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30 November, 2011

Gratitude... mother of virtues

       Gratitude and disturbance cannot coexist.  If you were ever disturbed, it only means, in those moments you were not grateful.  Like how light dispels darkness, gratitude dispels disturbance.  So, the way to eternal bliss is gratitude.

       All other attitudes find value only in the background of an attitude of gratitude.  The heart should always beat in gratitude.  The basic fabric of thought should be, 'Greateful for...'  For what you are grateful is immaterial.  Gratitude is everything, and everything comes in search of gratitude.

       Expressing gratitude for any situation causes a magnetic field that magnetises towards you more and more of what you are expressing gratitude for.  Gratitude creates the vibrations that ensures like begets like.  By bringing about this one shift into your life, that you stop asking, "Why me god?" for all your troubles and instead you start asking, "Why me god?" for all your blessings, you will change the very blueprint of your life, and hence will change the very flow of your life.

       Gratitude is the way to create abundance.  Our thoughts create our reality.  We get what we focus upon.  In any situation, we see what we expect to see.  So, focus on abundance.  Nothing will be ours unless we are convinced that it belongs to us.  We deserve abundance.  Because like begets like, it is necessary to be abundant-minded to draw abundance.  Scarcity-minded people are always aware of what they lack.  So they draw more scarcity into their life.  We can be abundant-minded by being grateful for what we have.  No matter how little we have we are rich if we are grateful.  No matter how much we have, we are poor if we are ungrateful.  A heart laden with gratitude need not go in search of abundance.  Instead, abundance will flow into our life.  To become rich, we need to feel rich.  And to feel rich, we need to be grateful for what we have already have.

       Aspire for the sneakers, but be grateful for the legs.  Aspire for the diamond ring, but be grateful for the fingers.  Aspire for the water bed, but be grateful for your sleep.  Aspire for the palatial bungalow, but be grateful to be part of a home that is not built by bricks, but by love.  Aspire for enlightenment, but be grateful that you are a seeker.

       One may ask, "How can I be grateful when so much in my life is going wrong?"  All the more you should be grateful, for it is only gratitude that's going to set your life right.  Be grateful for the difficult times, for they helped you to mature.  Be grateful for your limitations, for they helped you to develop.  Be grateful for the obstacles encountered, for they developed your character strength.  Be grateful for your mistakes, for they taught you lessons.  Be grateful to those who betrayed you, for they helped you to become independent.  It is not enough that you are grateful for all the good things in your life.  Be grateful even for the negative, for gratitude has the power to turn any negative into positive.  Find something you can be grateful for in any trouble, and you will find a concealed blessing in every trouble.  There is no attitude like gratitude.

          That's why Buddha said,
"Let us rise up and be thankful, for if we didn't learn a lot today, at least we learned a little, and if we didn't learn a little, at least we didn't get sick, and if we got sick, at least we didn't die; so, let us all be thankful."

       Is a failure haunting you?  Start a thought pattern, "I am grateful to this failure of mind because..."  You will take a lesson out of it.  Is a relationship lost taunting you?  First of all remember, the purpose of some relationships is to come with you till the end.  However, some relationship come, they serve a purpose, and then leave.  Even with those lost relationships, start a thought pattern, "I am grateful to this person because..."  You will realise that the relationship did serve a purpose in your life.  No matter how bad or how good a situation may be, once it becomes your character to think like this, "I am grateful because..." you will salvage something positive out of all situations.  Gratitude is the way.

       A Master and a disciple were returning back to their village after six months of practicing penance in the forest.  As they were approaching their hut, the disciple was disturbed noticing that half the roof had been blown away in the winds.  He thought, "What is the use of doing all this penance?  There is no spiritual justice.  After six months we return to the village to take rest and here we find half the roof missing.  Now we don't even have proper shelter."  As he was going through his mental cribbing, he noticed his Master's response to the same situation was very different.  His Master went down on his knees, with hands raised in gratitude, and was praying aloud, "Lord, your ways are your ways, my lord!  After being in the midst of nature for six months we are returning.  You want our transition to be smooth.  So you have already opened half the roof for us.  Thank you so much.  Your ways are your ways, my Lord."  The disciple didn't know how to react to the Master's response.

       They settled in the hut and by the end of the day they spread their mat to sleep.  Like it happens to any complaining mind the disciple was feeling too restless.  He kept twisting and turning.  Like it happens to any grateful mind the Maser effortlessly slipped into sleep.  His face blossomed with peace even in sleep.  The winds had built clouds and the clouds had turned into a downpour.  Completely drenched, the furious disciple stormed out of the hut screaming, "Inside or outside, how does it make a difference?"  Wet, cold and shivering, the disciple observed the Master was also coming out of the hut.  The Master raised his hands above his shoulders gesturing gratitude, and started dancing in the rains.  He prayed aloud again, "Lord, your ways are your ways, my lord!  For six months during our penance we haven't taken bath.  And here you are, cleansing us with your divine showers.  Thank you so much.  Your ways are your ways, my Lord."  The disciple now knew how to react to the Master's response.

       The disciple approached the Master and said, "There is a limit to everything and this is the limit.  You are going on thanking god for everything that's going wrong, as if it were the right thing to happen.  Why are you doing this?"

       The Master paused his dance and told the disciple, "Do you know something?  I don't even know if god exists!  I don't even know to whom I am praying!  All I know is:  My approach is keeping me happy and hence it is the right approach.  Your approach is making you miserable and hence it is the wrong approach.  The proof of right approach is in the happiness it delivers.  Gratitude, for the known and the unknown factors of life, sustains happiness.  Complaining, to someone or in your own thoughts, create misery."

       The Master resumed dancing.  The disciple, having understood 'Gratitude is the way to bliss', joined the Master in his dance.  Now, the disciple prayed aloud, "Lord your ways are your ways, my lord.  It is by giving me such a Master you help me to understand life better.  Thank you so much.  Your ways are your ways, my Lord."

       Etch into your DNA, "The proof of right approach is in the happiness it delivers.  And it is gratitude, for the known and the unknown factors of life, that sustains happiness."

       Even from a spiritual perspective, it is from the womb of gratitude, love is born.  Love grows into devotion.  Devotion enables surrenders to happen.  And in surrender, faith unfolds.  In faith, you dissolve into him and evolve out of him.  Gratitude is the master key to your spiritual evolution.

       Leave alone what you will get because of gratitude.  For what you have already got, you need to be grateful in every breath of your life for the rest of your life.  It seems, when the shopkeeper asked a small boy to take as much chocolates as he wants with both his hands, the boy refused saying, "Uncle, if I take with my own hands, only a little will come.  You give with your own hands and I will have much more the way."  If we honestly look into our lives, the best of everything that we have has been given to us even without us having to ask for it.  This very life, as a human being, is a blessed bestowed upon us, without us asking for it.  It seems there is a force that understands what is good for us, much more than we understand it ourselves.  And it is through gratitude that you evoke that force to work for you and with you.

Source: Excerpts from the magazine FT.

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