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"Living an integral life means “getting it together” and being “together” rather than being and feeling fragmented. It means thinking, feeling and acting always out of the certainty of your wholeness and never acting out of a sense of disconnection or lack."
The Meaning of Gratitude:
A Buddhist Meditation on Saint Francis
Lord, make me an instrument of your peace;
where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is injury, pardon:
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope
where there is darkness, light
and where there is sadness, joy
O Divine Master,
grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled, as to console;
to be understood, as to understand;
to be loved, as to love;
for it is in giving that we receive,
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned,
and it is in dying that we are born to Eternal Life.
St. Francis of Assisi (1182 - 1226)
I was asked to comment on the prayer of that great Buddhist teacher St. Francis, and this prayer which I say every morning. I would add this line in this prayer : "and it is in gratefulness that we are gifted in every moment."
And where he says "hope," Hope should be replaced with Truth. Hope implies that something from the outside will come to save you. Truth is that you already are the salvation that you seek from somewhere else.
Why gratitude? Why do thanks need to be expressed when we receive something?
The true power of intention, the idea of manifesting some good in your life, is not about controlling, it’s about letting go. The dysfunctional ego wants to hold on to its manipulative plans and tactics in order to reinforce the illusion that is has gained and is maintaining control over a situation. And if that’s the vibration that we create, then the conscious loving source energy of the Kosmos will bend itself to our will against its true nature to flow freely and abundantly.
At some point in our evolutions humans realized that the images and thoughts that were in their head were abstractions of what was in their external experience and that they could manipulate those abstractions to accomplish real-life tasks and activities. With that realization came incredible potentials but also catastrophic pitfalls. Thoughts alone cannot apprehend or appreciate the miracle of creation. Because they are separate from the object or condition that they represent, they give rise to desire.
Desire is feeling that you’re missing something being here and wanting to be there. While we are experiencing what is called our normal waking consciousness, we usually have the desire to be almost anywhere else but here. This is the source of most of our misery and suffering. Suffering is the “growing pains” of spiritual progress when that progress is being resisted. Every time we experience pain it is both a discomfort and an opportunity for us to identify and release the inner resistance that is the source of the pain and realize our true nature. If something on the outside is hurting us, we remove ourselves from that source of the pain. When something on the inside is hurting us, we look to something from the outside to remove the pain. That can’t work. Pain from the inside is inner resistance, and the only way it can be truly removed is if we release the resistance, not do something to avoid, deny or numb the pain. Letting go requires a tolerance for discomfort. Each one of us must do this for ourselves, no one else can do it for us. All therapy ultimately needs to be self-therapy
Here is the truth: You are made of conscious, joyful, loving energy in condensed form, and you are swimming in and being showered by the same conscious loving energy in expanded form in every moment. There is no separation between the condensed and expanded energies. You have created a wall between the energy that is your “body” and the energy that is surrounding you (the entire rest of the Kosmos), and you have created gates in that wall to let the energy in only when certain conditions are fulfilled. You have identified yourself as being the wall instead of the energy, and you are only aware of the energy that is who you really are when those conditions are met and you grudgingly open the gates and allow yourself to experience its fullness. So there is no free flow of energy, no “give and take” between the dense “you” and the expanded “you”. And you’re unwilling to dismantle the wall and the gates for fear that you will then have nothing at all.
Solid objects are not solid but are pure energy coming into and going out of the appearance of solidity in every moment. It is like a fantastic fountain that can create all sorts of beautiful shapes from flowing water. At each successive moment it is different water that is creating the shape, but the appearance of the shape remains stable to the observer. This is similar to the proverb “You never step into the same river twice”. So the miracle of creation is occurring in every moment and enlightenment is simply the total openness to and joy arising from witnessing, participating and collaborating in the creation of everything that is and is happening in each and every moment, moment by moment. The water flows out of the jets, creates the forms, and then drops back to the pool in a joyful and never ending cycle. There’s always more energy coming back so there’s no reason to fear that you will ever be in a state of lack or detachment. The only way to join with the endless and abundant flow of our true nature is to let go.
Most people believe that gratitude is the result of desire fulfilled, but that is not true gratitude, that’s just relief from craving.
True gratitude is the recognition that you are giving to and receiving from the Kosmos in abundance and in every moment, realizing the fullness of creation and the creator. It is the natural result of opening up and realizing that one is being gifted in every moment by the conscious loving energy of the Kosmos, and not a forced sense of appreciation for some material object received or a sense of “relief” because the object or service received averted some unpleasant anticipated circumstance. Gratitude is the gift we give back to Source in return for the gift we have just received. It is the joy that is experienced when you drop all of the resistance to the free flow of energy between “inside” and “outside”.
True gratitude is understanding that every thing in every moment is a miracle. Miracles are miraculous only to the ego. Many people wish and pray for a miracle to happen and when it does then they are grateful, but they are ignorant to the fact that the miracle is happening all around them and within them all the time. They just need to stop believing that miracles are something out of the ordinary but instead are the “natural order of things”. As the Course in Miracles states, “when miracles do NOT occur, something has gone wrong.” Miracles can only occur when you create the space in which they can manifest. Gratitude creates that space. If this is true, then there should never be a time when one should NOT be feeling gratitude. Don’t wait for a miracle, don’t pray for a miracle, don’t hope for a miracle, live the miracle that you already are right now. Every moment is a miracle. True gratitude arises from the realization that miracles are not only possible, they are inevitable and eternal.
© 2010 Jim Giorgi