February 17


Today's Quotation:

In ordinary life we hardly realize that we receive a great deal more than we give, and that it is only with gratitude that life becomes rich.  It is very easy to overestimate the importance of our own achievements in comparison with what we owe others.

Dietrich Bonhoeffer

Today's Meditation:

I'm trying to develop an attitude that reflects gratitude for everything.  It's a strange concept, I know, because what happens when I get sick?  Am I supposed to be thankful for the sickness?  Well, when I think about it, I can be thankful that my body's immune system fights off the invading germs or virus.  I can be thankful for the time I have to recover, and the people who have spent so much time and energy doing research and development so that there are medicines that will help my body.  There was a time when pneumonia was often fatal, yet in our era we have antibiotics that kill it before it can kill us.  And there are still some countries where people don't have ready access to those medicines.

Life becomes rich when I'm thankful.  I see the things I have and receive for what they are--blessings that enrich my life.  I can choose not to see life this way, and then I'd take everything for granted.  But what's the use in that?  It would just turn me into a self-absorbed person who doesn't have any appreciation for the efforts of others.

I've learned through experience the value of a heartfelt "thank you," even if no one ever hears it.  I can say thanks for a hot bubble bath at the end of a long day, and those thanks change my perception ever so slightly, keeping me focused on the fact that I have such blessings in my life.  The thanks keep me reminded that I'm not in this life on my own--my life is intertwined with the lives of so many others, people who do things for me whom I'll never know.  Who made that computer for you?  Who put it together?  Who wrote the programs that make it run?  Who shipped it to where you live?

So thank you for who you are and for all of your contributions to this world in which we live.  Thanks for focusing on the positive, for the more of us who do so there are, the more positive life and energy there will be in the world, and eventually it will grow so much that it will be impossible to ignore.  My thanks to you enriches my life, just as your thanks to your neighbor or waitress or clerk enriches yours.

Questions to ponder:

1.  How many things do we have to be thankful for?

2.  How many people could we thank for those things if we were to research their origins?

3.  What effect does saying "thank you" have on your life?

For further thought:

When awareness of everything you have dawns in you, how do you feel?  Don't you have an extraordinary abundance to be thankful for?  Gratitude is being thankful, grateful for what you have.  With gratitude firmly rooted in your heart, you are humble and open and receptive and inducing your Benefactor to shower you with more gifts, physical and spiritual.  And it's more than gifts!  A grateful heart is a grace-full heart.  A grace-full heart is one that is open, alive, and growing toward communion with its Benefactor.

Do you realize that you have been given exactly what you need just so that you may proceed with the spiritual lessons and growth that you, you alone, need to master?  Yes, life can be absolutely daunting, but you can have gratitude when you realize that you have just what you need.  Gratitude is the virtue that shifts our energy in order to facilitate our great growth to the next levels.  Without the hankering after what we don't have, we allow ourselves to receive from God just what we need.  Then we have and use just what we need to, so that we're prepared for greater gifts and gains inside.

Michael Goddart

more thoughts and ideas on gratitude



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