In an earlier post, Spread Peace and Happiness, Smile, we talked about how exuding happiness benefits everyone around us. Keeping a positive attitude so we can radiate happiness requires us to strive for an attitude of gratitude. To be compassionate, we should practice being thankful. The old saying, “No man is an island” is completely true. We are all interconnected in a web that is so complex that we can’t fathom all the ways we are truly linked. Everything that comes our way is the result of either those that came before us, or those who currently contribute to the things we receive. All that we enjoy on a regular basis would not be possible but for the work of other people and the raw materials that come from the world around us. From our morning coffee to the sheets on the bed we fall asleep in, our comforts would not occur but for the goodness of the earth and the labor of its inhabitants. Taking a moment to reflect and acknowledge this fact, can go a long way toward having a grateful outlook in life. Here is a simple mantra to guide us in being thankful:
Breathing in, I observe all is connected. Breathing out, I smile with thanks. I clearly see all there is to be grateful for in life. I acknowledge the blessings I have received in my life with gratitude.
When things seem bleak, or you are facing difficult or challenging circumstances, looking at all you have to be grateful for can help bring you to the happy state of being at peace. You may even be able to look at your difficulties, and realize that challenges are gifts, too. Challenges permit you to test yourself and your resolve. Rising up to meet a challenge helps to develop our character in a manner that smooth sailing does not. I think it goes back to Thich Nhat Hanh’s analogy about the mud and the lotus. The mud, the suffering, makes it possible for the lotus flower to bloom. Therefore, we should be thankful for our suffering, our challenges, our difficulties. We should look at these as blessings, for without them, it would not be possible for us to reach a higher state where we develop understanding, love, and compassion.
Please count your blessings, be thankful, and let the flower of understanding, love and compassion flow from you to the world that has given you so much to appreciate.