Photo: J. Wilder Bill by her favorite sister
When looking for love, it’s useful to know the power of gratitude. If it sounds as though I’m implying one can ramp up the love factor in his life by being thankful for what little he has, that is exactly what I mean.
Those moments when you felt warm and cuddly inside, when you couldn’t resist falling asleep before bedtime, are the times you connected to your peace of mind and the universal consciousness of love. You also disconnected from your self-destructive nature.
Modern gurus encourage us to be thankful as a means for overcoming our inner demons but such a vague objective can leave us with a sense of void until we understand the magnetic impact appreciation invokes. Take for instance, inspirational writer, Dale Carnegie’s suggestion to “… be grateful for what you have to be thankful for instead of complaining about the little things that annoy you.”
I invite you to imagine with me, my childhood evenings when a storm unexpectedly disconnected our electricity. Initially, surprise sets in. All the neighbors congregate outside to visit while hoping the lights will be restored quickly, but when they don’t, we return to our homes to strategize what how best to handle the situation. What is a person to do at eight o’clock at night in the freezing, pitch dark? Go to sleep, perhaps. Or then again, get creative.
My parents took us to the store for supplies and an opportunity to access a facility with a generator pumping heat into our lives. Once we realized the world wasn’t going to end, seeing how other folks would be out and about exploring the new landscape of broken tree branches covered in icicles among absolute darkness. The lack of comfort created an adventure and the opportunity to enjoy ourselves, and whether we intended to or not, we began to be thankful for humanity.
My enthusiasm piqued as we picked out activities to do without electricity. My mom taught me how to crochet beside the fireplace during a winter storm. Crossword puzzles provided friendly family challenges. Slightly burnt pan-roasted popcorn, chocolate and marshmallows warmed on the tips of coat hangers, and a foot pedal sewing machine gave the icy, dark nights a loving touch. My parents allowed us kids the opportunity to savor favorite imperishable foods typically avoided, all under the premise of cozying up with family and pets for intellectually stimulating tasks.
By complaining less, we open our hearts and thoughts to receiving blessings. Dwelling on the negative aspects of your surroundings is in invitation for your mind to explore additional unhappy experiences. I notice this phenomena oftentimes when I believe I’ve come up with an original idea, something like naming my children. I spent months searching every map, history book, and movie credit with a goal to find a meaningful and unique name for the special souls who found their way into my home. I referenced how common my choice names were, and in which eras and locations they were used, ensuring no one on the planet had the same names. Low and behold, as soon as the names became official, I noticed dozens of people who use them.
Such a happening where at first you think you alone came across rare information or ideas only to see them repeatedly thereafter, is known as the Baader-Meinhof phenomenon. This theory relies on the brain’s ability to recognize patterns as a means to digest information and learn. Whether the patterning of being aware of specific words and events in life is due to coincidence or our intuition, the sensation leaves us with an overwhelming satisfaction and awe due to our ability to attract what interests and appeals to us for our current quest for knowledge.
The authors and editors of the Holy Bible considered gratitude to have such essential power for our spiritual growth, they provided explanations more than once in both the Old and New Testaments. “Give thanks in all circumstances’ for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” 1 Thessalonians 5:18. “Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good, for His steadfast love endures forever.” Psalm 136:1.
Gratitude ties into love. When you crave love, the fastest way to gain that golden warmth in your chest is through your state of mind. Not to say you need to change in order to be a better person who deserves to receive love, and never to suggest difficult paths force you to elude love. It’s a matter of signaling the world to give you the things you emphasize, the situations that mirror what you think about most. Paraphrasing Gautama Buddha, “Disillusioned men never appreciate kindness shown them, but wise men are grateful. Wise men express their appreciation and gratitude by returning kindness, not only to their benefactor, but to the world at large.”
Thankfulness creates a shift in your way of thinking. The change of your thought patterns drives you toward the situations in life you want to experience. You draw what you desire closer to you by focusing on the feelings that you would enjoy if you already gained what you want. Dale Carnegie pushed for us all to attain our goals, which we devise in our continuing efforts to gain more peace, in saying:
“Remember, happiness doesn’t depend upon who you are or what you have; it depends solely upon what you think. So, start each day by thinking of all the things you have to be thankful for. Your future will depend very largely on the thoughts you think today. So, think of thoughts of hope and confidence and love and success.”
The invocation for gratitude isn’t a rule imposed on us because breaking rules is irresistible for so many. The suggestion takes into account the messages we send the universal consciousness, because wise men are aware no request goes unanswered. No matter how outlandish your wishes seem, the asking by you occurs in those moments you either complain or appreciate.
The angels and protective guide are merely messages to the Divine Source where creation begins. They don’t translate the hidden meanings behind your words of aggravation. Their job is to sing praise on your behalf no matter what attitude or tone you transmit. You, me, each of us, possesses the power to relay our wishes, which are always fulfilled. Therefore, we each are in control. These gifts of free will are worthy of our gratitude in every moment of our experience.