I’m not sure whether the concept of gratitude I’m going to share with you is radical or not but it certainly was for me.
I was taught to be grateful for all the good things I had in my life. Not that I always was, but the concept was not new to me. So when I felt like grumbling about things and going ‘Why me?’, I learned to start looking at all I had and seeing how blessed I was in comparison to others less fortunate than me. Great idea, but it resulted in gratitude given grudgingly.
Then when I started to get a little wiser (!) and things went wrong sometimes, I went from ‘Why me?’ to ‘Why not me?’ ‘Why shouldn’t things go wrong for me?’, I asked. I don’t deserve any better than anyone else. And again there was a comparison, ‘If things can go wrong for my friend, who definitely deserves better than me, why should they not go wrong for me?’ Can you see the folly of this? Guilt and comparison are not great for the soul, as I’ve since learned.
Now moving to the radical gratitude stuff. Here’s my new mantra on gratitude: To be thankful when things don’t go right because I’ve begun to understand that everything does truly work for good.
I’ve started to believe that every experience that we have, every mistake that we make, every choice we make, can lead to good, if we have the right attitude. This does not mean that we have the license to go about being thoughtless or careless. No, on the contrary, in my experience, an attitude of gratitude helps us to become more mindful of our choices, our words, our actions.
A tough mantra to follow? Yes, at first.
I haven’t completely incorporated this into my life. But now, when anything ‘bad’ happens, after my initial reaction of shock, anger, sorrow…….I stop and give thanks and then I affirm to myself that there’s a lesson in this and that everything works for good. It gets easier with time, like any habit.
If God said,
“Rumi, pay homage to everything
that has helped you
enter my arms.”
There would not be one experience of my life,
not one thought, not one feeling,
not any act, I would not bow to.
What do you think of my gratitude mantra? Crazy? What is your gratitude mantra?