3 Ways to be Thankful
In this week of Thanksgiving how do we best fill up on thankfulness and let that fullness spill out into our lives? Also, how can we avoid ingratitude - that dark cloud that can linger in our mind?
Like all good things in this ever challenging material world, gratitude is a muscle that needs daily stretching, lest we easily slip into lamentation, bitterness, and distress. It’s all about consciousness and mind work. The mind is like a massive mountain of resistance, stoking up the false ego, and playing the devil’s advocate fixated on hankering and lamenting. Thankfully, thankfulness is one of the best ways to curb the mad mind; it enables us to live with satisfaction and gratitude. Here are a few ideas to help on that path:
1. Chant our mantras with attention - We begin at the beginning of the day. The maha- mantra is a good early morning chant, a greeting to the soul. It is such a gift. A beam of sunshine well before the sun is up, and the best way to express our thanks is to listen well. Just hear the mantra, Prabhupada said many times. That’s all. By hearing, we are not only loving and respecting the mantra, but we are also giving it the best chance to act on us, to clean our interior cobwebs and fill us with energy for life. Listening to the presence of the mantra in our voice is the same as directly associating with Krishna. Listening is an act of gratitude.
2. Be mindful of Krishna - As we move throughout the day our mind is pulled here, there, and everywhere. Sometimes we face a challenge or difficulty, sometimes we seek a break or some relief. Wherever we are, and whatever we are doing, if we take a moment we can experience Krishna there. Sometimes it’s obvious, sometimes we have to dig a little deeper to find Him. Each one of us lives in the triangle of ‘Krishna, the world, and me’. There is the reality of our current embodiment as well as our spiritual essence beyond that. Krishna is the link to both and being conscious of His presence is an expression of gratitude.
3. Know Krishna cares - As we come to the end of a rough day there may be many reasons to question Krishna’s care for us. But it is a fact. Krishna does care and He expresses that in many ways, including giving us our free will to serve Him - or not. He cared for Arjuna by first listening and then instructing him. He comes in His various incarnations to rescue His devotees. He is present in each and every beating heart. When we feel cared for by Krishna we feel valued and worthy. We don’t feel lonely, even if we are by ourselves. When we feel His care we can more easily and genuinely care for others and value them. This means all others - humans, animals, the sacred earth herself, and universes beyond. Feeling cared for and expressing our care is an act of gratitude. Do it now and do it often.