I spent a lot of time during my childhood sitting in my room pouting. Decades later, during my personal therapy journey, I was able to move beyond much of the negativity and pain of those early years. It was in my therapy community that I first had a strong sense of belonging. I felt content and happy. One day, though, I heard a friend talking about feeling joy. Happiness versus joy….. hummm. That was something to contemplate. I felt happy, but I certainly did not feel joy.
When I met Amma (Mata Amritanandamayi), a humanitarian and spiritual leader from India in 1989, I started having experiences of joy. Often the joy was short lived, but it was always accompanied by a feeling of overflowing gratitude.
Through the years, Amma has taught me the importance of meeting each of life’s challenge with equanimity, being thankful for negative events as well as the positive ones. She said “We should understand that life gives us what we need and not necessarily what we want. It follows its own wisdom, which is often incomprehensible to our gross minds. We should learn to accept situations in life. This attitude of acceptance is the secret to happiness.”
I have come to realize that I daily make choices between living in gratitude or resentment, happiness or suffering, abundance or scarcity, in the present moment or in the past or the future, and in acceptance or resistance. My choices are made moment-to-moment as I decide where to focus my attention.
Learning to live in gratitude will certainly be a lifelong endeavor for me. I recognize there will be joy and there will be pain and I can learn from both. To the best of my ability, I will focus on my progress rather than my failures. I feel immensely grateful that there will be people throughout my life who will accompany me as I walk this journey of life.
Written for Dungeon Prompts: Season 2, Week 9- Gratitude