A prisoner in solitary confinement has the power to experience the highest levels of freedom and joy. A billionaire king has the power to experience the highest levels of jealousy and depression.
It’s all a matter of our perspective – what we are focusing on.
Gratitude for our most basic blessings is what’s most important to express, because when any one of our most basic blessings is threatened or taken away from us, it’s all we can think about and pray for. We would gladly cash in all our chips for one critical issue to be resolved. It’s amazing how quickly our list of needs and wants gets edited and slashed when our health or the health of a loved one is at stake.
Gratitude brings us to the mindset of recognition of our blessings. It becomes very easy to overlook all of the miracles going on every second which sustain who we are and what we experience. We take them for granted.
Allocating time to appreciate the basic miracles in our lives sets the bar lower for our experience of joy – shifting us away from reserving experiences of joy for only when newer and greater things are manifested – to sitting in the joy of the present miracles in our lives, smiling and breathing deeply.
Today, with newer and more advanced products coming out faster than ever, it’s even more challenging to associate joy with the basics in life.
Until the moment they are taken away from you.
Well, that’s the point that I’m interested in. Because that’s a trigger which brings to the surface that which means most to us. And I’d rather incorporate a system of acknowledgement of what means most to me now – so that I don’t need to wait until they are threatened to bring them to awareness.
The question is, how does time spent focusing on gratitude improve my life or get me out of whatever pain and anxiety I’m experiencing?
The answer lies in our ability to create our own reality.
Look, right now we are experiencing some version of reality that’s been influenced and architected by a number of external forces. Most often our family, friends, society, and media are pretty hefty contributors to how we perceive our world. While there are parts of our perception which serve us well, there are also parts which are no longer helpful. Most people will continue along their way, incorporating solutions to temporarily fix their problems. Others will seek the root cause of their problems and attempt to assassinate them.
It is helpful to be grounded to a foundation of wisdom as we travel the road of return to our true selves. Wisdom is the water in our canteen – the sage, our Sherpa – the mountain ahead, our life potential.
Kind David tells us that clean hands and a pure heart are required to scale the mountain of the Source.
Rebbe Nachman tells us that no matter how far out we are – how sick, disconnected, addicted, in denial, lost we are – the path back starts with finding the small good point hidden within ourself. That flickering flame deep within. The most basic blessing we take for granted. And by focusing on that good point, and tuning out from the surrounding distractions of this world, we slowly start to identify with that good attribute – and we then look for other good points within, gradually expanding our identification with the good – and then we start to look for good points in others, and connect with their good points, and so on. Ultimately, this process has the power to lead to world peace – and it starts deep within ourselves.
Gratitude is what trains us to look within for the hidden basic blessings. The blessings we take for granted as we hold our self worth out against the latest version of how we think society views us. Our shell can seem more real than the jewel of our soul within.
Gratitude expressed – a list of the basics – is something that no matter where we find ourselves – how far off the path – can lead us back to the blessings within – and reshape our experience from lack to abundance.
It doesn’t have to be a formal prayer. It can be just reading our list in the morning – drumming up emotions of appreciation – recognizing that nothing in this world is automatic and guaranteed. The most basic of the blessings are the ones to be most grateful for.
Gratitude attributes the gift to the Source and brings joy to the giver. Everyone likes a smile, some appreciation, recognition for our efforts. It just makes us want to give more. Giving more to the ingrate just buries the basic blessings deeper within the layers of fresh abundance – teaching them to consume without the chance to marinate on gratitude for what’s already been digested. That’s called spoiling a child. A.K.A – bread of shame. That’s why we weren’t created with a soft serve ice cream dispenser in our mouths and trophies in our crib – to give us the opportunity to work for things and to feel as though we’ve earned them. That brings more joy than just receiving things without exerting any effort. A spoiled child does not express gratitude. It’s no gift to keep giving more to one who has yet refined their ability to house and express appreciation.
Starting each day off on our knees in deep appreciation for our soul returning to our body, for oxygen and heart beat, for sight and comprehension – it is wise to afford ourselves the luxury of basking in life’s greatest and most basic blessings. This is gratitude.