Why is gratitude necessary to manifest the things that we want in life?
Many of us find it exceedingly hard to practice gratitude – and rightfully so. When you have the smallest particle of dust in your eye, you cannot be grateful for your vision. Even the smallest irritation or sadness in life assumes gargantuan proportions. We cannot ‘fake’ gratitude. And those of us who have tried to express gratitude when we don’t feel it – we feel so phoney. It just doesn’t feel right. The question therefore becomes this : How can we be grateful to life when we are suffering, when we don’t have what we want?
We can begin by understanding values. What do we stand for? What are the most important things in our life? Let’s take a tangible example. Let’s say you are stuck in a job that you dislike. The office politics is toxic. There are no apparent opportunities to learn and grow in the role. It’s clearly eating you up from within. You come home tired and exhausted. You feel like running away. Surely, there are no possibilities to be grateful. Be grateful for what? What do we have in order to thank the universe or God for? Our frustration is compounded by the fact that all our friends and family seem to be having it good in their careers and life. Comparisons make this feeling worse.
This is where we need to dive deep within ourselves. This may sound like a clichè, but what this essentially means is that you begin to ask yourself, “What really matters to me in life?”. The best way to answer this is to imagine you are at the fag end of your life – say eighty or ninety. What would make you answer with certainty, “Yes I had a good life”. What are those things that you need to do, to experience and to contribute to be able to answer “Yes” to this question. The answers to this are unique to each one of us. And those are the ‘things most valuable to us’ or ‘values’ that we are.
The problem is that all of us have been indoctrinated by the society, by parents, by the schooling system, by our peer groups, by advertisements and pop culture. This is a huge challenge. We often don’t know what we want is really what is meaningful to us, or is it because everybody around me values it so much. Do I really want a corporate career in a glass and steel office? Or am I doing it just because everybody my age does it? Separating our innermost values (or calling) from the one’s inherited from society is challenging. But this is a journey of honest discovery that we must embark on. It will take time. We need to be patient and honest. But as we begin introspecting and going inward, we begin to come into touch with what really vibrates within us – our values. The word ‘vibrate’ has a physical truth to it. When we think about it – for instance a life lived in serving the poor – we feel a strong movement of warm energy in the chest and the stomach region. We know this is ‘right for me’. And this is truth. Truth is not heard or read or adopted. It is felt. It’s a visceral feeling in each one of us. This is unique to you and to me. My truth isn’t necessarily yours and vice versa.
So, when we sit down with ourselves and ask ‘What is that truly matters to me’, we begin this marvellous journey of getting to know ourselves. When we close our eyes and bring up the thought of those things that matter to me the most – for instance a loving family or a meaningful job as a doctor or a teacher – we are filled with that warm energy that feels right. This is gratitude.
Gratitude need not necessarily verbalize one’s feeling, “Dear lord I am grateful for this or that” – although that is also a valid part of feeling grateful. The deepest gratitude is in full silence and felt as a resonance of one’s inner soul. You just feel peaceful and joyful. You feel right.
This feeling of truth in one’s inner self can be practiced to both – things that you already have and things that are not yet in your life. For instance: let’s say you value living close to nature. But you live in the city. And you really know that this is what your life’s calling is. Then you close your eyes and imagine how this life lived amidst nature looks like. Imagine yourself walking through the woods, crossing brooks and listening to crickets as a part of your daily walks. Our imaginations are so vivid that we often feel the reality of that experience in the now. We are living it in our minds – right now. And this is often accompanied by a sense of love, peace and gratitude. Notice, that there is no ‘lack’ here – we do not feel sad that we do not have it now, nor do we feel jealous at somebody having it, nor frustrated that we were not born in such a place. If these thoughts are coming up, realize that you have slipped from the feeling dimension to the thinking dimension. Gently, compassionately, bring yourself back to your imagination, to what you treasure and value. And feel this.
This is how we can actualize the law of attraction through gratitude. Understand that gratitude is not something to be practiced. It is to be felt through knowing very clearly what we want and feeling that as a deep truth in our minds and bodies as we imagine it. In this state, even if the desire isn’t manifested, we do not feel disappointed or frustrated. In fact, this is simply not possible. The desire has to manifest. This is why we are here. We are unique thumbprints of the universe and our destinies are embedded in us as creative expression of our desires. It’s like asking a lizard not to be a lizard. That’s simply not possible. The lizard is ‘programmed’ to be a reptile. This is a crude example, yet, highlights an important fact. Our evolution is the universe’s’ evolution. And these callings embedded into us as values are a means of actualizing this motion towards evolution. The universe is creatively expressing itself through you and me. We need to align with this flow by aligning with our values.