Most cultures have occasions to consider gratitude – what we’re grateful and thankful for.
In the States, we have Thanksgiving & Christmas to think of something when asked, ‘so, what are you grateful for?’
Even though we may have a year of dramas, issues, and complaints, at least we have a day to reflect.
We consider our family, relationships, the kids in our lives (whether they behave the way we want, or not) – we feel grateful for them.
There’s always that uncle that’s like, ‘well you know, Thanksgiving is a conspiracy.’ – We’re thankful for him too.
We’re grateful for certain people in our lives and the specific things we’ve got – the job, the career, the apartment, the home, the car, the successes and triumphs.
We’re grateful for what we feel is special in our lives.
It’s interesting that we’re grateful for the specifics, but often overlook the basics.
Think about your daily commute. Usually it’s people, cars, trees, and things whizzing by us.
Often it’s ‘oh No he didn’t…!’ or ‘what the heck is taking so long?’
Mostly we’re in our heads, thinking about timing and goals, people, challenges, and dramas.
Meanwhile the world is just blurring past us.
Even the most amazing sunset can get lost to a whirlwind of thoughts and agendas.
But what makes this the case?
Lost in Knowledge
Thing is we already know a lot about the world – we know what trees look like, already know what that guy’s going to do, and even, ‘yeah, yeah, seen a sunset before.’
The background is what we already know or simply pushed out of awareness so we can focus on what we think is important.
So these peripherals have no special value to us personally.
It’s not that we don’t have the mental space for it. We haven’t even begun to tap that power. In fact we ignore it (but that’s another article).
Most often for us, life is happening on auto-pilot.
Get up, get ready, work out (heh maybe tomorrow), breakfast, run out the door, start the car, rush off to work, and the challenges of the day.
Consider the Basics
But now for a moment, just consider that car, that bus, or train. At least it runs right?
Have you ever thought about all the moving parts? – The engine, tires, and axels, even computer chips and digital interfaces, all working together to make the car run safely.
If any one of those malfunctions it could be disasterous.
Consider all the people from factories to computer manufacturers, digital programers, technicians, and managers that have had a hand in making your car work.
If we really think about the nuances that make life tick – our gratefulness expands from specifics to entire systems.
We don’t even have time to thank all of the people and things around the world – the network of systems that come together so we can be here now.
That’s not even covering the network of systems working in co-ordination within our body to keep us alive here.
Anyone who’s ever made it through a challenge or an accident may be able to relate.
Anyone in a near-accident or had the wind knocked out of them and got back – with a ‘whew, I can’t believe I’m still alive!’ may recognize this.
Actually we have such faith that we ignore the basics and simply expect them to work. But this is a fragile faith. We are shaken up with frustration when things don’t work – for us.
Then we search, read books, listen to teachers, preachers and gurus expounding the laws of religion and the universe to find some rituals that will help make life work – for us.
‘Life needs to work out for me, Damit!’ – That’s a tough one to shake.
Greater awareness comes when we realize life doesn’t revolve around me, or who I think I am, what I think I need, with this wad of wants, goals, and desires.
The Miracle is Life Itself.
If we can really feel that life itself is miraculous, than we are naturally grateful for every moment – not for any thing, reason, or specifics, not because we got something or achieved something.
We are simply thankful for being alive.
That kind of gratitude has its own expression, doesn’t require any occasion, excuse, or any pomp and circumstance.
That core gratitude comes through a quiet knowing.
After all, the sunset belongs to no one – and yet at the same time is deeply personal.
From a place of core gratitude for life itself, our day to day living, our actions, and relationships take on a whole new light.
– Jeff Singh –
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