Dear Still Water Friends,
I’ve always liked Thanksgiving because of its inclusiveness. We can sit together and celebrate life no matter what country our ancestors came from or what religious tradition we practice. As Roger Walsh highlights in the excerpt below, giving thanks and expressing our gratitude enriches us. The more we give, the more we receive.
Because of the Thanksgiving holiday, there will be no Still Water sitting Thursday morning, November 27th, in Takoma Park and no Thursday evening gathering at Crossings in Silver Spring. Our Friday morning meditation at Crossings will take place as usual from 7:00 to 8:15 am — all those who come are invited to join the community for breakfast afterwards at a nearby restaurant. On Friday afternoon, a small group will sit together at 3:45 in the Miller Center at the Friends House Retirement Community in Sandy Spring, but because of the holiday there will not be the usual Dharma talk and Dharma sharing.
If during this Thanksgiving week your thoughts turn to sharing your blessings with others, please consider making a donation to Shepherd’s Table, a Silver Spring nonprofit that provides help to people who are homeless or in need. Shepherd’s Table’s dedicated staff and volunteers offer meals, social services, medical support, and clothing, as well as care, respect, and compassion.
For the past seven years Still Water volunteers have been assisting Shepherd’s Table with the Clothes Closet, where once a week clients can choose the clothes and household things they need from a donated selection. Shepherd’s Table also offers shower facilities, fresh underwear and socks, clean towels, and toiletries. Additional Clothes Closet volunteers are needed. It is a just over two-hour commitment, 9:45 – 12 noon, one or more Wednesdays a month. For the past two years, Still Water volunteers have also prepared and served a brunch for guests at Shepherd’s Table on the fourth Sunday of each month. The time commitment is from 9 am to noon. For more information, please send an email to info@StillWaterMPC.org.
Another way to help is to donate clean usable clothes and household items to Shepherd’s Table, so that they can be made available to clients through the Clothes Closet. Men’s cold weather clothing is now especially needed. On any day, it’s easy to drop items off at Shepherd’s Table, four blocks from Crossings on Colonial Lane. Or, if you prefer, you can bring the items to our Still Water gathering at Crossings on Thursday evening, December 4th. (A receipt acknowledging the donation can be provided.)
To Give Is to Receive
From Essential Spirituality by Roger Walsh
While forgiveness heals the heart of old hurts, gratitude opens it to present love. Gratitude bestows many benefits. It dissolves negative feelings: anger and jealousy melt in its embrace, fear and defensiveness shrink. Gratitude deflates the barriers to love. . . .
Like other attitudes, gratitude can be cultivated. We don’t have to wait for our fairy grandmother to shower us with gifts before feeling thankful. We can develop gratitude by reflecting on the gifts that are already ours. This reflection can be done for a minute, a day, or throughout a lifetime. Most people celebrate their birthday and holidays, but those who cultivate gratitude celebrate every day. We can be grateful because we are happy, but we can also be happy because we are grateful.
We tend to forget how very different the laws that govern the mind are from the laws that operate in the physical world. In the world, if we give a physical thing to another person, whether it be a toy or a diamond, we lose it. Yet in the mind, the opposite is true. Whatever we intend for another person we experience ourselves, whatever we give we gain, whatever we offer flowers in our own mind.
If you feel hatred toward someone, that hate boomerangs back and scorches your own mind. On the other hand, if you offer love to someone, that love first fills and heals your mind. Once this is understood, the desire to hate and hurt starts to shrink, while the desire to love and help begins to flourish.