Giving Thanks Every Day
Thanksgiving is a traditional North American holiday, few other countries celebrate it. American or not, whether you know the historical events around this celebration, there are many other reasons to be thankful every single day. “Count your blessings,” as they say.
Giving thanks is about mindfulness, living in the present moment, appreciating and accepting all that you have. This goes beyond your material possessions. I would compare thankfulness to santosa. In the Yoga Sutras, Patanjali defines the Eight Limbs of Ashtanga Yoga. The niyamas are the second limb and santosa is one of the niyamas; it is the practice of cultivating contentment.
Yoga Sutra II.42 says, “By contentment, supreme joy is gained.” This joy or happiness must come from within us. If you are constantly searching outside of yourself for objects or experiences to make you happy, you will soon become trapped in never ending-cycle. There is no amount of material possessions that can keep you happy. You will eventually become bored.
Santosa is about being content and satisfied with what you have right now, instead of dwelling on what is missing. It is an internal process that we must practice and cultivate. It allows us to experience joy in any situation, even if it seems challenging. It’s accepting the good and the bad.
Take a moment right now and make a list of all the things you are grateful for. Even if it’s just one thing, even if it seems small or unimportant. Sit with that thought for a few moments. Focus on the feeling in your heart and the joy it brings to your life. Being thankful and content is a choice you can make every day.
Every day is thanks giving day!