Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Know Gratitude, Feel Gratitude, Express Gratitude

               In an earlier post, we discussed the gratitude that we owe to our parents. Without them and all their efforts, we wouldn't be where we are today. Despite any hardships they have put us through, they helped shelter us, feed us, clothe us, and take care of us enough to experience the joy of life.

Original Art by woodleywonderworks available on

              Knowing gratitude is essential to feeling happy. The Chinese character for gratitude is on (pronounced: OH-nn). It contains two symbols, one represents "cause" and the other is "mind."

             We learned from the Law of Cause and Effect that everything has a cause. Throughout our lives we have received many blessings and benefits. Each one of these has a cause. Gratitude is the mind that knows that cause.

             Everything around us, the air we breathe, the trees that shade us, the plants, the earth we stand on, the animals. There is so much to be grateful for! We've all run under a tree either in sweltering heat or in a heavy rain. Likewise, we are sheltered and helped many ways in our lives.

             Our parents or caretakers played the largest roles of providing for our lives, but when we get down to think of it, countless other people come to mind as well. Family members who helped us through tough times, and friends who surprised us with gifts. Doctors helping us through medical issues, and nurses carefully monitoring our conditions. Our teachers and counselors instructed and offered us advice on how to succeed in life. Farmers and cooks labored to make and prepare us food. Builders and architects constructed the home we live in. Politicians and representatives try to provide us with a safe and prosperous society. Scientists and inventors made it possible for me to thank them directly with this blog!

               There's no end to the number of people we could thank for all we've received in this life. We think our lives and everything around us simply runs automatically. But for every beautiful flower in the park or on your street, there is also a gardener taking care of it. Our very survival depends on the help of others. Think about that -- your own survival.

                 Once this is understood, we realize that dissatisfaction in life comes from taking for granted the blessings of nature, the people around us, and everything we have. What if they suddenly weren't there anymore? Think about how much you rely on these things, and you suddenly can't help but be grateful for them!

                 Take a moment to thank the people in your life for things you may have taken for granted. The Buddha said that "An ungrateful person is worse than a beast!" He taught us the importance of knowing, feeling, and expressing gratitude. Here are the easy steps.

What to Do
  1. Know Gratitude -- We need to know what we're grateful for.
  2. Feel Gratitude -- We need to feel grateful.
  3. Express Gratitude -- We need to show it!
                 The Buddha taught that those who feel no gratitude are lower than beasts. But even animals can show great loyalty, love, and gratitude to their providers.

                  Recently, a man from Utah got a service dog to help him with his anxiety. The two formed a strong bond, but his dog, Shadow, began to panic every time his owner went away to work. Shadow would chase him every time he tried to leave on faraway trips and even while he was working with very high-profile clients.

                  Another point to mention, the man happened to be in the hang-gliding business.

Photo Courtesy of the McManus Family

                    Dan had decided that the solution was to finally take his K9 companion along. He and his Shadow have been soaring ever since. 

                   "They're here to teach us how to love unconditionally and without expectation," said Dan McManus, owner of Eagles Nest Hang Gliding. "I'm grateful to have that dog to remind me of that daily. They're here for such a short period of our lives."

                   Shadow was happy to be along with best friend, Dan, no matter what the altitude. 

                  "We meet their needs to have a pack. They're pack animals, social animals," Dan says. "They don't remember yesterday's argument or mistake or problem. They're just grateful you're there everyday."

                     We as human beings should consciously keep in mind what we owe to others, be grateful inside for it, and act on that gratitude. That's how we earn the trust, admiration, and respect of others.

                     An ingrate is someone who doesn't know or feel gratitude. No matter how much wealth or knowledge a person may acquire, if they don't have gratitude in their heart, they are spiritually broke and most likely to be untrustworthy. It is truly a shameful state, one that is to be pitied.

                     All the karmic blessings we have received in life are like payments. Because we have received these payments, we must repay these debts with kindnesses. Yet so often we neglect to repay our debt of gratitude in the slightest. Here are three steps to avoid completely.

What Not to Do
  1. Forgetting Gratitude -- Leads to Failure in Life
  2. Ignoring Gratitude -- Results in Loss of Trust
  3. Defying Gratitude -- Destroys Your Life
             Grateful people are the most successful. Those who take kindness for granted lose respect with others.  If you repay kindness with animosity, you yourself end up in ruins.

             Today try to find as many people as you can, and try to 1.) know gratitude, 2.) feel gratitude, and 3.) express gratitude to each person.

Original Art by adihrespati on

             If times are really tough right now and you can't find anything to be grateful for, I offer you this quote that's helped me. They are words to reflect deeply upon.

"The unhappiest person in the world is one who has no sense of gratitude."
--Takamori Kentetsu, author of You Were Born for a Reason

              As soon as you find one thing, even something small, your entire mindset and outlook can improve dramatically.

              Lastly, if you wish to receive more blessings to be grateful for, you must always remember to focus your efforts first on giving.

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