Gratitude ... be Thankful
[This article appeared in the June2023 issue of The Theosophical Movement. For more articles published in this excellent magazine follow this link: https://www.ultindia.org/current_issues.html]
“Being grateful for all that silently works in our lives, and ignoring what does not, will reverse our default state of ignoring what works, and resisting what does not,” writes Suma Varughese, from her personal experience.
Suma Varughese is the former editor of Life Positive and Society magazines. She is the author of Travelling Light and Travelling Lighter. She is also the founder-facilitator of the Zen of Good Writing course which imparts the principles of good writing to aspiring writers.
She writes that when she could not sleep for three consecutive nights, she asked her friends for prescriptions for a good night’s sleep. She received many suggestions, of which a few were implemented and they worked. She realized that getting a good night’s sleep was indeed a blessing. All of us enjoy hundreds of blessings which we take for granted, until we meet someone who does not have it. It is just like that boy who cried for shoes until he met one who had no feet. The author says that when she heard of a friend who had her intestines and liver operated on for cancer, she expressed her gratitude that she only had to suffer some sleepless nights. We are compelled to feel gratitude for all that we have when we see some of those people at traffic signals: men without limbs; malnourished women carrying tiny babies; street urchins running around with scanty clothes, and so on.
We should consider ourselves lucky if we can read, if we can walk, talk, breathe, eat and sleep. For, all these are great blessings. She recalls the incident wherein her uncle’s entire family suffered on account of food poisoning and was hospitalized except their son; he cheerfully said that he was thankful to God that there was at least one person who was not affected and could look after them all! It was heartening to see him find something good even in a hopeless situation, writes Suma Varughese. (Life Positive, May 2023)
The feeling of gratitude is an inseparable part of spiritual life. Thanksgiving reminds us about the process of giving Thanks, which could be felt, acknowledged, written or expressed through a kind act. It is a good practice to maintain the Gratitude Journal, in which, every day, before we go to sleep, we can write down five things for which we are grateful. We could begin by making a list of five people to whom we are thankful, followed by five physical abilities, five possessions, five modern-day inventions, and so on. We could also be thankful for the good moral qualities developed as a result of suffering and adversities. Thankfulness puts everything in a fresh perspective, allowing us to see the blessings all around us, writes Marguerite Theophil. Catherine Athans, a teacher of metaphysics and a life coach, based out of Los Angeles, writes that when we learn to be grateful for little things in life, we would find that things and events we had been wanting for long, begin to appear in our life simply, miraculously. “Gratitude ties in beautifully with the state of living a full, abundant life.”
We should consciously try to feel grateful for everything life brings, both joys and troubles. We must be thankful for the difficult times because they teach us hard lessons and make us grow. We must be thankful for our limitations because they give us opportunities for improvement. We must be also thankful for adversities and challenges because they could build our strength and character. With an attitude of gratitude, we can turn our troubles into our blessings by giving the right response to the situation.