More and more, gratitude is being acknowledged as an amazing power for good and healing in many different areas of existence –from medicine and positive psychology to gardening and education.
It is absolutely impossible, I repeat, impossible, to entertain a deep feeling of gratitude and the least trace of negativity. They totally exclude each other just as light annihilates darkness. Have you ever seen a candle of darkness (??!!) extinguish light? But the smallest candle will bring light to the deepest underground cavern.
Such is the power of gratitude to your heart and soul.
My daily bedside book – I read a page or two every night before turning my light out – is the beautifully and tenderly illustrated, both profound and wonderfully challenging book by Byron Katie – one of the world leaders in personal development – A Friendly Universe. This little book is a pure jewel, and I am constantly offering it to people. She states that the fundamental criterion of personal fulfillment (and hence happiness, I would add) is to be in a permanent state of gratitude. And we can constantly remain in that state when we have really understood, as a spiritual writer wrote close to 2000 years ago, that ALL things work together for good to them that love “God” (i.e., Life, the Universe, the Source – use the word that most speaks to you). Personally, I have made up a little mantra that I repeat all through the day: “Yes, yes, thank you, thank you, ALL things…” (I don’t repeat the whole quotation – just the first two words).
Not “most things”. Not “everything occasionally.” Everything. All the time. Period! That is such an amazing truth. Just think of it. ABSOLUTELY EVERYTHING that happens in our lives however dramatic it appears at the moment, will work out for our good if we face it with the fundamental trust that we live in a friendly universe that is constantly working for our highest good, whatever the appearances may be. And Mary Baker Eddy, an American metaphysician of the 19th century, made the equally striking statement that “there is not a redundant DROP in the cup of your trials.” If that is true, how can we not face every single event in our lives with a resounding “THANK YOU.”
Our greatest freedom in life is that we are moment by moment free to choose our thoughts. And at every single moment, we have the choice between yes and no, between feeling victimized and taking responsibility, between complaint and gratitude. This is as true of the world situation as it is for personal issues. The dramatic news concerning the world environment, the tension between the US and North Korea, the dramatic suffering (as rarely ever in human history) of women in Kivu Central Africa, victims for 25 years of mass rape — these are wake-up calls, clarion calls for humanity to really have the courage to face these challenges. So, we can always say thank you, not for the situation of course, but for the clarion call.
When I wake up in the morning, while still in bed, I express gratitude for simply being alive. If you were not alive, you would not be reading this article. You would not experience the fabulous adventure of growing towards your higher self and discovering your divine nature. Then I repeat a verse from a Psalm, “This is the day divine Love hath made, I shall rejoice and be glad in it.” I follow this with the Native American saying, “Give thanks for the unknown blessings that are already on their way,” followed by the question: “What grand and glorious adventure awaits me today?” With this little bit of mental hygiene, I am ready for the gift of a brand-new day. And there are 365 of them each year. All packed full of good for those who have eyes to see it.