To know you are blessed is a blessing

Below is Noah’s latest blog from THE JUSTICE PROJECT, enjoy:

We are in the Passover/Easter time of year. And there’s a lot of talk about God, and a lot of spiritual gratitude in the air. Some of it hot air, some of it self-inflationary, and even then, some of it, yes, uplifting. Maybe there’s not as much sincere prayer tweeting as there should be but measuring usually doesn’t have much to do with the quality of a transforming experience. And it got me thinking.

While approximately 67% of Americans think that God influences who wins the Super Bowl, I’m inclined to think that God has better things to think about. Certainly I hope so. Anthropomorphizing God is one thing, but imagining angels in team colors jumping up and down waving pom poms is quite another. Imagine that.

However any of us made peace with our bookie or bookie/confessor over the Super Bowl, counting our blessings rather than asking for them is the right math on any religious abacus. And the odds are always with the House above.

I think it was the late philosopher Alan Watts who said, “Anything religious is not organized and anything organized is not religious.” That’s the kind of remark guaranteed to upset someone, maybe a lot of someones, if only because it is sometimes true. It is also true that true believers can be a dangerous lot even as a world without truth or believers is scary as hell.

When my mother felt things were going her way in life, she would announce her gratitude and then spit – a feminine spit – on the ground three times so she was not vulnerable to the evil eye that fell on those who went public with their good fortune. Other folks in other folk cultures feeling similarly blessed felt it was simpler just to hang a hunk of garlic around their neck. Or maybe that was just to keep the werewolves from the door. Recently I strung a thick braid of garlic around my big screen TV but still found highly rated shows about werewolves and vampires beaming into my bedroom. It saddens me to admit that while prayer has its efficacy it seldom changes my life experience channel with the alacrity I have in mind. Perhaps I have get God’s mind off sports.

While a certain amount of darkness is necessary in life in order to see the stars, a commitment to staying in the dark will not afford us the view of a constellation to guide our lives. What can compass us and change the quality of our life experience is acknowledging the blessings in our life and witnessing the blessing as its own blessing. Knowing you are blessed doubles up the blessing. Knowing we have much to be grateful for adds another level to the gratitude and lifts us higher. This is not counter to the laws of physics just good metaphysics. Or as my friend Ram Dass reminds, “You don’t have to get high; you just have to stop doing the things that bring you down.”

I’m not sure we need to hashtag it, or put it up on a Facebook, or ink it on us, but pausing and reminding our forgetful, wanting more, needing more, surely deserving more selves that knowing we are blessed is its own blessing, will be just that.

And just to keep this honest, yes, there are an awful lot of people who rightfully feel that their lives are not blessed, and I pray that God is not focused on the Super Bowl, is focused on those folks who do not live on a level playing field, and certainly deserve more. This Passover/Easter let us pray not for more but for more for those who have less. And we will be more for it.

Peace and blessings,

Noah benShea
Executive Director, THE JUSTICE PROJECT