Be eternally grateful for what you have.
Someone I met yesterday asked me this question: “What is the simplest way to be in peace?”
And the simplest answer is this: be eternally grateful for what you have.
But an elaborate answer requires that we examine why we are not able to practice gratitude daily, consistently. The fundamental problem is that our minds are not nurtured by us. We almost continuously keep hurting ourselves by thinking negative thoughts, by pining for what isn’t there, by worrying. We are all badly bruised, battered in fact, within us. When you are injured within, you must first heal yourself for you to see the value in being grateful.
See, it is like this. When we injure ourselves physically, say with a nick while shaving or a cut while chopping vegetables, the body heals itself. If there is a deeper injury, with some care, we are back on the road. The truth is when the body is affected, it receives attention. The truth also is we injure our minds all the time but we don’t give it the care it needs to heal. Every angry thought, every remorseful thought, in fact every thought that is not centered around love, peace and gratitude, is injurious. Now, ask yourself, how many such thoughts on love, peace and gratitude, do you think out of the 60,000 thoughts that occur to you each day? Unlikely that we even think loving, peaceful, grateful thoughts for weeks on end!! Consider therefore how battered the mind must be and how much healing needs to happen for it to be ‘normal’ again. Unless we heal from within we cannot feel grateful.
‘Mouna’, the practice of silence periods daily, is the best way to heal our minds, to help it anchor in faith and patience. The 13th Century Persian poet Rumi couldn’t have said it better: “In silence there is eloquence. Stop weaving and see how the pattern improves.”
Stop weaving here means to stop worrying, to stop wanting to control your Life, to stop the continuous chatter in your head; it means to pause and reflect. When you are this way, you can only be grateful, you can only be peaceful. So, to be peaceful, stop battering your mind; heal it by anchoring in silence, love and gratitude!
When you are soaked in gratitude and love the Life you have, its beauty and fragrance are magical.
I turn 50 today.
In the normal course I would have been still been drunk – hung over – on alcohol from the previous night’s binge! But today I am drunk on the love that is pouring in from all around. I feel awed, humbled and grateful – all at the same time.
Way back in 2004, when we had met a Siddha yogi, on the advice of one of our friends, the yogi had told me, “AVIS, your Life will completely change after you turn 40!” I was 37 then. On my 40th birthday, in 2007, when Vaani’s sister and her husband from Phoenix, Arizona, had called to wish me, I remember telling them both this: “Oh! This is one birthday that I have so eagerly looked forward to.” I was thinking then, keeping the yogi’s remark – which I considered to be a prophecy – in mind, that post-40 we would get all the money that we so badly needed through some quirk of destiny and we would be able to bounce back from our “tight” (back then) financial situation. But nothing of what I thought of and wished for has really happened. In fact, within a couple of months of me turning 40, on December 31, 2007, we realized that we were bankrupt. We were left with no money, no work, and we owed Rs.5 crore, US $ 1 million then, to 179 people. (Read more here: Fall Like A Rose Petal)
A decade on, we continue to be bankrupt. We still owe the 179 people the money we owed them then – Rs.5 crore! So, just reviewing the Siddha yogi’s remark may lead to the conclusion that my Life and Vaani’s has changed for the worse in the last 10 years, ever since I turned 40. But on a spiritual plane, at an evolutionary level, nothing’s the same about my Life. The Siddha yogi was indeed right. My Life has changed dramatically in the past decade.
I have learnt, in this time, the art of being non-worrying, non-frustrated and non-suffering. This essentially means that I have learnt to be happy despite our excruciating circumstances. I have recognized the value in being calm and stoic, and to trust the process of Life. This means, I cherish and practice faith and patience. I have learnt to live my Life meaningfully – choosing always to also be useful than just trying to only be successful. This means living Life with a Higher Purpose – Inspiring Happiness among all those who care to pause and reflect. I have learnt that there is no destination that you must strive to arrive at in Life – and that the journey is the reward. I have learnt to rise in love. This means Vaani and my companionship has thrived through this tumultuous decade only because we continue to be loving, in the present, continuous, sense. This has meant also that our children have seen our friendship evolve, grow and glow. So, they too now value companionship over a mere relationship. I have also learnt that everything happens for a reason and everyone’s a teacher. So, I don’t complain about anyone or anything anymore. I may have an opinion, a point of view on what people say or do, or on whatever happens to me, but I don’t resist anything, I don’t ask why or why me – and therefore I don’t suffer. And yes, I have learnt to say ‘thank you, thank you, thank you’ to Life for all that I have – I recognize that being eternally grateful is an incredible way to be soaked in peace!
These learnings make me feel so special, so blessed. I feel my Life, despite its attendant practical and physical challenges, is very liberating. It is filled with abundance and happiness. I am sure others my age – and older – feel this way too. But this is the first time I am turning 50! So please bear with my sharing these thoughts today. For this is what I am experiencing at this stage in Life, at my Point 50!!!
Life’s beautiful – as it is! And I am lovin’ each moment!