Monday, April 6, 2009

Appreciation, Gratitude & Thanksgiving

So this month at the Center for Spiritual Living we are focusing on appreciation, and reading Spiritual Liberation by Rev. Michael Bernard Beckwith. Here is a quote from the book that is really speaking to me right now. It is kinda long but worth the read. Thoughts anyone

Evolved people give thanks for life, for the intelligence within the body temple, within nature, for what most people don’t even notice as they navigate through their day. Gratitude is an expression of humility, a recognition that even before we ask, good has been given to us.
Gratitude also includes respect for what the ego would call “bad news,” the challenging circumstances that come into our life to wake us up. Individuals who are unaware of the sacredness of all expressions of existence live their lives against a backdrop of complaining, self-pity, and excuses. They are busy directing their energy toward changing the things and people around them, rather then themselves.
About two years ago, in one of Agape’s University of Transformational Studies and Leadership (UTSLA) classes, I invited students to present any requests they had for prayer. Donna, who was suffering from kidney disease, stepped forward and asked that we pray for her to be move up on the waiting list for a kidney transplant. The class responded enthusiastically to praying for her, but both they and Donna were puzzled when I suggested that perhaps we could take a slightly different approach. “Why don’t we work to heal the kidneys you already have, Donna?” I asked. She responded that I didn’t understand her particular type of kidney disease, advising us that it was so rare that seldom, if ever, was it healed. She asked that we stick to praying for her original request of being moved up on the transplant list.
At this juncture, a story Alan Watts tells about how he was learning to “wait” and use “in between” moments of meditation popped into my mind. So I again suggested to Donna and the class that while we were “waiting” for her to be moved up on the transplant list, we experiment in the laboratory of prayer and see what we could do about her existing kidneys. Donna breathed a sigh of relief and said, “Okay.”
I then asked the class, “How many of you woke up this morning and gave thanks for the perfect functioning of your kidneys?” As an assignment, I asked the students to give thanks every time they went to the bathroom and to simultaneously offer a prayer for Donna’s kidneys. We called it the PP prayer – praying while peeing. (Prayer is not reserved just for a certain room in the house, church, temple, mosque or synagogue. Bathrooms are great for prayer.) I invited Donna to give thanks for her life and all of the ways in which her body temple serves her. I also gave her a daily reading assignment in The Science of Mind by Ernest Holmes, which specifically addresses the healing of kidneys.
I had no knowledge about whether or not Donna applied the principle of gratitude or how the reading materials resonated with her, but a few months later she tearfully informed me that her kidneys spontaneously began normal functioning. Her healing befuddled the same doctors who had earlier prescribed a transplant as her only hope for survival. Today, two years later, Donna’s kidneys are still normal, and she continues to be grateful for things most people take for granted. As Meister Eckhart, the Dominican monk and mystic observed, “A person can almost be defined by his or her attitude toward gratitude.” Gratitude is powerful, leading Eckhart to also say, “If the only prayer you said in your whole life was ‘thank you,’ that would suffice.” Evolved people are grateful.

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