Friday, March 14, 2008

Why Gratitude is Subversive

One of the new keystones of my spiritual practice has been incorporating gratitude into my life to whatever extent I can. This started in November 2007 after I read an article in Shambala Sun by Joanna Macy. This article had a big impact on me and since then I have been including a daily gratitude into my journal. Sometimes it is very difficult to identify something because my outlook that morning is not especially positive. Other times I can barely pick from so many things to be grateful for - those moments are ones of great and joyful abundance.

This quote from the article is very powerful: "Thankfulness loosens the grip of the industrial growth society by contradicting its predominant message: that we are insufficient and inadequate. The forces of late capitalism continually tell us that we need more - more stuff, more money, more approval, more comfort, more entertainment. The dissatisfaction it breeds is profound. It infects people with a compulsion to acquire that delivers them into the cruel, humiliating bondage of debt. So gratitude is liberating. It is subversive. It helps us realize that we are sufficient, and that realization frees us."

Yes, this is a pointed analysis of society. At the same time it tells us how to break out of mindless belief in the message of inadequacy by incorporating a habit of expressing gratitude. Over the years, I had certainly bought into that message and on a fairly reliable basis considered myself inadequate on some level.
I do believe that gratitude is a choice, we can move ourselves into an attitude of gratefulness. The processes of each day writing down what I can be grateful for has helped me see the parts of life that are bigger than me. It has opened a window for joy.

Gratitude of the Day: I am grateful for breath. Breathing in, the earth. Breathing out, the sky.

No comments: