Gratitude is closely connected to acceptance of life. When you give thanks for the food on your dinner plate, or the work that gives you the funding to pay for rent, gratitude is felt strongly. It's easy to feel grateful when you feel good about your lives.
When times get tough, and you lose that job that feeds your family, where is your gratitude then? In these times, I've noticed that people tend to narrow their focus to the few good things that are left, as if the mind still clings to the habit of looking only at what is pleasant and feels good.
How about when you go through the dark night of the soul? I've had the opportunity to meet with those who have literally lost everything----their marriage, their jobs, their reputations, and their health. The list goes on and on. It's through them that I learned the real meaning of gratitude.
Focus Beyond the Positive
It is within this empty period that they see that what they did have were things they could live without. The prestige that they had in their former careers became moot in the face of stark nothingness. Your attachment to cars, money, nice clothes, so called friends----all optional. What is left are priceless things, like their lives, their families, their minds and most importantly, their power to build again.
Most importantly, you see yourself for who you really are, with all your beauty, strength and flaws. You may realize that except for the small, precious kernel of one's own souls, everything else is temporary. Realizing that, accepting it and embracing this truth is at the heart of true gratitude and with it, unshakable hope and real power.
True Suffering Leads to True Thankfulness
In addition to its practical and emotional value, the true power of being grateful goes beyond feeling good about what you have. It's lies in the spiritual realms where real things can happen.
Gratitude has a Multi-Dimensional Function
The true power of gratitude comes from the energetic potential that it brings. When you adopt a constant state of non-resistance of what is, you are opening doors for you in the physical world. This is because gratitude goes hand in hand with neutrality and elevated state of consciousness, which would increase the potential for positive events to manifest. In other words, the more good things can show up in your life because you are allowing positive energy to enter your material existence.
I encourage those who are facing their own personal abyss to not be afraid to look at the dark. Adopt the heart and mind of a sage, and see the gift within the suffering.