If you look closely, you will see that there are dual sides to everything in life, including gratitude. Just as fire can burn or heat, gratitude can cure or curse. Understanding the truth about gratitude just might change the way you think, feel or pray.
Many years ago, while walking along the cold, winter streets of Manhattan, I recall looking at the homeless, living in their cardboard box homes. The hardships that I witnessed made me feel grateful for the small problems I had in comparison. I probably learned this strategy as a child; when I refused to eat dinner, my mom would remind me of the starving children in Africa, and she would tell me that I should be grateful for the food I had because others weren’t as lucky. You might say that I was guilted into gratitude.
Looking back now, with greater insight, I can clearly see that I used the misfortune of others as leverage, in order to feel grateful for my life, and, in this way, I was unknowingly responsible for contributing to their circumstances. By judging, and then using that judgment to feel better about my life, I was actually cursing these same people.
Just as we bless someone when we see them through the eyes of love, we curse them when we see them through the eyes of fear – energetically contributing to their hardships: “Oh, you have it so bad, you poor thing. That makes me so grateful for what I have, and you don’t.”
This is Convoluted Gratitude
Convoluted Gratitude is not gratitude at all. It is judgment disguising itself as something positive, and it actually holds the “undesirable” situation in place. When you judge someone else’s misfortune, so you can feel grateful, it is gratitude at their expense. Can you look deep and see what it energetically does to them — and to you?
There is also another kind of Convoluted Gratitude. It is when you imagine a worse time for yourself, and, by comparison, you feel grateful for your current circumstances. “I’m so grateful this isn’t worse.” “I’m grateful to live in this house I don’t really like, because it is better than nothing.” “I’m grateful for this job I can’t stand, because it is better than being unemployed”.
When you imagine a worse version of reality for yourself, so you can feel better about the current one, this is Convoluted Gratitude by default.
Convoluted Gratitude is a fear-based mind game, based on leverage, judgment and comparison. “That is bad so it makes this better.” If the real essence of gratitude is love, and you are experiencing the world, yourself or others through the fear of judgment, you cannot be in gratitude.
It is true that our life experiences often bring us to an understanding of our preferences and when our preferences are attained, gratitude is a natural result, but, if we depend on contrast in order to experience gratitude, we hold ourselves in a diabolical loop of needing the undesirable in order to feel grateful for the desirable.
I’m not saying that you should give up your preferences – that’s not the point. The point is that you don’t need the attainment of anything in order to feel grateful. You can be grateful right now – without convoluted conditions attached to gratitude. This is Unconditional Gratitude.
Unconditional Gratitude is not a mind game, but rather a full heart experience, manifested as a field of love that expands well beyond the physical mind and body.
Unconditional Gratitude is the natural result of opening your heart and allowing the presence of “what is.” From the humble state of allowance, there is a sense of merging with the divine beauty in everyone and everything. Unconditional Gratitude happens in this moment through True Presence. This means dropping all your stories about how you, or your life, should be or could be.
Be Careful What You’re Grateful For
The breath is enough to induce gratitude. The ability to see, hear and feel is enough to invoke gratitude. Loving another is all the fuel you need to experience gratitude. The sun, the stars, the moon – the perfection in which life cares for us and heals us. Every moment of your life has offered you abundant gifts containing the seeds for gratitude.
Instead of using starving children in Africa to remind you to appreciate your food, see all children of the world fed and happy. Be Grateful.
Instead of needing someone worse off so you can feel better about your current circumstance, see everyone in their highest good right now. Be Grateful.
Instead of using your mis-fortuned past-self as leverage to feel gratitude now, see your past self as the courageous catalyst who led the way to your current life. Be Grateful.
This is the shift from fear to love.
Unconditional Gratitude happens authentically in this moment.
It needs no leverage, judgment or comparison.
It is the natural result of pure awareness – through an open heart.
This is the true Grace of Gratitude.
Invocation for Unconditional Gratitude
Today may I drop my stories of good and bad long enough to see the divine harmony and beauty of what is.
May I give less control to my mind, and more power to my heart which can see past contrast.
May I embrace love and compassion for all, and imagine only the highest good for myself and for the world.
May my gratitude overflow so that others can be reminded of unconditional gratitude, and that love is always a choice.
May I be blessed by the Grace of Gratitude, and may I provide blessings wherever I go.
So Be It.
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In grace & gratitude,