Gratitude is a state of being.
It’s a feeling that resides within us, akin to love. We feel grateful when we awaken to another day, another opportunity to achieve, to be part of life and experience love. We may not always acknowledge our gratitude, but it’s there, like our breath. When gratitude is consciously acknowledged, endorphins immediately flow throughout the body and we feel good to be alive. We feel renewed. We are connecting with our soul, our essential self.
But when adversity strikes gratitude is often replaced immediately by fear. Fear of the unknown, fear of loss. And everything in our world grows dark. Fear is the opposite of love and fear is a mighty challenge to gratitude – love’s child.
What good is a gorgeous sunrise when we are faced with catastrophe? How does a lovely meadow in morning dew measure against fear? How can we resurrect that beautiful life renewing state of being grateful when it feels as if our world has turned upside down? Who among us hasn’t known that dark space where gratitude ceases to exist for us? We feel like dying then. This is how essential gratitude is for our well-being.
I have been there, in that dark space.
A text has just this minute arrived, asking me to pray for someone I don’t know but who after all, is a brother, in critical condition shot by a terrorist in a faraway land. A reminder that every moment on our planet catastrophe is striking someone somewhere and the question of gratitude in the face of adversity rises up in its profundity.
And yet the answers lie within our human heart. Let us find them together.
We have discussed the essential state of gratitude for well-being, how gratitude is entwined with love within our heart. Therefore, it is clear that when adversity strikes gratitude has not flown away, it has only receded into the dark recesses of our heart, awaiting prayer and meditation to bring it back into the light.
Deep in heartfelt prayer born of love, gratitude begins to re-emerge. Gratitude for the time we have shared with loved ones. Gratitude for the good we have done with our time on Earth, spontaneous good deeds, friends and family we have loved, how we have shared with others whatever good fortune came into our life. Awareness begins to arise for the merit we have earned along the way and slowly we become grateful for these intangible blessings that money cannot buy, that no one coerced us to do, the goodness that arose within our own hearts or within the heart of our threatened loved one. And for these we are grateful. The precious state of gratitude shines within like an eternal flame.
When adversity has passed and we find we have outlived fear, we may survey our journey. And as I have discovered through numerous challenges and fearful times, you may also discover, there is something called Divine Timing. In some mysterious way, as I have been contemplating lately, the universe knows the best and highest good for all concerned and through adversity we are guided to learn our life lessons. Above all, I am ever in a state of gratitude for my soul, that Divine spark of light which resides within my heart chakra and allows me to love even while facing adversity.