At the beginning of every A Course in Miracles class I teach, I do a grounding meditation to help us settle in. Earlier this week, so close to Thanksgiving, it seemed appropriate to include an element of gratitude.
But often in the meditations, I ask everyone to think about something they’re grateful for. I wanted something different this time—an unexpected take on thankfulness.
That’s when this idea floated in:
Ask everyone to think about why the world is thankful for them.
That was a new way of thinking about Thanksgiving for me, and I think it’s worth sharing. So here’s the meditation that emerged from it, step by step. Try it sometime this weekend if you’re feeling tired/stressed/stuffed/disquieted/alone/celebratory.
- Sit quietly. Wriggle around in your chair a bit until you find that sweet spot of comfort.
- Take a few deep breaths and let them out with audible sighs. Feel yourself taking in rejuvenation and letting out anything stale, burdensome or unneeded.
- Focus on every part of your body, from the top of your head to the tips of your toes, feeling each relax. Take a moment to acknowledge and thank parts of your body for modeling why both giving and receiving are equally important. For instance, thank the chambers of your heart for taking the blood in and pumping it out, an act that’s essential to your well-being on every level. Thank your arms and hands for everything they carry. Thank your legs and feet for all the places they carry you to.
- Once you feel fully relaxed, focus your attention on your solar plexus, the spot just above your navel. In your mind’s eye, see an inner flame burning. Recognize that the flame is your eternal light. Then focus on the circle of light created by that flame.
- As you feel the warmth and glow of that circle, think of the gifts and graces you possess that make the world grateful for you. If you resist or balk at this question, that’s okay. Simply sit and breathe, and ask for your fear-based thoughts about it to be healed. Focus on at least characteristic that is unique to you, and release any judgment you might have about yourself. Your greatest gifts could be anything from your tenacity to the care you put into planning a meal.
- Now see yourself putting at least one characteristic into a gift box that you hold in your hands. Tie the box up in a bow and see yourself offering it to the world. Know that it’s received, and feel the impact it has on others.
- Sit quietly and breathe, feeling the cycle of giving and receiving at work in you, and in the universe.
- If there’s a particular person who comes to mind, invite them into your circle of light. Bless them with the warm glow, and ask them why they are grateful for you. Sit quietly, allowing yourself to receive their message, and feeling the impact of their words in and through you. If you feel unworthy of their thanks, ask for that thought to be healed so you can take in their blessing of gratitude.
- If other people come to mind, repeat this step, inviting each of them individually or collectively into your light, and listening to the reasons they’re thankful for you.
- Now, take a moment to express your gratitude to Spirit for this experience, and to all those who impact you with their light.
- Remember that you can return to this awareness of your light and your gifts at any time. Take a few deep breaths, gradually letting them out with deeper and more audible sighs.
- Start to wiggle your fingers and toes. Slowly, and when you’re ready, open your eyes and return to your space.
This Thanksgiving, remember that it’s an even equation: As much as you’re grateful for people and circumstances in your life, you can be assured that they are equally grateful for you.
Have a happy and peaceful holiday!