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Gratitude

an article by Anando in The Osho Times, 2009

The other day I was driving in my car to go somewhere I really didn’t want to go. I was grumbling away in my mind, feeling frustrated that I had let myself be pressured into this situation, and generally feeling pissed off about the whole thing.

Suddenly I realized what I was doing, and reminded myself how lucky I was to be living the life I am. In that moment I looked out the car window and saw the sun shining and the beautiful nature I was driving through. I hadn’t seen it before because I was so busy with my internal dialogue of complaining and feeling sorry for myself. It quite literally took my breath away – a huge sigh of contentment welled up from deep inside.

And with that breath came an immense gratitude. Gratitude that I was alive, that such beautiful nature was all around, gratitude for the crickets singing (I hadn’t even heard them til that moment), gratitude for all the gifts existence has showered on me and continues to shower. Immediately all the complains and mind-fuck disappeared and I felt flooded with well-being. Immediately! And I had a good laugh about my unconscious mind.

It had been a momentary lapse, because normally I do feel an incredible gratitude, each day, for how existence takes such wonderful care of me. But this lapse reminded me also of how much my life has changed. It used to be my way of life – complaining, judging, blaming, feeling unfairly treated, disrespected – you know, all the usual rubbish that the mind loves to chew on. Osho is absolutely right when he says that a complaining mind is never at peace.

It is thanks to Osho that I came to understand that our attitude towards life is a choice, and whether we choose gratitude or complaint, that is exactly what life will reflect back to us.

And he explains how it really is a choice – we can follow our mind which can’t help itself but complain about the past, want things to be different from what they are or chase after future desires, or we can shift our focus away from the mind to enjoying what is already there all around us, in the present moment. And he says that one way to do this is to use the incredible alchemy of gratitude. He says that if we learn the art of thankfulness, then even that most difficult of situations – parting with a beloved - can become something beautiful rather than a suffering.

I remember reading about an early meditation camp where Osho instructed the participants not to complain about anything – not the mosquitoes nor the food. He said that if for those 3 days people accepted absolutely everything as it is and delighted in it, they would cease to have complaints for the rest of their life. Because then they would know how peaceful and joyous it is to live without grudging.

“The feeling of gratefulness can arise only if we become aware of what existence is giving us. We have nothing to give in return, hence we feel deep gratitude. We are not worthy of it all, we don’t deserve it. Still the flowers bloom, still the sun rises, still the moon comes, and the stars…. Still existence goes on giving, whether we take any note of it or not.” Osho

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