This is a difficult time in this country for many people. This time of fear, sorrow, and uncertainty is exactly the time when we need to cling to our spirituality, and draw close with this we most care about. This Thanksgiving, lets turn to Rabbi Nachman of Breslov to help us learn how to give unconditional loving thanks. Rabbi Nachman (1772–1811) taught that music is a way of directly hacking the soul to make a connection with the Divinity, and to unlock the joy latent within all of us.
Kind and Generous by Natalie Marchant brings up special memories for me. I took my wife Rachel to a 10,000 Maniacs concert for her 25th birthday. We had been dating just a few months and we had an amazing time. The concert was pivotal for us, and remains a huge milestone in a love that continues to grow more than 20 years later.
I can in no way adequately express the gratitude I feel towards her every day. So I’ll let Natalie speak for me. I read the lyrics to the song (here) and if I pasted every section that spoke to me, I’d be accused of plagiarism. So here is the passage that speaks to me the most.
You’ve been so kind and generous
I don’t know how you keep on giving
For your kindness I’m in debt to you
And I never could have come this far without you
So for everything you’ve done
Who is close to you in your life that you want to thank for being there? Friend, lover, parent, mentor?
Maybe it is a stranger who showed you kindness just when you needed it the most.
A Mussar Gratitude Practice to Give Unconditional Loving Thanks
Visualization is a powerful technique to get in touch with the soul, and this song is just perfect for a Mussar visualization. Please join me in this visualization exercise, to open the heart to unhindered loving action.
To prepare, get your Mussar journal or a piece of paper, something to write with, and make yourself comfortable.
Start the recording, and close your eyes.
Just listen to the music, and allow the words to wash over you. No analysis. Just listen, and allow images to form in your mind.
Who do you see?
What do you feel?
When the song ends, leave your eyes closed for a few minutes. Take a few relaxing breaths, and then write down what you experienced. Who did you see? What came to you?
And finally, how can you give unconditional loving thanks you felt towards the one you care about?
Write down your intention, including a specific time and place when you will act. For example, you might write “At dinner tonight, I will thank my husband in front of the kids.” Or it might be “On Thanksgiving, I will call my sister at 11 AM and thank her for being there. Or maybe you will write a thank you note to your best friend who you haven’t talked to in 2 years.
Please share your intention below.
Ready to start your own Mussar Journey? Take the Soul Trait Profile Quiz now.
You might also like: 15 Minutes of Gratitude Could Change Your Life