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Giving Thanks for Our Greatest Gift

The extraordinary gift, which we too often take for granted, is our magnificent mind.

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At this special time of year, we all pause from our busy lives to give thanks for all we have been blessed with and worked for in our lives. The idea of Thanksgiving is a beautiful one. Just, think, an entire nation comes to a halt to say thank you. But thank you to whom or to what? That’s all part of the beauty – each of us answers that question in our own very personal way.

There are certainly general themes which most of us touch upon, like family, friends, and good health. Certainly, these are extremely important and lay at the bedrock of what makes the human experience so wonderful. We can be thankful for the food we enjoy on the day of this national feast, or for the various degrees and expressions of abundance we enjoy in our lives. This too is important, and well worth acknowledging on this joyous holiday. We may celebrate the births of newborns coming into our lives, or the fond memories of loved ones who may be absent from the dinner table for the first time or even after many years departed. Thanksgiving is a deeply personal experience, yet is something that essentially all Americans share and have in common. It is a holiday we partake in together – all of us in this great nation. It transcends all lines and does not discriminate based on gender, race, religion, sexual identity, sexual preference, economic status, educational level, ethnicity, etc. It is for all of us to take part in and experience as a single undivided community. And that’s a beautiful thing.

The one thing I am so grateful for at this time of year, is one very special gift that each of us has been given. That extraordinary gift which we too often take for granted is our magnificent mind.  Our mind is a treasure. It is unlike anything we know on our exceptional planet or anywhere else in the universe for that matter. We have also been given an incredible biological supercomputer called the brain. The mind and the brain are two separate entities and should never be confused as being the same.

Your brain is a magnificent 3-pound organ which resides in a protective bony case called the skull. It is comprised of 100 billion cells called neurons. That is the same number of stars as there are in the Milky Way galaxy. These cells have 1,000 trillion interconnections called synapses. That’s as many stars as there would be in 10,000 Milky Way galaxies. As I said, this represents a biological megacomputer and you are personally in possession of one. Think about that for a moment. You have complete ownership of this extraordinarily powerful entity. It resides in you. Wow. I think that is truly awesome, in the most fundamental sense of that highly overused word – AWESOME. It has awesome power and awesome potential. I wonder if we are taking full advantage of this incredible information processing tool. I highly doubt it.

Professor Paul Reber, Director of Brain, Behavior & Cognition at Northwestern University has estimated the memory storage of the typical human brain to be 2.5 petabytes. That is equivalent to 1 million gigabytes or 1,000 terabytes. To put that amount of storage in perspective, it is approximately 31 billion times the amount of memory utilized by the computer used in the Apollo 11 mission that sent the first Americans to the moon. Put another way, you have enough space on your internal hard drive to store 300 years of continuous television in your brain. That includes not only the video but the audio data as well. That’s astonishing. You are a genius. You may or may not be living up to that impressive title, but make no mistake about it – you certainly have the hardware to behave as one if you so choose.

Your mind, on the other hand, is not your brain. Your mind is not an organ at all. Your mind is not confined to the skull. Your mind is in every molecule of your being. You mind is more like an activity than a physical entity. The mind also has awesome potential. Its capabilities are nearly limitless. Your mind is what allows you take full advantage of your potential genius, if you know how. The mind possesses higher faculties which make us different from all the other animals on Earth. We are endowed with perception, the will, memory, imagination, intuition, and reason. These powerful mental assets are what we use to build lives of great achievement, fulfillment, and abundance. We can do this only when we take control of them and utilize them optimally. Using this powerful tool chest one can begin with a simple idea and through a process known as transmutation turn that idea, born in the imagination, into its physical manifestation in the material realm. This extraordinary power is unique to human beings. You can begin with the idea of a new home and build it, a higher academic degree and achieve it, a greater income and earn it, a slimmer waistline and shape it. If you can see it in your magnificent mind, you can hold it in your hand. This is the greatest gift with which we have been bestowed, and there’s not one of us who has been left out. It’s a beautiful thing. So today, I am thankful for this precious resource and I ask that you be too. I strongly suggest you begin to study the mind more deeply to really appreciate what it is that you have and who it is that you are. You may be surprised to find that you are much more capable than you ever knew. It’s a marvelous revelation. Be grateful for everything this year as you celebrate with your loved ones, but please take a moment to add your magnificent mind to the list of the things for which you are thankful. Too often it doesn’t get the respect and recognition it deserves.

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    People look for retreats for themselves, in the country, by the coast, or in the hills . . . There is nowhere that a person can find a more peaceful and trouble-free retreat than in his own mind. . . . So constantly give yourself this retreat, and renew yourself.

    - MARCUS AURELIUS

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