“If the only prayer you said in your whole life was, “Thank you,” that would suffice.” Meister Eckhart
Pause and take time to reflect on all we have to be grateful for.
Write a Gratitude list.
With every layer of what we are content to notice with appreciation, we strengthen our core. We become happier people, fulfilled, rewarded, and in awe, resplendent with joy. This radiates outward.
“Happy people are grateful people and those who aren’t, aren’t.” – Dr. Paul. Have you ever observed that?
A person who finds themselves in a never-ending series of drama, spiraling into victim hood again and again or replete with self-pity, could use a dollop of gratitude. It’s a great time for a Gratitude list.
An attitude of gratitude right-sizes and balances us. When we appreciate whatever it is, our perception is engulfed in love.
I could write just about gratitude, on and on. I have learned to become, with time, even thankful for any ‘negative’ in my life. Yes. It is a state of grace.
Nietzsche proclaimed, “He who has a why to live for can bear almost any how.” In the concentration camps, the inmates with hope, tended to live longer, or come out alive. They were grateful each and every day, for one more day. Viktor Frankl, a psychotherapist camp survivor wrote, “It did not really matter what we expected from life, but rather what life expected from us.” I take this to mean that it is our responsibility to extract meaning out of everything, to think symbolically, connect the dots. It is our responsibility to give our lives meaning, enhancing and furthering evolution, honoring and respecting our human existence. It is our responsibility to choose the direction of our destiny, our happiness and our health, no matter what the obstacles. It is our responsibility to hold hope, to set goals, to carry on. It is our responsibility to aid, teach and listen to other humans, expanding our mutual awareness. It is our responsibility to give life meaning, not the other way around.
We are inclined to view regrettable circumstances with disappointment, infusing ourselves with bitterness, anger or self-afflicted abuse. What if we used a heightened thought process?
When we detach ourselves from the outcome, we release expectations. When we allow whatever is, to be, we acquire acceptance. We do not stand idly, it is mandatory instead that we act according to our principles.
When we step outside the emotional bind, we see the situation or person with a new pair of glasses. These lenses concentrate on what is really going on, beyond the superficial exterior. These optical tools zoom into the center issue. They clarify the intent behind the thought, word or deed. The sharper focus narrows it down to ‘the story’ beneath the motive, revealing the true force driving the thought, word or action/behavior.
From this higher level of understanding or perspective, we have the opportunity to exasperate the situation, engage in it with possible detrimental consequences or dissolve or dilute it. We may even be able to break a cycle of pain or fear.
Simple example: Someone close says something nasty to you. Pause. It may have nothing to do with you. Ask yourself, what’s really going on? Is this person right and their delivery is poor or are they in fear about something else? Are they in any pain, physical or mental? Where did that come from? Is it true and do I need to look at that about me or are they just lashing out?
When we de-personalize, we relieve the ego of its need to bear arms and defend itself at all costs. When we come from a place of our true selves, we step into a knowing; replying and responding with great care.
We address the comment by either agreeing (because after some thought we have come to the conclusion it is true), thanking the person for their concern and honesty or by looking beyond the sharpness of tone, asking perhaps a question that reflects and mirrors back empathy to them. Many people bite because they just got bitten, burned or bruised. We sometimes just get in their way. We, ourselves, have done the same.
Most everything can be diffused, resolved or handled by going deeper than the surface. What is the Cause of the Effect? What’s the impulse beneath the retort? What is the intention and where did it derive from? Why?
Our primitive mind needs to attack. Our evolved, loving mindset, connected to the heart, remembers peace, serenity, joy and interdependent cooperation. And how does one achieve peace? We find that choosing to be happy rather than right, brings us serenity. And, what do happy people practice? Gratitude. Happy people practice giving thanks. Smiling faces, as a rule, imbue their lives with a habit of appreciating everything, everyone and every instance.
Here is a challenge: Practice gratitude all day long, every minute, every hour, every week – not only on Thanksgiving Day…and notice how the world changes.
“Our answer must consist, not in talk and meditation, but in right action and right conduct.” – Viktor Frankl wrote.
May we BE in a state of always giving praise, saying grace, being IN gratitude.
If we always feel blessed, then we are.
Today, let us bless something we have been in pain about, maybe some injustice we feel was done to us. No matter what our trouble, eventually we must come from a place of gratitude in order to glean meaning and make sense of it. No matter the heartache, at some point in time, we appreciate the usefulness of its teaching.
Forgive me for harping on gratitude. It has been a lifesaver and an eye opener for me. With it, I have gained clear vision of the Big Picture. With every detour and twist on my life’s journey, Thanksgiving has become how I perform the why.