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School Talk 32 - Thanksgiving

Inasmuch as Thanksgiving is coming up, I thought it might be appropriate that we talk about Thanksgiving, or giving of thanks which is possibly the idea of gratitude, being thankful or full of thanks or gratitude or appreciation for everything that is around us.

Now we have a national holiday set out for one day of being thankful, and I suppose everybody’s thankful for that, but more than likely that’s been like everything else. It’s been promoted until all we can think of is turkey and dressing and cranberry sauce and maybe some sweet potatoes—stuffing our tummies on pumpkin pie and etc. Now, there’s nothing wrong with any of those things—thru are wonderful and I like them all. But maybe the reason for it is not just to have just one big day that you wind up having a belly ache when you get through with it because if you eat all that in an excess amount, you probably wind up with a decided bellyache or at least a stuffed feeling. Maybe you feel more stuffed than the turkey was. So let’s think in terms of just being thankful and let’s don’t put it down to one day.

I think what is required in order to experience being thankful is to be aware of our four questions that we frequently run through with: What am I? Where am I? What’s going on here? And What can I do? I don’t think we ever outgrow these four questions, so I think it’s well to be reminded of them frequently because they’re the way to inner states of being that are here to surpass.

So if we see What am I? I am obviously a privileged invited guest by Life to this place. So that’s something to be very thankful for, and I’m here and I was invited to be here and share in this thing called Life at this beautiful planet called earth.

The next question is Where am I? I’m at the beautiful planet earth where there is beautiful things that you could do, and certainly I’ve had the occasion to drive about 4,000 miles on a round trip doing a couple of talks across the country and there wasn’t any place along the way that wasn’t utterly beautiful—some breathtakingly beautiful and delightful in every way. So it’s how thankful do we happen to recall to be that we’re on planet earth, just being around here where there’s trees and mountains and there’s hills and plains and there are birds and butterflies and little streams and there is rain here and there and flowers blooming and there’s even many different kinds of climates. One day you can experience several different climates if you happen to go uphill or downhill especially. So there’s everything to be thankful for where we are. Life is the host here, and I think that’s an extremely outstanding something to be in awful thanks—awe—of how much it provides for us. There is life and what all it produces that we are free to use every day of the week. So what’s going on here? There’s obviously a big party going on. There are jillions of people out here playing games. Now that’s something to be very thankful for that we can play whatever game we want to and we usually never have to play any game we don’t want to.

Now if I’m sound asleep, I don’t know there’s any games. I think I’m caught up in a horrible bunch of situations, and it’s terrible the kind of people that are around. I hear people say there could be no God or anything else if he allows wars, but war is a game and some people love to play it, and more power to them if they want to play it. I just don’t happen to want to play that game—but that doesn’t mean that somebody else who wants to play a given game shouldn’t be allowed to play it=--it seems to me. People play a lot of games I don’t want to play. They play football. I don’t want to play football. It looks like it’d be hard on my old bones or something. I don’t want to play soccer. It looks like it’s a big waste of time to me. I don’t care where that little black and white ball is. Let it lay over there. It suits me as well as if it was lying in another place. So it’s all right. But I sure see the reason for everybody else to have the privilege of playing those games.

We play traffic games and we have things to play them with and I’m very thankful we have all the nice little playing pieces to play the traffic game with, aren’t you? I like having a little car. They’re nice things to play the traffic game with. If you didn’t have one, you couldn’t play that game very well, is that right?

Now we play the business game and those are very interesting things to play, and we play the working game and all these other things. There’s a big game going on called government and you can play as little of that as you can get by with. They kind of like to insist that everybody plays with them a little bit, but you know you don’t have to get really carried away with it—just a minimum amount. Play with them—keep them happy. People do have their games and they like other people to appreciate them or applaud them or maybe play a little bit with them, so that’s all right.

It’s like you had a little kid around the house. The kid might want to play checkers and maybe you could care less about checkers, but you’ll sit down and play a little bit with him to please him. That’s the way with government. You sit down and play checkers with them a bit here and there and that’s adequate enough and you go on from there.

And then comes down to What can I do? Well, here is where you have, seems to me, the greatest thing to be thankful every day of the world, every day of the week, every day of the month, every hour of the day and everything else is, What can I do?

Well, if you stop to think of all the things you are privileged to do by the mere fact of being alive, you could never be thankful enough. Now being thankful, again, is another state of consciousness over fault finding, blaming, complaining, sticking up for rights, feeling sorry for yourself because you have to please everybody, struggling to improve yourself or anything else. The fact of seeing that you can do anything—you can walk and you can taste. Seeing that you can see, that you can hear—all of them are gifts that can you stop to think how rich you are? Maybe we’re sitting around moaning that we don’t have any money and that we’re broke and we’re poor and all this. But how much would you take for the ability to see for instance. Say that you could sell your eyes to the transplant banks for a million dollars each—would you peddle off Regina?


So you’re a pretty wealthy girl, huh? What would you take your ability to hear—what would you sell that for? Got any price you would set on it or would you say no sale? No sale. So you….

(There are some things you don’t want to hear.)

Well, I know, but there’s a lot of them you do want to hear, right? So again, it’s like we talked about other times that we were free to experience whatever comes along. I’m free to hear whatever comes along. Some of it is screechy and scratchy and some of it is very beautiful and melodious and some people’s voices are wonderful and some are irritating a little bit, but so what. I’m free to be a little irritated. I wouldn’t want to give up hearing because I’ve run into a few irritating voices in my life, or irritating screeching sounds, or squeaks of somebody’s fingers on the blackboard, or screeching tires going around the corner and so forth. I wouldn’t want to give those up, would you? And what would you take for tasting all these simple little things that we eat every day. What would you think if everything just tasted like nothing? It was just blah. So somebody said, “Well you eat this much of this scoop and this much of this scoop,” and you got nothing out of it. It wouldn’t be much fun would it? So think of all that we have and think of how wonderful it is to have a companion. What would you trade that off for? If you have a delightful companion, no price under the world could remotely come up and pay you not to have that, is that right?

So we have an extreme amount to be thankful for, and we take it all for granted. We just take it all for granted. Every once in a while I’ve had occasion to work for someone who has had a severe illness of some sort or other, who had a heart attack that was really severe, or they had had some other totally disabling condition and now they were able to go around and do things. They said they had never appreciated living and they were very thankful for whatever this so called catastrophe was “back a way” because now they appreciated all the things. They almost passed away without having it and now they were busy experiencing things around them and being very thankful for hearing, for tasting, for seeing flowers and for seeing birds flying or seeing a butterfly drifting along, or seeing a snowstorm. All the things that they had taken for granted—it looks like you’re about to lose the whole show—you begin to be very very thankful for what people call these simple things. I don’t see any of them as simple—to me they are miraculous. I think the fact that two little globs of meat in the front of your head can pick up something and report it to a brain which is a bunch of grey-looking “goo” inside your skull, and you can come up with a picture, and you can replay that picture years later. Why you can see places in North Carolina, you can see places in New York. You can see places in California right now—just “zap” like that. All is a little piece of mea6 up here started all that, and I think that’s pretty miraculous. This piece of meat inside the skull bone called a brain which I’ve cooked a many of them and made brain sandwiches out of them. You know in Evansville, Indiana, brain sandwiches are like hamburgers here. So I fixed them up. I’ve eaten them and they’re real good. But you look at the stuff and it’s just grey funny looking “goo.” But it does all these miraculous things that I can ask where were you twenty years ago, and you can rattle it off for me. What was you’re third grade school teacher’s name—more than likely you have it in a minute, huh? All in that little old grey stuff.

Now what have we got to be thankful for, and how can we go around with not having a constant feeling of being very very thankful. How can you not—which is the big item to me. It’s not that we can’t find something to be thankful for, we have to work for it like Pollyanna, but how can you keep from being very very thankful which is another word, I think, for being happy. I think it is. How can you keep from being thankful of what’s going on around you when you can just stop and look at a few of the things that we have taken for granted—which if you look, are utterly totally miraculous.

Now if you took a human body and took the life out of it, you cannot prop it up to stand up. It will fall over--no matter what you do to it. But look what we can do with it. You can walk/ You can think--you can taste--you can sense all types of sensations. You can sense the ones that are painful which you can be thankful for because the pain tells you you’re in danger. I’m very thankful for those because if we weren’t capable of experiencing sensations that tells us something’s very hot and going to burn your hand or it’s sharp and going to poke you or that it’s toxic when you put it in your mouth or many other kinds of danger. You would have one terrible time surviving even a day or two—did you know that?

So think of all the things that Life is and is expressing, and we’re getting to go along for the ride with the greatest of ease. Now can we be in any other state than being in a total state of gratitude, thanksgiving, delight—whatever word you want to use for thankfulness. I don’t see how we could keep from being there every minute.

Now if you’re there all the time, you live in what a person would almost have to say a paradise, is that right? Because that’s what they gave you as a description of paradise was that it was a place where you would be eternally delighted, is that right? And if you were totally thankful all the time at all the joys around you, you are in paradise.

Now I think that the creative power in the world—Life, made it quite possible for us to sit here—together—all of us in this room yet each one individually could experience either a hell or a paradise right now. So apparently Life is very efficient as there didn’t have to be two places—there’s just one and we figure it out—is that about right?

Now if I’m sitting here just full of delight and thankfulness for the joys in life and for all the opportunities and for the unusual things that Life is, I mean miraculous things, they really are, then I would be in a paradise. And then somebody else comes in and sits down and says the ceilings too low, that light flickers up there, it makes my head funny, the picture on the wall over there is very depressing with all those birds in it, that microphone is probably not making a real super clear recording. Wonder why those girls didn’t dress up when they came in. They’d be kind of cute if they were dressed different. So I could sit here and be in a literal hell—all over what? By the way I am seeing things—not because there is two different rooms here to be in or two different situations; but because of the way I am choosing to see things instead of asking the questions of “What’s going on here?” I’m essentially saying, “What’s wrong here?” Now anytime that you go around finding fault and seeing things as being wrong—any of us--we have been asking ourselves the question unknowingly, “What’s wrong here?” Now if you go to work today and you say “What’s wrong here?” There will be lots of problems, right? If you go in and say “What’s going on here?” you’ll have a ball laughing at it, you know, there’s a bunch of people with clown suits on.

Did you ever go to a circus and see the clowns? Now what are the clowns doing? They’re making important very unimportant situations. Is that the only thing a clown does? Any of us could be a highly perfectly performing clown. Most people are without knowing it, but we could be a perfect clown because we make a big production out of everything, huh?

I saw a very great clown routine of picking up a mop. Two of them went to get a mop at the same time and they made quite a production about it. They banged heads. One would pick it up and the other one would stand on the end of the mop and the handle would “wop” the other one over. The other one would grab that up and the strings went flying up in the other one’s face and they’d fell down or knock each other down. This went on for a good 30 minutes over one mop. Now all they did was make it very important. Each one made it very important that he was the one that got the mop up; and consequently, it was a fantastic routine that went on for a good 20 minutes of something and everybody in the whole big ten was hurting with laughter. If you just looked around every day, that’s what everybody’s doing. They’re merely making little insignificant little nothings very important. So if we were all dressed in clown suits, maybe we’d recognize what we’re doing, but we don’t wear suits, so we aren’t aware we’re doing it. But you know that’s really all it would take.

I’ve often thought if I ever run another restaurant, I think I would have all the employees dressed as clowns. All the waiters, all the waitresses, all the busboys, all the cooks—everybody dressed as a clown. Then maybe the people could catch on. So if a waiter came out with a steak that somebody was going to scream about claiming that it was not properly done—say, it was a hair over being medium or a hair under, then the waiter/clown could make a big production about it. I think it’d keep everybody in a good mood in the place.

So I fully think if all businesses put on clown suits as the dress code, it would probably begin to get through how we really view business. You know most of us make it totally important over some very insignificant little events, circumstances or behaviors—but if everybody wore clown suits, maybe both we and they could finally catch on.

So it’s not a matter of making an effort to be thankful. It seems to me that it takes considerable amount of effort to ignore all the wondrous things that are around us every minute. If we could see, we couldn’t keep from being in an utter state of gratitude, thanksgiving at every moment. So I think as long as this is kind of the season for Thanksgiving, it would be very interesting if we all practiced a bit the next few days of seeing if we could prevail upon ourselves not to see all the things to be thankful for. Yes I said not. If you start out to try to be thankful—why you go back to sleep again in a very few minutes. But if you will see it you can prevent yourself from seeing the utter fantastic arrangement that life has set up here on this planet—if you will try not to see it, I think you will find that you cannot ignore it. Now not “i’s” being what they are, we have to approach the situation in reverse at times to outsmart them.

We had a mule when I was a kid named “Old Beck.” Beck taught me a lot about humanity. She was very contrary as many of you are. It was my chore frequently to hitch her to a wagon. Now a wagon has two mules hitched to it—one sits on one side of the tongue and one on the other side. So if I wanted “Old Beck” up next to the tongue of the wagon, I didn’t shove her from the outside towards the tongue because if I did, I got run over. Instead, knowing that Beck was contrary, like human beings are, I would go stand on the tongue of the wagon and shove her hips like it was to push her away from the tongue and she slammed up against it—then I could hook it up and everything was fine. When we were trying to unfairness her from the wagon and take her harness off of her, why you went on the outside of her and shoved her towards the tongue of the wagon and jumped out of the way, and she jumped right out and you could unhook everything and take her harness off. I could handle it with the greatest of ease because I knew Beck. She was always going to do exactly the opposite from whatever it was you wanted her to do. If you wanted her to go forwards, you pulled back on her rein that was in her bridle, and she took running up forwards, you just had to keep up with it. If you wanted her to back up, you got in front of her and pulled on her and she’d back right up. So it was no trouble to control the mule because I understood the mule.

Now the human being with a bunch of not ‘i’s’ is very much like a mule. They’re always going to try to do differently. So there are people who make themselves totally miserable over trying to adjust their elimination. There are people who make themselves totally miserable over trying to take in the right amount of food—never eat this and never eat that; and one should eat this, but they always forget it. You ever do that?


Ok, So if one would want to forget something, you’d try to remember it, and it’s a very good “forgetting device”. If you would want to keep something in memory, try to forget it. And if you’re wanting to forget something, try to remember it.

By the same token if you were driving and you want to stay awake, try to go to sleep while you’re driving—you can’t do it. But if you’re trying very hard to stay awake, you go out over and over and over. Did you ever do that? If you’re going to go to bed at night and be sure to get to sleep quick, you can spend a very sleepless night, is that right? But if you go to bed and say I’m going to listen to all the sounds and try to stay awake all night, you go to sleep fantastically well. You sleep real good.

So in order to avoid this business of forgetting to be thankful, let’s try to forget to be thankful while we live in this world that we’re in--while we’re privileged invited guests at this beautiful estate called earth where there’s a big party going on and very much of interesting things going on around us; and that we can contribute to a pleasant mood. Let’s do our best to forget that, ok?


Do your best to forget it. Try never to think of it again. Now we’re assuming that we’re all very much like that old mule, Beck. That whenever you try to stay awake, you go to sleep. When you try to go to sleep, you stay awake. When you’re very concerned about a bodily function, it usually goes the wrong way. So we’re going to do our best to forget “What we are”. We’re going to try to forget “Where we are”. We’re going to try to forget “What’s going on here”, and we’re going to try to forget “What we can do”. So let’s work at that this week and see what things we can accomplish with it. I think maybe we will find something about the whole idea of thanksgiving.

Ok, let’s have conversation now for a little bit.

(Bob, that’s easy.)

Is it? You wanna bet? If you’re trying to remember, it’s easy.

(I try. I’m going to forget, that’s easy.)

No, trying to stay awake, trying to remember is what’s so easy—ok?

All right Barbara, what have you got here? That sound all right to you. You can hack that this week?

(Yes, I can hack that.)

You can handle that. You can go to work today and handle that with the greatest of ease?


Are you going to take the clown suits with you, or can you just visualize it?

(No, I think I’d like to take them with me.)

Ok, take your clown suits with you.

Regina, what have you got today? Think you can forget to be thankful with the greatest of ease?


Don’t think you can handle that one. Freddie, what about you?

(That would be a hard one to forget.)

Try to forget while trying to remember and that you’ll forget—we know that one, ok?

Any other comment to add too this? Yes.

(How can you set a time to experience thankfulness? Some little ones I know have never been……)

Thankful for nothing in their life.

(Never, and I don’t know how to show them how to.)

Well, I would imagine that they had everything that they even ever thought about having, much less asked for, so they have had very little reason to be thankful to see. I would possibly talk to them about things we have talked about here. What would you take to give up your eyesight? What would you take to give up hearing? What would you take to give up touching? What would you take to give up any natural thing that you have? What would you take for your hair even? Kind of see if they can get into the possibility of recognizing—especially if you have a chance to show them somebody who doesn’t have sight or are disabled in some way. That possibly they could observe somebody that can’t see. They would begin to be a little bit thankful for what they have. But most of the ones I think you’re talking about have had everything under the sun given to them with a momentary wish on their part, is that about right? And that’s very hard for any of those little ones to be thankful. They only feel entitled; and someday if they want something and don’t get it, they feel very justified in becoming very destructive and all that kind of stuff. Does that help answer that one?

(Yes, thank you.)

Any other comment, discussion here? Anybody got a word to add on here?

(So we’re going to practice forgetting.)

Trying to forget what we are, where we are, what’s going on there and what we can do. Try to forget it. We have many times tried to remember it and succeeded in beautifully in forgetting it, is that right? So for a few days during the thanksgiving season, we’re going to reverse it—we’re going to try to forget. We’re going to try to forget what we are. We’re going to try to forget where we are. We want to try to forget what’s going on here. We’re trying to forget what I can do. Having tried it many times to remember those and succeeding beautifully in forgetting; maybe if we do it backwards, we will not be able to forget quite as easy.

Ok have a pleasant week everybody.

*Audience participation in parenthesis