Tag Archives: gratefulness

Gratitude

Reposted from my discontinued Ponder blog:

Most spiritual traditions tell us that being grateful for our lives and what we have in them is a necessary component of a full life. If we believe that God needs our praise, then I can see that expressing thanks to Him in our prayers would make sense. But I have had more trouble understanding the “why” of gratitude since I don’t believe God needs us to tell Him how wonderful He is. (Jesus says this in A Course in Miracles.)

Of course, I can understand that we need gratitude. It opens our heart. And, not incidentally, it makes us just feel good. Writing about the Law of Attraction, particularly Rhonda Byrne’s The Magic, says that without gratitude our wishes for a more abundant life will fall on deaf ears in the universe. But is not a rote recall of things we are grateful for just seem to be manipulation of ultimate reality?

Our heart needs to be in the right place when we are expressing thanks for the blessings of our life. We need not to be manipulative, we need not to say “thanks” just because it does feel good.

There is a higher reason for gratitude.

I know that I appreciate my life, and that is a good start. Gratitude does warms our heart, and maybe that is reason enough to be diligent in feeling and expressing gratitude for our lives.

Gratitude does keep us in the right pathway back to God. Separation healed, we are on our way.

Those Who Will Be Visited by Great Change Are Those Who Desire It

RenoirDanceatBougival“As you begin to dwell in the house of truth and see with the eyes of love, you will see far less about the life you lead that you would change than you would imagine. You fear where all your new ideas might take you, and for some great changes may surely await, but those who will be visited by great change are but those who desire it. (Treatises of A Course of Love: Treatise on the Personal Self, 14.5)”

Affirmation: “I will contemplate whether or not I want great change.”

Reflections:

1 – Personal Experience

I know first hand the truth of this passage. I recognize that at this moment I do not wish for great change in my life. There is some struggle, but largely my life is going well (contrary to some periods in the past), and perhaps this passage means that ought to credit my study of A Course of Love with this general good in my life. We do create what we dwell upon, and when we have dwelled upon the good message of ACOL, we are less likely to want great change.

2 – Solution Is Always with the Problem

For those of you who are going through a rough patch of time, yes, of course, choose anew for change. It is very likely that this change for the better will ensue quickly, for the solution is always with the problem, and when we ask for the solution, it presents itself. It is important to note that great change will not be thrust upon us if we are unwilling to experience great change. We will “desire it” and see the change come to pass. We have nothing to fear, for we are perfectly safe.

3 – Gratefulness

The best way to ensure good times as a continuation into the future is to be grateful for what we already have (an interpretation, not emphasized in either A Course in Miracles or ACOL). The function of gratitude is to get us ready for even better things in the future. Even if the present seems dire, we do indeed have many things for which to be grateful, even though our eyes may be blind to those things. Talk to someone who has a fresh eye, who can see the advantages that you do actually enjoy. This is a better pathway than cursing what seems to be darkness.

4 – Change May Come Gradually

Change will come to all of us, but an implication of today’s passage is that the change will not come overwhelmingly or in great quantity if we are living a life that we like. We have become ready to accept what we have.

5 – Acceptance

Accepting what we have is the first step toward increased blessings. And gratitude for what we have is the means. Again, this is an interpretation, and it is based on the law of attraction.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I am intensely grateful today for what I have. It is easy, of course, to be grateful when things are going well. But some individuals develop great faith when things are going badly. And they have learned through pain to do so.

Jesus says that it is not necessary to learn through pain, that learning through rewards is lasting, and learning through pain is not. Let us seek today to learn through rewards. And may those rewards gradually lead us to the changes in our lives that we wish.

If we see much wrong with our lives, let us move forthrightly to change. May we welcome this change, never fearing it. Fear is of the ego, of course, and we are leaving the ego behind—indeed, we have done so, though lapses may still occur. Evolution is not a straight line.

May all of us have a good day. May we rest in the contentment that allows us to be truly productive, but without strain or struggle. We do not have to struggle to be good; we merely have to rest in Your promises. You will take us home, and You will reach down and lift us up to Awakening when the time is right. I rest in that promise today. Thank You.

Amen.

Bitterness Retains Cycle of Suffering

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“Bitterness is the cause of this inability to make a new choice and what keeps the cycle of suffering in motion. (Treatises of A Course of Love: Treatise on the Personal Self, 8.7)”

Affirmation: “I would leave bitterness behind today.”

Reflections:

1 – Self-Pity

Here Jesus takes up bitterness again. We are filled with self-pity when we are bitter (personal interpretation, not found in ACIM or ACOL). May we leave self-pity with its attendant bitterness behind today. May we fail to get discouraged with our lot in life. After all, we chose it, and we can choose again; indeed, we must choose again.

2 – Comparisons

When we feel bitter, we set ourselves up for disappointment in our daily lives. We think that others have it better than ourselves. While this may appear to be true, we cannot really know the state of someone external to ourselves. They may appear to have everything we have dreamed about, but how much pain and suffering really are held within?

3 – Physical Beauty

Physical beauty is often seen to be a way to give us what we want. And we think that those who have more beauty are happier than are we. Studies have found, though, that those with more physical attractiveness may actually suffer from low self-esteem, more so than more average-looking individuals. We don’t know what another experiences, even when we think that we know them well. So let us not guess that there is a reason for our bitterness, when actually our bitter feelings just may be partaking of the universal insanity in which we are caught.

4 – Blessings

Leave bitterness behind today. Blessings are easily counted when we give it half a try. And let us give counting blessings a full try today.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would just enjoy my lot in life today, not comparing myself to anyone at all, and certainly not deciding that another has it better than I. I would leave any bitterness behind today, for bitterness would keep me from You. It would say that maybe You blessed another more than I, and You give equally from Your storehouse—different blessings, but all are meant to share equally, though some blessings are easier to recognize than others.

I would move forward toward You today. And this means that I am comfortable with the blessings that You have given me. I don’t always have to beseeth You to give me “more.” I can rest content. And I will do so today.

If I constantly wail for more, I am not grateful for what You have given. You will give more, as I am ready to receive. And gratefulness for the present is a prerequisite for more in the future. That is Your way.

Amen.

It Is Well to Start the Day Right

“Broadly speaking. . .it can be said that it is well to start the day right.  It is always possible to begin again, should the day begin with error.  Yet there are obvious advantages in terms of saving time.  (M-16.2)”

Affirmation:  “I start the day aright today.”

Reflections:

1 – Before Arising

While our heads are still on the pillow, we ought to have a word with God.  We need to dedicate the upcoming day to His purposes.  And we need the strength and gentleness that turning to Him will bring without fail.  Then as we get up, may we say a word of two of gratefulness for the lives that we have.  (This is a recommendation from Rhonda Byrne’s books).  The fact that we start the day aright does, as Jesus says, save time; and ACIM notes that, at least in the beginning of our study, we ought to think about saving time.  This world has worn on wearily for eons, and if we believe nothing else from ACIM, perhaps we ought to realize that we too think that there has been enough suffering.  Let us do nothing that will bring on more suffering.  May we choose to offer joy to ourselves (we do have this as an option), and our brothers and sisters.

2 – Start the Day Again

If we do not begin the day aright, or if we try and fail, then Jesus offers us a way out:  We can choose to start the day again.  And this can happen as often as we fail in our thoughts, words, and actions throughout the day.  He will be there to help us.  And the Holy Spirit will offer the guidance that we so desperately need in living our lives.  He knows all circumstances–past, present, and future–that impinge on any decision, and He will never lead us wrong.  Perhaps we mistake His Words, but that is a different issue.  If discerned correctly, His Words are always on the beam.

3 – Begin Again

So:  Let us resolve today to begin again whenever necessary, but, optimally, let’s get the day started right from the very beginning.  And we will then know the blessing of a good day, optimally lived.  We will surely save some time in that thousand years that we are promised in ACIM we will save for ourselves, and our brothers and sisters.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

Thank You for the reassurance that even when things get started badly on any day, there is a solution.  Jesus offers it:  Just start over.  Thank You for this insight from my elder brother.

Be with me throughout the day today.  Even as I write, I sometimes need to reread what I have written, for You speak to me and correct what I have said.  I may be misinterpreting about this, but I do believe that You guide me.  I do not always know when, and I can make mistakes about guidance.

Help me to have a good day.  Help me to be good to those who are struggling through the day.  They won’t tell me that they are having a bad time of it, but I will recognize in the ways that I am spoken to.  Be with me to offer compassion.

Amen.