I was born on Thanksgiving Day — my mother, it would seem, wanted me to be a grateful person. One day, when I was about four years old, she sat on my bed, leaned over to me and said, ‘Son, you must always count your blessings because those who count their blessings and are grateful for their life, receive more to be grateful for.’ I never forgot her inspiring words. Those morsels of wisdom have governed my life ever since.
I have been blessed to have had the opportunity to travel extensively for many years, and, during my travels, I have asked people from all around the world, ‘If you had only twenty-four hours to live, what would you do?’ And consistently, everyone said, ‘If I had only twenty-four hours to live, I would say ‘thank you’ and ‘I love you’ to those who have most contributed to my life.’ I also asked people, ‘How would you prefer to be loved and appreciated?’ And all of them, regardless of colour, creed, age, gender, or faith, want to be loved and appreciated for who they actually and authentically are, for their whole true self.
True and deep gratitude, which brings tears of inspiration to our eyes, arises only when we truly awaken to and acknowledge the hidden order and perfect balance residing in our lives and in the entire universe, when both support and challenge and all other complementary opposites are recognised as occurring simultaneously. This is the moment true gratitude spontaneously emerges from within our hearts, and it is the moment we access our most powerful source of love.
The universe is infinite, but because of our limited awareness, we can only perceive this tiny domain we call reality. That which is beyond it is always a mystery. That which is within it is already history.
Now we have a mystery and a history on our hands — an approximation of the infinite and the realisation of the finite. But since we always have something that is unavailable to our immediate sensory awareness, we have this drive for the unknown.
I’ve never seen anyone who gets up in the morning and says, ‘I want to be less spiritually aware, or have less of a mind, and be totally unfulfilled in my career. I want to have less money than I had yesterday, and I want to be able to reduce the number of people in my family. I want to have fewer friends and less physical vitality.’
We have a yearning, a calling, a vision, and a message inside us to expand ourselves towards the infinite.
When we put people on pedestals, they occupy time and space in our mind. If we only see the positive, we are attracted to it, and it runs our life. If we are infatuated with someone, we want to sacrifice ourselves for that person. We minimise our own values and inject his/her values into our life. We want to change ourselves to be more like this person. Precisely at that moment, we become ungrateful for who we are. People we put on pedestals lead us to ingratitude for our own existence. And, because we perceive them having something we don’t, we disown parts of ourselves. Believe me, they don’t have something we don’t. They just have it in a different form. And if we minimise ourselves and want to change ourselves into them, we’ll be living someone else’s life. We’ll be living with shoulds and ought to’s, got to’s, have to’s, and supposed to’s, and all those imperatives of someone else’s making. At the same time, if we get self-righteous or cocky, puffed up and inflated, we impose our imperatives on others and want to change them to be more like us. That’s the moment we become ungrateful for them. Every time we exaggerate or minimise others, we automatically bring a state of ingratitude into our life. We want to be like someone else, or we want others to be like us, but how many of us just want to be loved and appreciated for who we are?
When we love people for who they are, they turn into the ones we love. But as long as we have an imbalanced perspective we spend an awful lot of energy building pedestals and digging pits. The funny thing is that we are absolutely sure our judgment is right. This is where human will defies divine will.
In a state of ingratitude, we want to judge ourselves and others. But if we humble ourselves to the infinite potential that lies within us, we will realise that nothing is missing. It’s just in the form that we have yet to recognise. Once we do, we see that the void was just an illusion, and the value we are seeking is already there in its full potential.
We see that everything is in order, and we enter into the world of the S.O.U.L., the Spirit Of Unconditional Love. In this state, there is no judgment, just an embrace of the divine magnificence in others, as well as non-denial of divinity in ourselves. In that moment, our unconditional love and our gratitude are overwhelming, and we are able to see what is, instead of projecting what isn’t, and we are able to honour the presence of the previously hidden divine order.
Gratitude can be a guiding light in your spiritual quest, it can affect your mind, your career, and your finances.