Our current goals:
- Widen the horizons of our vision
- Take direct approaches to uncover the blocks that keep our vision narrow
- Lift those blocks, however briefly, in order to experience the sense of liberation that comes when the blocks are removed
- Intensify our motivation for freedom
Two days ago we practiced right-gratitude for a day. Yesterday, we used right-awareness to increase our willingness to let go of attack. Today, we bring together right-gratitude and our willingness to let go of attack, so that gratitude can strengthen our determination to heal misperceptions and false beliefs.
We learned that right-gratitude is gratitude for awareness-life-presence as it is. That is the purest essence of gratitude and an aspect of truth. However, in this world where untruth reigns, truth has reflections, which are illusions, but they are illusions that point toward truth.
Right-reasoning is one example of an illusion that points toward truth. Forgiveness is another. A third illusion that points toward truth is an extension of right-gratitude. It is gratitude for everything that reminds you of your spiritual purpose and gratitude for every opportunity to practice your spiritual purpose. When right-gratitude is extended in this way, you can be grateful for every circumstance that arises, and that gratitude strengthens your spiritual resolve.
Let me provide an example. Let’s imagine that I hired a contractor to build a sunroom as an addition to my house. He required that I pay him 50% up front, and I did. He framed the sunroom and started the roofing work, but then he and his crew quit coming. I called him, but he didn’t return my calls.
This may feel like a very big situation to me. All kinds of thoughts may be swirling in my mind. I may feel anger and fear, and I might feel both stupid and like a victim at the same time. But then I pause. I remember what I truly want—freedom, awakening. I realize this situation is providing me with an opportunity to heal my mind, so I shift into gratitude. I let myself feel grateful for the gift of this situation, which is helping me to achieve my goal. After feeling genuine gratitude for this opportunity, I move into self-inquiry, I open up and rest with my feelings, or I engage in another spiritual practice that feels right for me in the moment.
Right-gratitude has strengthened my spiritual resolve and turned an opportunity to attack into an opportunity to heal.
Today’s lesson says, “Give thanks for all the countless channels which extend this Self.” And countless channels abound! If we are willing to use right-gratitude for every opportunity to heal our mind, healing is accelerated.
Today’s lesson also points out a mistake regarding gratitude. The mistake is expecting gratitude from others as you begin to transform through spiritual practice.
We may think that our friends, family and co-workers should notice as we become softer, gentler and kinder. We may want to hear some expression of gratitude from them for the change in us. However, often people don’t notice that we have given up attack for peace. After all, peace is quieter and easier not to notice.
If we expect gratitude or praise from others for becoming more peaceful, and it isn’t forthcoming, this could lead us to slip back into attack.
The lesson says, “Your gratitude is all your gifts require, that they be a lasting offering of a thankful heart, released from hell forever. … It does not matter if another thinks your gifts unworthy. … Withdraw the gifts you give, and you will think that what is given you has been withdrawn. But learn to let forgiveness take away the sins you think you see outside yourself, and you can never think the gifts of God are lent but for a little while…”
You don’t need the gratitude of others. It’s the ego that seeks gratitude from others, and so it is the ego that is strengthened by external gratitude. You need your own gratitude—gratitude for awareness-life-presence, gratitude for everything that reminds you of your spiritual purpose, and gratitude for opportunities to practice and heal. It’s your gratitude that opens your heart, strengthens your spiritual resolve and moves you toward awakening.