At the end of a long work shift, I walked home in the oddly warm December rain. I looked up through branches lit by streetlights and very sincerely said “Praise God.”
Is it paradoxical to identify with the godhead, as so many mystics do, while giving thanks to God? Does not the gesture of giving thanks re-establish the division between the self and the divine that so weakens the spirit?
No. But it does suggest that divine agency lies beyond the boundaries of ego. And in search of that divine agency, the act of giving thanks trains awareness upward through ever-larger constellations of mind—family, community, species, biome—to the oneness that is called God. The spirit catches homeward winds and feels gratitude.
“The true devotee always says, O Lord, Thou art the doer (Karta). Thou doest everything. I am a mere instrument in Thy hands. I do whatever Thou makest me do. All this is Thy glory. This home and this family are Thine, not mine; I have only the right to serve as Thou ordainest.”
-The Sayings of Sri Ramakrishna, p.47