Thinking and Thankful
The foundational texts of the ancient Hellenes came to pass via an itinerant blind man, who travelled from place to place at the rebirth of literacy, reciting the ancient lore: The Illiad and The Odyssey. While much of the human condition is evoked and communicated by Homer’s poetic brilliance therein, it could be argued that both texts turn upon the strategic cleverness of Odysseus. For after the armies endured nine years of stalemate, it was Odysseus who proposed the ruse of the Trojans’ own symbolic animal, the horse. For the mind that is embedded in mythic understanding can be manipulated by the clever, thinking mind. Ah! There’s the rub! For while strategic cleverness wins the battle of power, its hubris makes an odyssey out of going thankfully home.
Long ago, “think” and “thank” were confluent — both in the Proto-Indo-Euro vocabulary (hereafter PIE) as tong, “to feel and think”, and in Old English as thanc, “a grateful heart”. Thinking and thanking have been one word, not two.
What you think about is what you give your heart to — in some way or another, eh? And when you memorize poems or lyrics or scripture, it is said you know them “by heart,” yes?
However, as we identify with the verbal portion of the brain, the mind seems to spin off, seems to separate from the feeling core, and becomes capable of a strategic logic that is outside the heart. This is what the ancient Hellenes called hubris (the arrogance inherent in point of view) and hermartia, literally “to miss the mark”, medievally translated as “synne”, or sin.
The torturous mind, the hell of mentality, and the identification with the thinking stream as if inside the head behind the eyes is only liberated when the schism of thinking and thanking are rectified. If thinking is to be more than abstraction and its accompanying alienation, the mind must fall [back] into the heart. Thinking must become strong in thanking if it is not going to run on automatic all the time. It’s not a great idea that quiets the mind, but stability in gratitude and appreciation, in receiving love and resting in the heart.
Think of all the wisdom about counting your blessings, being grateful, being thankful. For when the mind yields to heart-appreciation and heart-adoration, we find dear wise friends and live with an economy of thoughts in the abundance of thanksgiving.