Now when you ask yourself what you have to be grateful for, it is usually relatively easy to make up a list, even when one is quite upset over life. But that’s different. That’s not really being grateful. That’s reminding yourself that there are things you should be grateful for, even though you’re not! Nevertheless, having a gratefulness practice as part of your day is not a bad thing, because it does remind one.
But how to achieve the spiritual state where one is naturally grateful? The key … surprise, surprise … is to be free of your ego-mind, to be fully present, to embrace all aspects of your being and experience. But as with many things, there are stages one experiences on this path.
My experience was that even though I was in a state of peace and happiness, nothing pushed my buttons, I did not get agitated by events, and so in that sense had made grate progress on being free of my ego-mind and ending my suffering, I was aware that I was not fully present. It’s not that my mind was somewhere else, thinking of something else, it’s just that I had what I’ve described as a gray cloud hanging over me. And so while I was aware of the beauty around me, for example, I was not present and I was not grateful.
It was only when I became aware that something I had experienced as a child had closed me off to the world, and embraced that fear (see my post, “Have You Ever Heard of Narcs?”), and so was open to being open and really experiencing everything that the present moment had to offer, that I found that I felt grateful naturally. I didn’t have to ask myself or think about what I was grateful for, I just was. And I took pleasure in each passing moment.
Now I have to be honest and say that I am not in this state of bliss 24/7, but I experience this state many moments during the day and am profoundly grateful for the smile and light I feel within myself during these moments. As always, walking the path is an incremental experience.