Gratitude is the innate experience of the soul
that touches the Divine
LIVING A SACRED LIFE: GRATITUDE
Julie of Light Omega
Our capacity to enter into sacred relationships depends in great measure upon our heart's awakening to a sufficient degree so that we feel grateful for all encounters with others who cross our path. Gratitude may be seen as a signpost of the heart's opening, and an indication that the self is no longer willing to act out of unconsciousness, indifference, or motives that are less than respectful of the sacred life of others.
All too often in the past, we have ignored the person before us, paying attention only to the roles they played or the purpose they served, never bothering to find out the human element, because we, too, were circumscribed by our own role definitions. This 'functional' way of relating is no longer possible within a sacred life, for such a life is one in which there are neither 'things' nor people who may be seen as 'things'. A sacred life requires of us that we become responsible for noticing what we are doing, for being conscious within our interactions with others, and for being as present as possible so that these interactions can be truthful and of service to ourselves and to another.
The sacred lives within every interaction. It is the medium within which the exchange of life between souls takes place. A sense of gratitude for what life permits in the way of sharing corresponds to an understanding that within each encounter lies the gift of truly meeting another who is part of us and part of God, and within each encounter lie opportunities for learning that are part of the great mystery of Creation. For both reasons, encounters with others, when seen as part of a sacred life, will always be met with gratitude.
Further, a sacred life prevents us from assuming that we are entitled to things just because we want or need them. Where love is wanted or needed, gratitude is the expression of a heart that is glad to receive it. Where honesty is what is needed, gratitude is the expression of the gladness to receive information or truth. Where simple recognition of our being a brother or sister soul is needed with reverence and respect for the Divine that lives within, gratitude exists when another shows up in a state of love or recognition.
Taking others for granted, by contrast, has the opposite effect. It allows us to diminish or not notice the value of what we are being given. It places little importance or no importance on our responsibility for being present and conscious as we engage in encounters with others. It allows life to remain centered around ourselves and our own needs and fears, rather than allowing life and others within our life to become fully real to us. The attitude which permits taking others for granted is a sign of spiritual immaturity, no matter what other developments may have taken place within the embodied self, for it maintains the supremacy and centrality of the needs and wants of the self over all others, including God. This is an attitude that can only be maintained when the heart has not opened fully to the power of its own love.
As a way of healing such tendencies, we can notice, for example, when, on any given day, we have felt and expressed gratitude, and when we have acted unconsciously or been neglectful of our own inner state or of the inner state of others. As a practice, we can pray to become more aware of the roots of self-centeredness within us which generally reside in fear and self-protection, and ask to experience an increase in both trust and love so that these roots can dry up.
When we are grateful for everything that comes to us in life, whether large or small, and are able to see each living being as filled with the same life of soul that we possess, we will no longer be able to live without gratitude, because it will have become part of a heart that has discovered universal love, and it will have become part of a heart that now beats with two centers, not one - the center of self and the center that resides in the Heart of God. Such a heart will inevitably create for itself a sacred life, for only such a life will allow it the freedom that permits the full and unlimited expression of the heart and of the soul.
Article Section - Sacred Relationships
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