Wednesday, December 10, 2008
one of my 'favorite' sites to visit online is yogajournal.com. i have a tab opened their right now as a matter of fact. often times i search mouth-watering vegetarian recipes, other times i read up on poses i've learned in the yoga classes i take regularly throughout the week. this evening, however, my soul was in need of a good ol' potluck of enlightenment and illumination. i clicked on the wisdom tab and read the headlining article titled 'selfless gratitude.' it was the very thing my soul had a hankering for. below is a segment that left a sweet taste on the palate of my heart (note: this is just a segment. the entire article is 6 pages long. consider this your appeteaser)...
"Practicing mindfulness of gratitude consistently leads to a direct experience of being connected to life and the realization that there is a larger context in which your personal story is unfolding. Being relieved of the endless wants and worries of your life's drama, even temporarily, is liberating. Cultivating thankfulness for being part of life blossoms into a feeling of being blessed, not in the sense of winning the lottery, but in a more refined appreciation for the interdependent nature of life. It also elicits feelings of generosity, which create further joy. Gratitude can soften a heart that has become too guarded, and it builds the capacity for forgiveness, which creates the clarity of mind that is ideal for spiritual development.
Let me be clear: The practice of gratitude is not in any way a denial of life's difficulties. We live in troubling times, and no doubt you've experienced many challenges, uncertainties, and disappointments in your own life. Nor does the practice of gratitude deny the Buddha's teaching on death: Death is certain; your death is certain; the time of death is unknown; the time of your death is unknown. Rather, gratitude practice is useful because it turns the mind in such a way that it enables you to live into life or, more accurately, to die into life. Having access to the joy and wonderment of life is the antidote to feelings of scarcity and loss. It allows you to meet life's difficulties with an open heart. The understanding you gain from practicing gratitude frees you from being lost or identified with either the negative or the positive aspects of life, letting you simply meet life in each moment as it rises.
In the Bible the disciple Paul instructs, "In everything give thanks." What he means is that from your limited perspective it is not possible to know the outcome of any event. What can seem unfortunate at first may turn out to be an unforeseen blessing."
looking at life a little differently...and a lot more gratefully.