Thursday 27 November 2008


There cannot be much wrong, I reckon, with a country whose defining national celebration is not some grand affirmation of its own glory but a festival of Thanksgiving (which falls, of course, today). We humans are seldom better employed than in the exercise of thankfulness and its close attendant, mindfulness - which I see as something akin to paying attention. Thankfulness requires no external agent to be thankful to - it is simply a moving outside of oneself, a shift of perspective away from very present woes and towards the good that is to be found if looked for, while mindfulness similarly takes us outside ourselves and makes us aware of others - as, in secular terms, individuals wth their own rights and projects, or, in religious terms, as fellow creatures with God in them. In these days of arid self-absorption, of unmindful self-gratification and its discontents, we need more than ever to give thanks.
'In the desert of the heart
Let the healing fountain start.
In the prison of his days
Teach the free man how to praise.'


  1. What about practicing a bit of what you preach and showing that de Botton (whom you unfairly attack) a little bit of your compassion and Buddhist mindfulness!

  2. You're right of course, Anonymous - but for me cheap jokes always take precedence.

  3. Hey, thank you Nige. You gave a nice benediction to our annual celebration here. Everyone is feeling thankful except the turkey population.

    I'm debating whether to take my last bottle of a Volnay 1er Cru to the feast we're attending at a friend's house. I keep thinking, Nah, only one bottle for ten people -- no one would get more than a sip. Forget it. I'll save it for the hub & moi and take several bottles of something cheaper. I'm trying to feel guilty but don't.

  4. You've made the right choice there Susan!