Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Taking a dip in the Pool of Blessing - A Thanksgiving meditation

This post was created as part of a global groundswell of gratitude calledTweetsGiving. The celebration, created by US nonprofit Epic Change, is an experiment in social innovation that seeks to change the world through the power of gratitude. I hope you’ll visit the TweetsGiving site to learn more, and to bring your grateful heart to the party by sharing your gratitude, and giving in honor of that for which you’re most thankful.

This Thanksgiving offering also appears in this week's Jewish Ledger newspaper, along with the Thanksgiving reflections of several other CT rabbis.

I’ve had the opportunity to share the following gratitude ritual at a number of retreats, conferences, and summer camp programs. It’s a way to tap into an attitude of gratitude that is part of our Jewish prayer rituals, but can sometimes get lost in all the words. So let’s focus on just one word – Barukh – Blessed. The Hebrew root of this word is also found in Berekh (knee) and Braykha (pool). Most people get the connection between the first and second of these – we bend the knee when we say the Barekhu and in the opening blessings of the Amidah. But what about the ‘pool’? We can envision a reality in which God’s Divine blessing is constantly flowing; we need only bring consciousness to aligning ourselves with this flow of blessing to experience it. As it flows from the spiritual realm to us, it is our job to send the flow back to its Source, and this is dipping into the pool of blessing, expressing our gratitude, and so the cycle continues. A colleague of mine, Rabbi Michelle Pearlman, recently likened the image, quite wonderfully, to a chocolate fountain (but one where the chocolate never runs out!)

When I illustrate this in a creative prayer service, we set up a table, decorated with watery images, into which are placed strips of blue paper, folded like ripples, each containing a gratitude teaching. Some contain traditional Jewish words, like Modah Ani lefanecha… - Thankful am I before You (the opening words of the first prayer that is traditionally uttered upon waking), but many contain teachings from other sources:

‘God gave you a gift of 86,400 seconds today. Have you used one to say "thank you?"’ (William A. Ward)

“Saying thank you is more than good manners. It is good spirituality.” (Alfred Painter)

‘Thanksgiving is good but thanks-living is better.’ (Matthew Henry;1662-1714)

If we remember that the fountain of blessing is always flowing, and we can always find it if we are open to receiving, each and every day becomes Thanksgiving.
Rabbi Rachel Gurevitz

1 comment:

  1. I like the image of the neverending chocolate fountain of blessing!

    Wishing you and yours a happy Thanksgiving.