Saturday, February 09, 2008
Thank You for Everything
Over the years I have developed a deep respect for the concept of gratitude. Oprah has talked about it, just about all spiritual writing talks about it. It lies at the core of THE SECRET... It's such an easy skill to develop and it can have a powerful impact on your life. About six years ago I read an article - http://www.inlightimes.com/archives/2002/11/alan-cohen.htm - by a man named Alan Cohen, that talked about a mantra which goes: "Thank you for everything. I have no complaints whatsoever."
I started practicing that mantra at a very difficult time in my life. I won't go into details, but pretty much everything was wrong and there didn't seem to be much hope that my life would get better. I began religiously reciting those words - "Thank you for everything. I have no complaint whatsoever." Amazingly, I started to feel better. I think somehow giving thanks for even your troubles changes your relationship to them and opens the door for the Universe to transform them into something else. That is how it has worked for me, anyway.
Gratitude in general is a wonderful practice. I start and end every day by giving thanks for all my blessings. It feels good. There's a Hawaiian saying that goes: "Energy flows where attention goes." In other words, what we focus on, we draw to ourselves. Not to mention that focusing on that which is good and beautiful enriches each moment and helps us be more consciously aware of all the beauty and blessings that surround us. The more you look for beauty and blessings the more you see.
There is so much to be thankful for - from the mundane to the sublime and back again. Just a few of my favorite in no particular order.... the warm hug of a purring kitty, food in my refrigerator, friends and family, beauty, running water, flowers, colors, indoor plumbing, heat and hot water, the sounds of music, butterflies, the ability to hear and see, laughter, books, poetry, birds, imagination, children, rocks, windows on the world, netfix.... I could go on and on, but you get the idea....
From some perspectives, I have a hard life. I have difficulty walking, I live with a fair amount of pain, my brain is convinced that I'll die if I step out my front door and I can't persuade it otherwise. I live on very limited income from disability. By American standards, I'm poor. From a gratitude perspective, though, I have a very good life. I have my own little house, kind neighbors, enough money to pay my bills (though I haven't been able to get rid of my debt yet), food to eat, a computer, a TV, books to read, two sweet, if naughty, kitties, good friends, a smart, talented nephew, two amazing nieces, and a great niece and nephew... My life is pretty darned good. And relative to most people in the world, I'm rich. Would I like to win Publisher's Clearinghouse Sweepstakes? Absolutely. I'm determined to do so. But in the meanwhile, I'm very grateful for all my blessings and the for all the beauty around me.
Thank you for everything. I have no complaints whatsoever.