The Internal Light of Gratitude

During this time of Thanksgiving, we can inspire greater “thanks-giving” by understanding the spiritual importance of being grateful.

There are many things in our lives that give us pleasure, joy and fulfillment. Our relationships, material possessions, position in life, food, music – there are so many things from which we draw enjoyment.

But on a deeper level, what gives us the joy and fulfillment is the internal Light and energy within these things. When we feel love from our relationships, nourished from our work, enjoyment from a good meal, what we are actually enjoying is the energy and Light within those things.

Furthermore, there is an important Kabbalistic concept that states that we are only receiving a small percentage of the joy and fulfillment all these things can give us. Whether it’s the joy we feel with our spouse or friends, or the happiness and love we feel towards our kids, right now, at this moment, our experience can be many times greater than what it is (even if it’s already good). This is because our joy and fulfillment is dependent and exactly correlated to our appreciation of these blessings.

More energy, and therefore fulfillment, can be flowing to us—when we strengthen and grow our gratitude. Appreciation and giving thanks actually unlocks more Light and energy from relationships and even physical objects, so that in turn, we can receive more fulfillment from them.

Therefore, the reason we want to appreciate the people in our lives and our gifts and blessings on Thanksgiving (and hopefully every day) is not because “we should” or “it’s the right thing to do.” Rather it is because the joy we feel from these blessings and gifts is exactly correlated to the appreciation we have for them.

A few years ago I was walking with my daughter who was about three years old at the time. She was singing and skipping as I held her hand. I was distracted though, thinking about work and other “important” things. Suddenly I realized and said to myself “forget everything else, just focus on this amazing moment with your daughter.” I focused on her singing, on her skipping and on her joy. I cannot express in words the love that I felt then. Had I not focused on the amazing gift that was right in front of me I would have completely lost a wonderful opportunity for joy and real happiness. That moment in time held for me a great gift, but only by focusing on my blessing could I receive all the Light and happiness from it.

This holiday season, take time to focus on and grow your gratitude for what you already have, the relationships you’ve nurtured over the years, the qualities within that you’ve been blessed with at birth, and the material items you have worked so hard to acquire and make your own. Try to focus on the gifts you usually take for granted or a relationship that you realize you have not focused your appreciation on enough.

Giving thanks will awaken even more Light and energy within those gifts, thereby filling you with even greater fulfillment, joy and peace.

– Michael Berg
Michael Berg is Co-Director of the Kabbalah Centre.