The first lesson of my life on gratitude came to me from my mother, who would keep in her mind all those who came into her life in hard times and held her hand to see her through. If she had received the smallest gift from anyone, even in the distant past, (I had no idea how she could remember that in her mind) she would often tell me, “Look, you should always be grateful for small things and particularly for any help you received from anyone in life.” She would add with a twinkle in her loving eyes, “Keep in mind, God loves those who are grateful.” This is how my first guru in life initiated me into the world of the most fundamental human quality of being thankful, being grateful, which gradually blossomed into my heart as the most perfect Prayer.
One time, after all the good I did for a person, at the most unexpected moment he gave me back a blow of treachery; a good friend turned into a hurtful stranger. I was in shock for a while, my whole being was stressed, and negative thoughts surrounded me and pulled me down. Suddenly I remembered my mother’s words! My mind flipped and from the womb of memory started surfacing thoughts that were amazingly healing. I remembered this was the very person who one day stood by my side when I needed help and gave me all that I needed, this was the person who sacrificed his own happiness for me. Those memories of the past filled my heart, and my consciousness soared. I was no longer battling myself, belittling myself, and cursing someone I loved once, but my mind was lifted to the domain of light. Now came flowing thoughts of gratitude and thankfulness for all he did for me once. I had tears of love flowing for the same person who just hurt me so badly. I could feel that there had to be a reason for the sudden change in his attitude, such as a deep pain that he must be going through that would cause him to hurt others. This feeling of gratitude was indeed magical. It pulled me out of the dark tunnel to a burst of light!
It has been my own experience that however unpredictable and unreliable human relationships could be, however painful it could be at times to steer through the turbulence of this negative world, all of it is nothing but the way we see things and accept them. If you and I could be viewing the world from the calm and stable ground of our minds, we would not so much see negativity, but aberrations or material imperfections which are so natural. Maybe because our heart has not been trained to be centered in its essence, in its purity, that we are not able to see that we are flooded with trillions of sparks of grace from the infinite universe every moment. Therefore, we are not able to be in a continual mode of appreciation and celebration. Maybe we have not trained our mind to write down before we sleep at night 4 or 5 small things that happened that day for which we need to be truly thankful to God.
Imagine if we could fold our hands and with a bowed head and closed eyes, express our gratitude and thankfulness to all the diverse species of life, to all sentient beings, and send forth healing light of love and grace. How in a moment we would be uplifted to a divine intoxication and quiet peace!
Let us not forget that whatever we give to the universe, the universe gives it back to us. By universe I mean all of the things and persons we interact with. If we don’t miss a single opportunity to acknowledge richly our debt of gratitude, if our smile and gratitude is the very light of our being, then we will radiate positive aura that will enfold one and all. Our gratefulness will be like living a message for which God sent us to earth.
Gratitude is the language of God. Gratitude is the path to divine love. Gratitude uplifts the mind to the realm of divinity and fulfillment. This is the only way we can fill our pitcher of life with nectar of divine love and divine Light. Om Shanti.