I suggest working on Naikan three times this week—maybe make it a point to make Thanksgiving Day a day of actually giving thanks with the third exercise.
- Daily Naikan—even deeper into the details.
- Naikan reflection on family member or friend: Reflect quietly on your relationship with your partner or other family member for the past 30 days. Be as specific and detailed as possible. Spend a half hour or more on this, and try to spend at least half the time reflecting on the third question: What troubles and difficulties did you cause? Remember that Naikan is a way to reflect on the way you are seen by others, so try to see yourself from the other person’s shoes. What is it like for them to have to live with you?
- Thank Someone: Pick someone who has played an important role in your life—maybe a parent, a mentor, caregiver or close relative. Spend some time reflecting on that person using the three questions, and then write them a letter telling them—in detail—what they have done to support you and thanking them. Afterward, visit them and read them the letter, if possible. Leave them the copy of the letter. If it’s not possible to do this in person, phone them and then email them the letter.
Moment by Moment
Garbage Naikan: Be mindful of anything you throw away during the day. Before discarding an item, thank it for whatever role it has played in your life. Rev. Koyo Kubose mentions doing a memorial service for his running shoes in thanks for all the service they performed for him. Reflect on the ways you were supported by this object. Also consider any impact you have on the world by discarding it.
Thanksgiving Reflection: Count your blessings. List things that happened since last Thanksgiving that blessed your life. Then see if there’s anyone you need to thank. Also, were there any “blessings in disguise.” Often, what seems to be misfortune can lead to something better. Are there difficult situations that turned out to be or may turn out to be blessings in disguise.