THANKSGIVING – The first time I visited the holy city of Haridwar in India, a massive crowd was gathering on the banks of the Ganga River at sundown. Tens of thousand of people gathered with their palm-size baskets made of leaves filled with marigolds, each with a small candle in the middle. Loudspeakers blasted devotional chants; bells and horns sounded in the background. At sunset people stepped their feet into the river and with devotional gestures, placed their candlelit pieces onto the water.
The atmosphere was filled with reverence. The energy was contagious. I was astounded that our itinerary had not mentioned that this was a holy day and we had arrived on such a day and were able to partake in these rituals. I turned to my Indian friend, Anil, and shared my excitement and surprise over the coincidence of my arrival that day. He turned to me, smiled, and said, “Mehrad, arti is a daily ritual. Acknowledgement of the blessing and gratitude is a daily practice for us.”
The idea of spending an hour each day on a ritual of gratitude and thankfulness made me think of the shift in consciousness of the practitioners—how much it must affect their attitude toward their daily life and their relationship toward society and their environment.
New scientific research reveals that daily practice of gratitude increases our happiness and reduces our levels of negativity and anxiety.
In the words of Rumi, “Gratitude is the wine for the soul. Go on. Get drunk!”