mystic awareness that His Divine Hand is taking care of every moment and leading you to an amazing attainment that ego cannot possibly envision. The insight that God is within becomes a most powerful process for allowing you to overcome all imperfections and attain the highest.

If you enjoyed this nugget, then be sure to join us on Sunday as Swamiji delivers his insightful lecture on Thanksgiving.  We certainly look forward to seeing you there. OM Tat Sat!

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