It’s hard for me to fathom that we are already in November! Here in the United States, it’s easy to think about the national holiday of Thanksgiving. I was curious to find out what other countries celebrate the harvest or Thanksgiving. I knew Canada did, but I was surprised to learn that Germany, Austria, Switzerland, the Netherlands, Grenada, Japan, Liberia, Saint Lucia, the United Kingdom and Brazil also had celebrations —but not necessarily on the same day.
Historically, it began as a day to give thanks for the blessings of the harvest and of the preceding year. Americans generally believe that their Thanksgiving is modeled on a 1621 harvest feast that was shared by the English colonists (Pilgrims) of Plymouth and the Wampanoag people (ref. Meaning, History, & Facts: Britannica). It’s easy to get distracted by the focus on food around this holiday. Just thinking about Thanksgiving, I found myself cooking Yukon mashed potatoes and gluten -free gravy as part of my lunch! It ended up being way too much food!
However, the true essence of the holiday is really about expressing gratitude; reflecting on one’s blessings. It is a time when many families and friends gather to share with each other. The busiest air travel day of the year in the US is the Wednesday before Thanksgiving Day!
Stopping the pace of our lives to take time to reflect on our blessings, is a wonderful pause well worth embracing. A common suggestion in “positive psychology” is to write a gratitude list daily or at least read it once a day. With all that we have been going through, both in our Dharma and in the world, it is easy to bypass this practice. Yet one of the most powerful mantras I know is a simple Thank You.
I began to reflect on how our ashram communities used to take time to work together, share food, and do seva for a common good. Some continue to do so; others are a long way from this practice in an inclusive manner. It is my hope and prayer that we can focus on what unites us and attempt to mend relationships that have been damaged. This is a time that calls for healing, reflection, contemplation, compassion, kindness, consciousness, and patience. I believe in “us.” We are the pioneers. May we live in Guru’s Grace.
SS Dr. Sat-Kaur Khalsa
Secretary of Religion
THE SECRETARY OF RELIGION
SS Dr. Sat Kaur Khalsa has served as Secretary of Religion since 1991 and was ordained as a Sikh Dharma Minister in 1975. As Secretary of Religion, Dr. Sat Kaur oversees and is ultimately responsible for the delivery of the functions of this Office. Dr. Sat Kaur is a long-time member of the International Khalsa Council and the Khalsa Council Executive Committee. She maintains a full-time Telehealth Psychotherapy and counseling private practice, specializing in relationships. She predominately works with adults (individuals and couples) to support their personal and spiritual growth. She is a certified Kundalini Yoga teacher, a facilitator of White Tantric Yoga®, and a published author.