I realized that we never really addressed the issue of gratitude, of what it is deeply. How do you feel about it?
It’s love, at least it’s like that for me every time I feel gratitude, it always comes with the feeling of love, it’s an infinite thanks that comes from the heart for all the good things that happen to us. For me right now the fact that I can lose my body and mind suddenly, that I can die at any moment, it has led to so many effective realizations, it is an invaluable gift that I receive, and I thank each and every day for this grace. So gratitude in me goes with consciousness, without consciousness how can I appreciate the gift I receive?
The more I am conscious, the more I feel gratitude; when I know in my heart that my limited intelligence, my weak will, my derisory merit are only pale reflections of creative consciousness, then I let go, I let go of the rags that hide my misery and I say thank you, thank you, thank you to infinity! And I take this opportunity to express the gratitude I feel for our teacher, for all of you in the group, each of you and individually, the gratitude I feel for all the instructors who have been leading the way for thousands of years and without whom nothing would be possible, and the Life that contains us all and everything, beyond space and time.
The feeling that EVERYTHING is given to us. Our incarnation is a grace. Every breath can be gratitude. Each one inspires to become aware of it, each exhales to give thanks.
In the background and in an almost erased way, I also perceive my smallness and helplessness, and at the same time my total integration into this permanent miracle from which I benefit every second and in which I participate. It is in humility that the awareness of this miracle, gratitude, love and recognition (in every sense of the word) unfolds.
When I am in gratitude, I am in humility, in serenity, in peace, in fullness.
I am in unity, in love, in human dignity.
I feel touched, blessed.
I feel united to Life, I feel united to God.
When I am in gratitude, I give thanks to Life.
I thank you for the blessings, favors and divine graces granted to me, whatever they may be, whatever their trials, without judgment.
By living Gratitude, the divine value of being is expressed in complete freedom, blossoms, and unites with everything around it, with the Whole.
By living Gratitude, I contemplate the Perfection and Intelligence of Life.
By living Gratitude, I Live!
I feel gratitude as the awareness of the recognition of who I am and what is.
I have observed for some time that gratitude is expressed through me first physically and spontaneously: a warm opening in the region of the heart that extends into all the cells of my body and beyond, until the feeling that it fills all the space, and that all the space fills me. Yes, like a breath. A Thank You which often arises without any particular reason and which can also be associated with an event, a being, a situation, not necessarily joyful or positive.
I most often feel Gratitude as a Thank You without a cause, a Thank You for being, and for being conscious of being.
It seems to me like the natural state of a human being.
In silence, the answer came from the heart: gratitude is the heart that expands to endless sweetness; and with words, it is a thank you to all.
I find the theme of gratitude extremely interesting and subtle.
There are two key points in my exploration:
1) What is the nature of gratitude?
2) What is its specificity in relation to other aspects such as joy, compassion, peace, sense of unity…
On the first point, it seems to me that I can distinguish several graduations of gratitude, from gratitude with an identified cause to a very vast, pointless gratitude that passes through me without apparent cause, this gratitude towards life that many have testified to. It seems to me that the “little” thanks with causes are reflections of great gratitude without cause, just as a “special” love is a reflection of an unconditional love for the great whole. I perceive love, as well as gratitude, as a door between the individual and the infinite, a bridge between the “I am” and the great whole. Another way of expressing it would be for them to appear to me as expressions of the essential value, or essence.
But because it is an “individual” feeling, it can very quickly be recovered by the false personality. The ego can easily be identified with this feeling of love, gratitude or any other aspect (joy, serenity…). It can become “I am a beautiful person, because my heart is open, because I feel gratitude and universal love,” when in reality, I am just going through something that is beyond me, that does not belong to me and that I can neither provoke nor maintain. Just enjoy it when it passes!
It seems to me that the key here is to verify that at the moment when we feel gratitude, we remain in non-separation.
With regard to the second point, just as we can distinguish many identity mechanisms, we can distinguish many aspects of essence or many expressions of the essential value. I fully recognize myself in the formalization of Almaas, which I quote here: “In other words, not only is the Essence the pure and authentic presence of our being, the ontological being of our soul, but this presence manifests itself in and through various experiential qualities that are clearly perceptible. Then the Essence also presents itself as the sweetness of love, for example, or the warmth of compassion, or the fire of strength, or the solidity of will, or the silence of peace – according to the needs of the particular situation.”
What I think is important here is to distinguish between a quality of essence and an emotional state. Essence quality can have no cause, and it is not lived in comparison or duality. I can oppose joy and sadness as an emotional state. On the other hand, there is a joy without object such as a gratitude that comes from nowhere, which is the emanation of this quality of essence.
I must say that for me, sometimes the border is fine, and I continue to explore the distinction between emotional state and essence quality.
For me, gratitude is an aspect of the essence. Its specificity is in the feeling of the opening of the heart, associated with this welcoming movement, this movement to receive in the depths of one’s being. It is as if the infinite love of the universe was concentrated in my heart and then exploded.
In my case, it manifests as a gentle, emanating, radiant deployment.
It seems to me, trying to remember moments of gratitude, unconditional love, moments when I was touched by a form of beauty emanating from a moment, a show (…), that when it passes through me, I know unconsciously but precisely that it is not me, that it is not from me that it comes. There is almost a slight surprise in the background, again very sweet. I know that it is a gift, a temporary revelation of who “I am” and it is very often followed by a form of gratitude.
Gratitude “without” object refers to the essential, gratitude “with” object refers to the functional, to everyday life, to “legitimate duality”. I do not oppose them as I do not oppose the roots and the branches, they are complementary to make a tree.
I find it interesting that the Larousse dictionary proposes as synonyms for ingratitude: ignorance and oblivion.
Ignorance, self-forgetfulness in the essential. ignorance, forgetting one’s duty in duality.
For me gratitude comes from humility and the renunciation of desires. It is an openness and acceptance of what is in a corporeal and spiritual presence renewed from moment to moment.
It is to feel every moment without being disturbed by desires and with a kind of retreat between oneself and things, which, paradoxically, is 100% compatible with the functional aspect of life.
It is an availability to oneself and to others in the unfolding of life.
And to answer the question, I perceive gratitude as a space where everything is resolved in acceptance and fundamental recognition of who I am and what is.
And I would also tend to say that it is something that gives back to details, banalities and down-to-earth things, their obvious importance and beauty.
Gratitude is the feeling of being thankful, which appears when you receive a gift. I feel a generalized warmth and a great softness. I’ve noticed that some people cut themselves off from gratitude. I think it is because for some people, gratitude means debt. This perceived debt is often piggybacked with the idea of having to pay something back. That in turn means losing control. I noticed that such people can’t harmonize in a “common attention.” This shared attention often naturally arises when two (or more) people act in symbiosis to accomplish a goal. As I deepened this theme, I realized that symbiosis brings gratitude.
Gratitude is indeed felt in the deepest part of our being for the life that goes through us and animates us. It is in fact always there, with different forms of expression, modesty or exaltation, according to the movements of the events that life brings us to live, according to the context, but essentially always present beyond emotions. It is expressed in the strength of a Thank You to everything, for everything, with or without reason, Thank You for being in the breath of life that inhabits our deep solitude, and the recognition of a humility that unfolds and invades us when we surrender ourselves without limits to the acceptance of everything.
I recently felt a deep let go in the anesthesia room before entering the operating room. Just before falling asleep, I felt with surprise, on my cheek, a tear flowing silently, without fear or anxiety, and I tasted this breath of ultimate gratitude to life, and let it invade me in a total relaxation with only one word on my lips: thank you…
For me, gratitude is this dilation that happens, without apparent cause, without object, and I have nothing to say about it, it is beyond words. Today, I was in a heavy rainstorm, stuck in a hospital parking lot, soaked to the bones, and the gratitude was there, without any emotional effect, stable, light and solid at the same time, subtle, invisible… And it’s like a squared gratitude I feel tonight.
It is this “thank you” which is itself an immense gift, and which is answered in a loop, to infinity.
It is the unity of the universe that embraces itself with all its heart.
R., could you tell us a little more about these realizations that have occurred because of this proximity to death?
I have a greater sense of responsibility with existence and with myself, which means maximum vigilance, and simply to live the teaching with even greater seriousness. Finally nothing more than what you all do too, with just a “bonus/booster,” hence my strong feeling of gratitude for this invaluable gift, which I live as a grace. The consciousness of death helps to dissolve identifications, it helps to get rid of the superfluous. The psychological predispositions have not all disappeared, some still seem very resistant, but I do not identify with them when they appear.
Feeling this gratitude in it’s infinite immensity can only be a reminder to feel concerned in one’ s own commitment to serve it, giving it back thanks for what it animates in our actions, by living this reality that connects us. It is our responsibility to respond to this gratitude in order to make it alive in action, through careful attention to all that lives.