Today, the second Monday in the month of October is our Canadian Thanksgiving … a holiday built on being thankful and saying grace for the food and the loved ones who bless our table.
The ritual of saying grace is as old as mankind’s need for nourishment and transcends all cultures – ancient civilization right through to modern society. Regardless of your roots or beliefs, there are countless traditions and rituals to bless our bounty and give thanks.
But have you ever really sat down and thought about why we give thanks?
- To purify the food – both literally and spiritually
- To express our gratitude to God for providing for us
- To be thankful that we have enough to share
As I explored my own spiritual path, I was led to the works of Dr. Masaru Emoto who photographed water crystals and the effect that thoughts and words had on the molecular structure of the water crystal. He discovered that the most beautiful crystals formed when the water was exposed to the words “love” and “thank you” (which is pictured above). Hateful, ugly words had the opposite effect – poorly formed, muddy, ugly crystals.
If our words and thoughts can have such an effect on water, think of the effect they have on ourselves – made mostly of water – and others!
It is a Hindu belief that each food grain we eat has life in it. And we – as we consume food – kill this life. Do we not owe this life a prayer of thanks? Regardless whether it is a grain of rice or a sentient animal, it has died so that we may live.
It’s incredibly humbling to understand this, and makes saying grace a deeply personal and deeply satisfying action. And Karma – also a concept of Hinduism – is at play here. By thanking the water that I drink and the food that I eat, I change its structure to something beautiful – that I take within me. I would much rather consume “love” and “gratitude” than “hate” and “anger”. I hope that I become what I consume.
I gave thanks this morning to my morning cup of coffee – the trees that bore the coffee beans, the people who picked them, the lovely, thirst-quenching water used to brew the coffee and the cow who gave me her milk. It is my hope that all of those things lead wonderful lives and I am thankful for their sacrifice, especially the dairy cow.
As I prepare our traditional Thanksgiving feast with my son Matthew, I give thanks to all that is before me … the plants used to make the sage & onion stuffing, the vegetables, the cranberries and of course, the turkey. This animal lived and loved.
And water. All water is holy. It is the essence of life. Give thanks to the water that bathes us, quenches our thirst and cooks our food. And it might just return the favour.
As you sit down with your loved ones today – regardless of where you are – I wish you love, joy & peace.
Galatians 5:22 “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith” …