At its core, gratitude is not a mental or intellectual response or necessarily a verbal communication. Instead, being thankful is the internal experience of fullness, an opening of the heart, and an expansion within us that spontaneously springs forth from the awareness of grace, love, and goodness.
The challenge to the egoic mind is that such gratitude is contingent upon what we perceive as good and evil in our life. Essentially gratitude is only possible if we view something as good. Anything considered negative or harmful would not be an occasion for gratitude but rather a case for complaints and self-pity.
But when we awaken to the sacred Presence, awareness that is deeper than thought, and based on the tree of life (forgiveness, healing, peace, joy, unconditional love, grace, and the like), our view shifts away from a world that based on the fallacy of good versus evil. When something adverse occurs, its value does not need to be measured in terms of right and wrong.
We don’t deny the adverse circumstance, but the need to discern its worth as either good or bad is not helpful. When we decide that something is wrong, we pull away from the flow of grace and joy, leading to self-pity and complaining.
So for our own wellbeing, our focus must shift from a need to establish blame, assess fault, and ascribe right from wrong to getting in touch with that dimension within that Jesus referred to as the kingdom of God (or heaven). In that place, gratitude springs forth freely and spontaneously, even amid evil.
Adapted from Beyond Limits by David Youngren
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