Good Sunday morning my friends! I hope everyone has found some benefit in the spiritual techniques we’ve shared. I promise you they do work…but like everything else, they work far more effectively when practiced! It is easy, especially in the beginning, to get off track and struggle to get back on. As always, feel free to email me firstname.lastname@example.org with any problems you are experiencing with any of the techniques we’ve covered.
This morning, I would like very much to cover two topics that are generally not discussed together…especially not in the West; Death and Gratitude. But before we dive into that, I wanted to share an experience I had this week with a friend that caught me by surprise. It’s an important story because it is real life, and it is someone just like you and I…it could even be you and I, or someone we all know.
We’ll call her Sarah. Sarah is a recovering alcoholic who is now in the process of ending a 30 year marriage. Her entire world has turned upside down! Besides the unbearable emotional pain of the hurt and anger associated with divorce, she is also having to learn to handle things she has never handled or had to worry about in the past! But I only learned this week that although she is keeping her sobriety through all of this, she has lost her faith! I had assumed that her faith was the key to her ability to deal with such adversity and hardship. But I learned instead that, in spite of all the AA meetings, a committed sponsor and great therapist, she was collapsing inside under the weight and magnitude of everything happening to her! “Sarah…” I said, “you are much more than a sober person!”
The good news is that she is a person of faith who simply got off track and lost connection. I believe that a two-minute conversation and a follow-up letter was all it took to help Sarah realize this and take the ridiculously simple and subtle step to reconnect to the greatest power in the entire universe! Pain and suffering are attachments no different from any other; only they can be more consuming.
Gratitude is what the Buddhists would call, a virtuous mind. Think about how difficult it is for someone who is having Sarah’s experience to naturally feel gratitude…as say it might be for a six-year-old on Christmas morning. And yet, the powerful seed of this mind especially in Sarah’s situation is the key to health & happiness. And if we practice it when we don’t need it, it becomes 2nd nature when we actually do! I believe it is a major factor in the story I shared several Sundays ago about my 85-year-old friend who recovered twice as fast as his 65-year-old Kessler roommate suffering from the exact same stroke! The mind of gratitude over the mind of resentment…think about it! Think about the countless ways to practice it each and every day. The easier opportunities we find alone in our car on the way to work, grateful for the time with family, or the call from an old friend. The tougher opportunities that come when we learn we have a serious illness…but think instead of how grateful we are that we have a loving spouse who is as healthy as she is devoted!
Death is the most fascinating of all topics spiritual! What I have always marveled at are the differences in attitude towards death. We in the West treat it in the most somber and macabre way. It is the ultimate sadness and our greatest fear is it not? The Buddhists, on the other hand, greet death as if he were a carnival barker handing them a free ticket to the greatest ride in the park! They treat it more as a beginning than as an end! Is there anything more liberating than to lose the fear of death? I think not! But this is the mind we attain when we practice living as the “Inside” beings we truly are! And the greatest opportunity to practice this is NOW! It is NOW because universally, we are living the experience of Sarah. Universally we are in the process of a devastating divorce. The reality we have all been happily married to for most of our adult lives is literally coming apart at the seams! You know what I’m talking about!
I want you to think as you grip the gunnels of this flimsy raft on the most treacherous white water of your life, “This is the tastiest moment I have ever lived…THANK YOU GOD!” :-)