Meister Eckhart Tolle has said, “If ‘thank you’ is the only one prayer you offer in your whole life, then that itself is enough.” Wow! Think about it. One and only prayer…in the span of one’s whole life. That is a profound sentiment.
Most of us feel grateful and thankful for multitude of blessings that are bestowed on us. We well up with gratitude at celebrations of our successes and achievements. We tear up with thankful emotions at the moments that mark major milestones of our lives such as the birth of a child or a big-number birthday/wedding anniversary. Our hearts melt at the unexpected glance of a loved one or at the open arms of a beaming two-year old who runs towards us without a care in the world. At times, we even catch ourselves with full hearts at the sight of a beautiful sunrise or a sunset. We take time out to thank for our health, wealth, family, safety and security.
But what do we do when life is not going that great? How do we react when we face an obstacle and cannot see beyond the helplessness of the present moment? Sometimes we complain and whine and at other times we rely on anger. Sometimes we numb ourselves with food, entertainment, shopping, web-browsing, social media or with a few glasses of our favorite drink. A few of us jump right into the busy-ness of life and immerse ourselves in activities – long hours at work, cleaning closets or rearranging book-shelves. For a few, religion or self-help books do the trick and for others, getting the adrenalin going by playing or exercising works wonders. Whatever course we take, we ALL want to escape from that ‘not good’ feeling when we start to feel small, inadequate, incompetent or not ‘strong enough’.
At times like these, we never say – Thank You Universe. We never do that because we never want to be in that state again. But could we, as Eckhart Tolle suggests, dig deep into ourselves at moments like that and be quietly grateful. Why? It is because if we didn’t have moments like that, we could never really appreciate or value what we DO have. It is precisely those ‘not strong enough’ moments that illuminate what we have received.
I intellectually get this but I admit that I have never even thought of being grateful when I have been hurting. I have always fallen back on my own numbing technique cocktail. But on this Thanksgiving day, when I am grateful for SO MUCH that I have been blessed with, I want to pause to reflect on what EXACTLY should I be grateful for! All that which is obviously great (which is a lot) or everything in between as well!! I want to pray that “I am thankful for the abundance of many kinds but I am also grateful for my imperfections, doubts, insecurities and uncertainties because it is the combination of ALL of that which defines my life’s work and my path.”
I know it is OK to say this when I am sitting in comfortable surroundings with no immediate emergency but I also hope that I can catch a glimpse of this gratitude (even it is for a fleeting second) next time I am in the middle of life not going my way.
Today, I am thankful for my life that has granted me the luxury of pausing to reflect and simply say ‘Thank you’.