In this season of Thanksgiving, what are you thankful for?
Perhaps it’s easy for you to think of many things in your life you’re thankful for, but maybe not. Sometimes the challenges we face wear us down. It’s easy to be filled with gratitude when things are going well, not so easy when life is difficult.
If a person thinks the burden of the world is on their shoulders they feel the weight of the world and in a few years they become hunchbacked. You have your duties and responsibilities in the world and you can do them with a smile on your face or you can have a sad heart and tears in your eyes. It doesn’t make any difference to the world but it makes a difference in the way you feel.
When you’re struggling and feeling downhearted, what can you do to change your experience of life?
Here’s a lighthearted teaching from Dr. Seuss:
When you think things are bad,
When you feel sour and blue,
When you start to get mad…
You should do what I do!
Just tell yourself, Duckie,
You’re really quite lucky!
Some people are much more…
Oh, ever so much more…
Oh, muchly mutch-mutch more
Unlucky than you!
The mind always goes through different stages, sometimes negative and sometimes positive. The mind is the creator of everything. You create heaven and you create hell.
Whatever your current view of the world, and your world in particular, let’s consider what supports you.
Recently I had the opportunity to talk with the children at the Salt Spring Centre School about gratitude. I asked them some questions, and asked them to raise their hands in response: Do you have somewhere to live? Do you have a bed to sleep in? Do you have enough food to eat? Is there someone in your life who loves you? Is there someone in your life that you love? In their lives they all have someone who loves them and whom they love. They were aware that this is not true for everyone, and they appreciated their gifts. We all know this, even though we forget and then remember over and over again.
Let’s do a similar exercise. What supports you in your life? Take a few quiet moments and consider the fullness in your life. It’s so easy to get stuck in the mindset of scarcity: I don’t have enough: companionship, sense of community, money, time for relaxing, fun, closeness with family and friends, and on and on. As long as we view life through the lens of scarcity, there will never be enough. If you take off those glasses and look at life through the lens of thankfulness, everything looks different. Outwardly everything remains the same, but your experience changes and your view expands. Instead of being covered by darkness, life lightens up and there is a sense of possibility.
We take so much for granted, beginning with the fact that we’re alive. How miraculous! Your heart beats and your breath continues without conscious effort. Thich Nhat Hanh asks, “What’s not wrong?”
Good and bad are only a creation of our own mind. If we make an ugly picture of the world in our mind, then we see the world as ugly. So why not make a beautiful picture of the world that provides love, happiness and peace.
Life is not a burden. We make it a burden by not accepting life as it is.
Wish you happy.
Contributed by Sharada
All text in italics is from writings by Baba Hari Dass
Sharada Filkow, a student of classical ashtanga yoga since the early 70s, is one of the founding members of the Salt Spring Centre of Yoga, where she has lived for many years, serving as a karma yogi, teacher and mentor.