Neeraj Kumar Pande
In the journey of life, each day manifests itself very differently from the other. While sometimes our circumstances may be favourable enough to help us meet our expectations, other times they may be extremely challenging as well. For most of us our circumstances are potential enough to determine our thought pattern and behaviour. This results from the complex internal- external interaction dynamics which take place around us.
Mind is a sheer sensory mechanism through which we interpret and develop responses to all external stimuli. In fact it is not what we face in the outside world which determines our emotional behaviour but how we choose to react to the situations does. The stress acquired through exposure to challenges of routine existence builds up and poses the biggest threat to our mental peace, happiness and spiritual growth. Internal satisfaction and peace are the ladders which enable us to attain spiritual growth at any stage in our lives. However, the most arduous thing is to keep our inner faith and positivity intact despite any challenge thrown up by life. Only then it becomes possible to contemplate spiritual development for ourselves. The simplest yet less practiced way of experiencing inner satisfaction and happiness is to lose ourselves in the bliss of the moment. The easiest recipe for replacing negative thoughts with positive ones is to learn to practice gratitude.
Gratitude is not just a moral sentiment or value but it is most importantly a coping mechanism in dealing with emotional turmoil. It emanates from inculcating a feeling of appreciation towards each and everything which we are blessed with. “When you are discontent, you always want more, more, more. Your desire can never be satisfied. But when you practice contentment, you can say to yourself, ‘Oh yes – I already have everything that I really need.’”These impactful words have been said by no other than the great Dalai Lama while explaining the importance of gratitude.
Seeing life as an opportunity for us to be as cheerful as possible and fulfill our responsibilities wholeheartedly enables us to understand the value of even the smallest assets we possess. It is then that we can develop thankfulness towards any divine power which we believe in. Being truly religious also requires us to actually respect all gifts of nature God has endowed us with. In fact many religions endorse that gratitude is an important discipline for spiritual healing. Being mindful of gratitude helps us overcome interpersonal stress, envy and animosity. We learn to be more realistic about our expectations from people around us as well. Instead of focusing on their limitations, we become thankful for whatever good deeds they have done for us.
While many things in life may not be in our hands, we can influence several aspects of our lives with the power of positive thinking and self- belief. It is a scientific fact that our perception and experiences are eventually determined by our thoughts.
Grudging and focusing on inadequacies builds a vicious cycle of negative energy. Not only it prevents us from striving towards betterment but also makes us unable to enjoy the pleasures which we presently have.
Through practising gratitude we let ourselves free from the cage of hatred and negativity. It enables us to attain ’emotional freedom’ which means the freedom to let ourselves feel according to the circumstances, without any influence of past or future and without the emotional baggage which we carry. The importance of emotional freedom technique has been extremely popular in psychiatric practices as well. It is in fact a form of counselling intervention which draws upon the concept of energy medicine. Here the entire purpose of psychological intervention is to create reassurance and positive feelings in patients for enabling their inner or spiritual healing. Keeping a gratitude journal and routinely thanking people around us are in fact some of the strategies recommended by psychologists to battle disappointments. In the words of Buddha, “Let us rise up and be thankful, for if we didn’t learn a lot today, at least we learned a little, and if we didn’t learn a little, at least we didn’t get sick, and if we got sick, at least we didn’t die; so, let us all be thankful.”
Inner peace and unity are prerequisites for achieving spiritual awakening. These can be attained by feeling and practising gratitude in everyday life. Only then we can hope to create a life which is fulfilling and spiritually wholesome. Read more posts…