Learn to be eternally grateful even for what you don’t want or for what you didn’t expect from Life.
Someone recently suggested that Vaani and I practice a method to help us “invite” money in our Life. The method involved picturing someone that we hated and seeking their forgiveness, in our mind, for hating them. If we did that with a deep sense of humility and engagement with the process, we were told, we would immediately “receive” money from unprecedented quarters. We politely declined the suggestion. For a few simple reasons: Principally, we don’t hate anyone. Second, we have forgiven ourselves and everyone around us. Third, we remain in an eternal state of gratitude to whatever has happened, is happening and will happen to us. We have understood that to resist anything is futile. So we are always in acceptance of what is. If we don’t like something, we simply go to work on trying to change it. And if we can’t change it immediately, we learn to be patient with the process of Life.
Being eternally grateful to everyone and everything, we now realize, is the best principle in Life.
Zen practitioners advise using this “mantra” in all contexts: “Thank you for everything. I have no complaints whatsoever!” This may not appeal to most people instantaneously because when you are caught in the throes of your everyday challenges, the last thing on your mind is gratitude. And this Zen practice seems almost escapist – as if you are choosing to deny what is, to deny reality! Which is why, this state of gratitude and non-complaining takes time attaining. The human mind always craves for what is not there. And rarely appreciates what is there. Don’t you bemoan scarcity all the time, rarely celebrating the abundance in your Life? Years of living like this have conditioned you to miss the opportunity in gratitude and to be ever-complaining.
To be sure, non-complaining does not mean there is nothing to complain about; it means you have chosen to be grateful for what is and not to complain about what isn’t! To break free from this self-defeating, ever-complaining attitude, do a simple exercise. Make a list of all, absolutely ALL, the things that you are grateful for in Life. And make another list of what’s not there, what you miss, in your Life. Now, do a dispassionate assessment asking yourself: Do you really think what you don’t have outweighs what you have? What you will discover through this exercise is the power in the Zen practice we discussed above. You will appreciate that there is no other way to respond to Life than with gratitude. You will then conclude that the best way to live is to simply be thankful for everything that Life’s given you. And you too will stop complaining and start living!