Being grateful for not only life’s blessing but also its suffering is a key component of living a spiritual life — and more broadly, to a fulfilling and meaningful life. Don’t take life so seriously, or get so wrapped up in your own everyday dramas that you forgot to see the beauty that is constantly surrounding you. This life is a test — it is only a test. If it had been an actual life, you would have received further instructions on where to go and what to do. Remember, this life is only a test. If we see the world as sacred, which is an expression of the spiritual life, then gratitude follows immediately and naturally. We’ve been given the extraordinary privilege of incarnating as human beings — and of course the human incarnation entails the 10,000 joys and 10,000 sorrows, as it says in the Tao Te Ching — but with it we have the privilege of the lavender color at sunset, the taste of a tangerine in our mouth, and the almost unbearable beauty of life around us, along with its troubles. It keeps recreating itself. We can either be lost in a smaller state of consciousness — what in Buddhist psychology is called the “body of fear,” which brings suffering to us and to others — or we can bring the quality of love and appreciation, which I would call gratitude, to life. With it comes a kind of trust. The poet Pablo Neruda writes, “You can pick all the flowers, but you can’t stop the spring.” Life keeps recreating itself and presenting us with miracles every day. In fact, it allows us to become agents of change because we are actually attentive and present for what is without being overwhelmed by it and without distracting ourselves. In that way, mindfulness is actually one of the necessary components of making a real transformation in whatever field or dimension of society we would choose. Mahatma Gandhi took one day a week in silence, even in the midst of marches of thousands and the ending of the British colonial empire. When everything was in the middle of this huge transformation, he would say, “I’m sorry, this is my day of silence.” And he would sit and quiet himself and try to listen to what was the most compassionate and skillful and powerful response he could make, coming from that deep center of wisdom. So rather than removing us from the world, it allows us to affect the world in a different and in many cases more profound way…..Jack Kornfield
can we know gratitude? know the ease of holding all that mercy and unexpected kindness created from heart to hand? slow, languid knowing is a lifetime’s generative work…..
To have a temporary, isolated sense of power over all events and circumstances, is one of the privileges and the prime conceits of being human and especially of being youthfully human, but a privilege that must be surrendered with that same youth, with ill health, with accident, with the loss of loved ones who do not share our untouchable powers; powers eventually and most emphatically given up, as we approach our last breath. The only choice we have as we mature is how we inhabit our vulnerability, how we become larger and more courageous and more compassionate through our intimacy with disappearance, our choice is to inhabit vulnerability as generous citizens of loss, robustly and fully, or conversely, as misers and complainers, reluctant, and fearful, always at the gates of existence, but never bravely and completely attempting to enter, never wanting to risk ourselves, never walking fully through the door…….David Whyte
In a night full of suffering and Darkness,
Be a candle spreading light till dawn.