Thankfulness….a gift!

“for it is in giving that we receive” ~~~~~~~~~Saint Francis of Assisi

 

Generally as sentient beings,we move along in our lives sometimes with this big gap within ourselves ….. a sense of dis-satisfaction with life,as though nothing is worthwhile doing or living for or that there is so much to do but having very little time,we feel afraid of not living up to expectations(ours or others),we accuse ourselves of failures and inadequacy,sometimes we can inwardly feel that we may be overdoing things like enjoying too much or denying ourselves and others of quality time……..we start being critical of things…we tend to be hard on ourselves…so we push on,we either deny ourselves of happiness or we strive too hard superficially to make ourselves and others ‘happy’…and this usually takes it toll on our being and the lives around us…………….we tend to judge that others are better,happier off than us,that they have a good,successful life,that she/he has an ideal partner/family,etc,etc……but in truth if we can think this way…so can the others think of us the same!Then we start to create this separation around us….we unconsciously become selfish,self centred,thinking that the other is always better off…we start holding back and becoming self deprived,we dont want to give and hence become devoid of joy……………….

 

While being selfish with ourselves and others and holding back our true capacity to give and be generous and be kind,we forget how to be grateful for our very existence and for the little/plenty we have and for the opportunity as human beings to be able to walk into and enjoy our Inner Source and see the treasures we have,we are within!……

 

Jesus,the Buddha and all spiritual masters of various religious traditions will testify…”the kingdom of heaven is Within.” There is nothing without that would give us lasting joy…we can only utilise the external factors and circumstances(usually suffering) and with our own innate intelligence and creativity initiate the journey of revelations back into our Being to find everlasting Love and Joy and Peace! The Buddha said that the first thing we have to do to take that journey within is to make a conscious effort to start!

 

Prior to starting out on my journey within myself,in the year 1998/99……I took life for granted…I had this devil may care attitude,enjoyments,fun times and yes suffering that I was not aware of…I thought that this was what life was about,taking for granted that living conditions of ups and downs,mood swings, pleasantness and unhappiness,peoples(others) idiosyncrasies were all part of dealing, struggling and putting up with in life,that there was nothing one can do about it,we either become hardened to fight back or bite our tongues and be complacent or go the doctor and get a prescription(anti-depressants or sedatives to help with sleep and relaxations).Yes, I was depressed most of my adult life,I did go to see psychiatrists,and took anti-depressants and sleep aids,and continued on my foolish merry-making ways!Did popping pills help me to be a better,gracious and wiser person with a conscious purpose for a beneficial role in life……..not really! In fact I admit to being more restless,desperate and dwindling deeper into unhealthy habits,self hatred and so much anger with myself and the world.

 

I am not saying that resorting to medical help and medications are not helpful or that they are futile,however it may be beneficial to some degree in conjunction with other alternative lifestyle changes/enhancements,eg.herbal remedies,natural sources of food supplements,a healthier diet,seeking counselling/therapies,spiritual exercises of meditaiton,breathing,yoga,reading self-help books,taking up self developmental courses/workshops,going on short retreats,spending quiet times in nature.In other words we become aware of the needing of help and to be open to the various methods of help.

 

I did not know how to utilise the gift of gratitude,the restlessness of struggling to find happiness,love,joy and peace of mind drove me further to only want to take and get as much as I can out of life and from others…or so I thought!  ………I thought that I was giving back to to others too by trying hard to please or simply by having fun with them or that the exchanges of cordiality was good enough.Instead I unconsciously became ungracious and ungrateful to life itself!

 

So,I associated thankfulness for only the gifts given to me which I could see and validate such as material things or when people did favours and extended friendly deeds or when people made me ‘happy’and when situations in life went fairly well.

 

As I grew deeper in awareness of my foolhardiness while engaged in meditative/spiritual practices and made many life-changing decisions and options,I learnt very quickly that gratitude is not only saying thank you for the good things that bring us happiness and pleasure in life but that it takes true fortitude and courage to say thank you for the very tragic situations that bring us grief!

 

Looking back into my past and the way I lived it and the many ‘downfalls’ I faced……..I learned to be sincerely grateful for the chance I was given to make amends and transform my life and the opportunity to exercise courage, resilience and fortitude to adventure within myself to find the source of Truth……all along within me(us) waiting to be uncovered and revealed.

 

Gratitude brings Joy and kindness to oneself and others….it allows for sustenance and nourishment for inner growth and stability.The cultivation of joy in return dispels the darkness of misery and lack……when we can practise joyful giving …we cultivate joyful Loving within!

 

Continuous practise of gratitude in bad and happy times renew and rejuvenate life,we can give back to humanity in little ways, in thoughtfulness, in kind,with our time and in surprise gestures,we give without expecting back anything,we give with a smile in our hearts……its a Soul’s prayer praising humanity and creation because without gratitude,there will be no Joy, life becomes a drab,there will be no aliveness within….the soul is parched………a thirsty being cannot and will not offer to quench another thirsty being…….…

 

When we can practise saying thank you for everything we encounter in daily living,we cultivate generosity of the heart….the heart expands with equanimity to embrace all conditons with no divisiveness or biasness…..thankfulness then becomes a gift for comfort and consolation to oneself and others……….when we can sincerely say thank you,we learn to be appreciative and thus we attract the same back to us,we are truly learning to be unselfish with ourselves and others.

If we ask with clenched fists,how are we to receive or give?

 

 

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Living in Freedom…Acceptance…Being

As a leaf falls into the stream and it floats downstream meeting the river……it simply flows where the river current rushes…..there can be no going upstream…….finally the river opens out into the sea and the leaf is freed into the vast ocean……………

 

As the saying goes…”what we resist,persists”…….when there is resistence there is always tension,unhappiness and discord.When we start to understand the underlying cause of all discords,we see in that understanding,there is that need for control,a selfish need to ‘not give in’,holding back,unable to make it easy to accede …..we fight a futile battle within ourselves because we think we can make ourselves ‘happy’by making others unhappy or perhaps we get a ‘kick’ out of witholding truth and kindness and love.Instead we are truly causing more damage to the injured soul,in other words we self imprison ourselves to a life of continuing unhappiness and misery!

 

Like a beautiful bird in a cage who is fed,cared for and admired, one day the owner feels sorry and comes to a realisation that this bird is trapped and feels that it is in need to be free in nature,so the owner opens the cage door and allows the bird to fly free,but ironically,the bird is afraid and forgets its true nature of freedom,it doesnt want to budge and chooses to stay in the cage!

 

Like the bird we forget the truth of our innate nature…..free to be,free to live in love, free to act courageously and consciously,free to know that we can only be the master of our being,nobody has the power or control of our rights to live….we can only take responsibility for how we choose to live…….in wisdom or in foolishness…..
Once we can courageously see and accept this truth….we can start learning and be willing to let go of anything ……. and feel the relief and peace that come with it…………..we can start to come out of the conditioned mindset.

 

A lot of people have this concept that freedom to live is about running wild and easy and enjoying life frivolously and affecting others lives unconsciously without any concern. Freedom is rather an unconditional state of awareness where one will not allow to be controlled or wanting to control any longer………its consciousness is not imprisoned or affected by external factors and circumstances…it acts according to its own independent conscience for the good and benefit of all,even if that situation will not seem to have a favourable outcome…in other words it will accept good or not so good situations and live accordingly…it accepts and allows everything to be as it should be with no distinctions.

Freedom will not be affected by blame,praise, losses and gains,good or bad …..it will joyously mingle with friends and foes alike….it knows no separation….it holds all humanity and creation within that Freedom….it knows that the suffering and the joy of one person is the joy and suffering of all beings the same………………

 

True Freedom comes from the Joy of having seen our inner states,with all its flaws and all its goodness and having taken the courage to make the journey and effort to be truthful and learn from the past,make amends and to love ourselves for it……….then letting go and being freed from it….the Presence of freedom also allows the truth of allowing the future to unfold as is…………it will not try to make excuses of the what ifs,what should and should not be….it will simply be a learning of lessons and a continuation of moving forward to betterment…..

 

Freedom holds the being in self-aceptance of whatever will be will be!

 

Freedom will not resist,deny or resent any good or unsatisfactory  situation…………..freedom is conscious fearlessness!

 

Freedom allows each being including ourselves to live and act freely without judgements,finding faults, passing comments and looking at the speck in another’s eye. it will act fearlessly to take courage to pull out the log in our own eye first!

 

When we are free to look into our own being…we can be free from the attachments of worry(especially so in terms of loved and dear ones),free from grasping to be needy of anothers attention,from needing recognition and importance,free from imposing conditions on others…eg,if you do something for me,I’ll do something for you kind of attitude(whats in it for me!).We actually free ourselves from emotional, mental and physical entanglements …it allows others to simply be with a knowing that they too have the potential and capacity for their own freedom.

 

Freedom from attachments doesn’t mean we feel cold/numb,aloof,uncaring and indifferent to the welfare of others.Freedom from attachments matter of fact allows that divine space within us to act and engage wisely depending on the circumstances without expectations of the outcomes,without obligations to be further dragged into the drama and of not being severely affected/disturbed whereby we become traumatised and be tormented ‘permanently ‘by the situation.In other words we will feel compassionately and understandingly and be respectful of the impermanence of the nature of the human journey and life and living.Yes the pain of feeling another’s suffering can be overwhelming(like a sword piercing through the heart) but freedom from attachments allows pain to be buffered and healed accordingly at its own pace and time…………………

 

Freedom is truly about having the courage to go deep into ourselves and touch that sacred chamber within and love ourselves with all its imperfections and goodness…..

 

To live in freedom is like the leaf flowing with the natural current of the river…..not struggling against the flow until it finally reaches the ocean to become One with it!

 

Living in freedom means we are able to recognise our individuality and our independence and we acknowledge no matter what each being possesses the same quality with no need to possess or to have control/power over,we are unique on our own yet we remain interdependent upon each other to help facilitate spiritual growth and human evolvement.

 

As we recognise the freedom of detachment, we can nourish and nurture our inner states of well-being without being affected by extenal ideologies,beliefs and influences of others…just the same we will not infringe or impose upon others what they need to experience or learn for themselves………we allow the understanding that each person will evolve accordingly to their own time,pace and karma(reap what you sow,cause and effect).

 

No one belongs to anyone….not even our children,lovers,family,friends,students and teachers……we are all individuals……yes, we can take care,we can love, we can help,we can share with each other,but we cannot possess or say anything belongs to me or I belong to them.When we see this positive truth of detachment we can be engaged to love fully without fear of losses and dissapointments and allow ourselves and others to just Be!…………we cannot stifle the growth of others,eg,we expect our children to be doctors,but deep down the child wnats to be a ski instructor….so unhappiness is created both ways…..the parents’high expectations and the child’s inner conflict!

To live in freedom is learning to accept and surrender to the present moment,trusting in the flow of life…..and letting go……nothing is wrong or right,good or bad,we can always make changes,learn from mistakes, find solutions and work our way through it!