Sky lanterns in Chiang Mai. Photo courtesy of    John Shedrick   .

Sky lanterns in Chiang Mai. Photo courtesy of John Shedrick.

Daylight Savings is done, the sky grows dark, and yet it is also a season of celebrating light and giving thanks. In India and Nepal, November 7 marks the beginning of Hindu celebration of Diwali, the joyful festival of lights, symbolizing the victory of light over darkness. In Thailand, Yi Ping, a celebration of the full moon, will take place November 22, with the launch of thousands sky lanterns into the night sky.

It can be easy to focus on the darkness. Our brains evolved recognize threats, but it can take extra effort to cultivate gratitude, light and joy. The following gratitude reflection comes from Still Mind: An Introduction to Meditation by Alan Watts (2014) and provides a way of turning our minds toward what is going well in our lives and honoring the light that is within us and around us.

Gratitude Reflection

  1. Settle yourself in a relaxed posture. Take a few deep, calming breaths to relax and center. Let your awareness move to your immediate environment: all the things you can smell, taste, touch, see, hear. Say to yourself: “For this, I am grateful.”
  2. Next, bring to mind those people in your life to whom you are close: your friends, family, partner…. Say to yourself, “For this, I am grateful.”
  3. Next, turn your attention onto yourself: you are a unique individual, blessed with imagination, the ability to communicate, to learn from the past and plan for the future, to overcome any pain you may be experiencing. Say to yourself: “For this, I am grateful.”
  4. Finally, rest in the realization that life is a precious gift. That you have been born into a period of immense prosperity, that you have the gift of health, culture, and access to spiritual teachings. Say to yourself: “For this, I am grateful.”

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