Notes on the Journey: Gratitude
Gratitude. Gratitude is the true and simple recognition of Grace in our lives. Often considered the greatest of all virtues, gratitude is the parent of all the others for gratitude is the doorway through which we experience the expansive states of joy, equanimity, ease, happiness and bliss.
At any moment in life, there is always something to be grateful for. Consider the friend of beloved who is ever there to support and uplift you, the dear teacher or mentor who has kindled your passion and helped to reveal your talents and gifts, the child who makes you giggle, the natural beauty of the tree in your backyard, the "luck" of running into an old friend, or the challenging situation or experience that has ultimately paved the way for personal growth and transformation in your life. Gratitude for these people, things and experiences brings about a spacious ease and lightness of being. It is the blossoming of Grace. Make it a daily practice to express gratitude for the beings and experiences to whom and for which you are grateful, and may you watch the fullness of your life unfold with luminosity.
You say grace before meals. All right. But I say grace before the concert and the opera, and grace before the play, and the pantomime, and grace before I open a book, and grace before sketching, painting, swimming, fencing, boxing, walking, playing, dancing, and grace before I dip the pen in the ink.
Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos into order, confusion into clarity... It turns problems into gifts, failures into success, the unexpected into perfect timing, and mistakes into important events. Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today and creates a vision for tomorrow. Melodie Beattie
This comes from my July 2009 newsletter.
Yoga in all its many forms is an invitation to step into the magnificent "current which is traditionally called Grace", says Paul Muller Ortega, renowned academic scholar of Indian religion and pracitioner of Tantric Yoga. Through the practice of yoga, we open up to something that is bigger than ourselves, yet is intrinsic to our very being. "What is that force that expresses itself as everything and as me?" asked Paul to me and the other 60 participants that sat with him in satsang, "open eyed contemplation" during Summer Solstice weekend last month. Paul stated that yoga practice is "intelligent alignment with an already moving force" and that connecting with this force or current, gives us access to a never-ending source of abundance. He told us that this opportunity and experience is not just for a rare few, but that tapping into this current and learning to live from this place is an absolutely essential process of being human. This process is not meant to take us out of this material world, but instead to plug more fully into the very lives we are already living and to live our lives with a greater sense of aliveness, energized focus and bliss.
We may access this current through various practices, including asana and meditation. In yoga asana, we learn to align with this current through the medium of our physical bodies. We begin the practice by softening and and opening to this flow of grace, to pure potentiality. From this receptive place, we hone our alignment with this moving force. When we engage our muscles and draw them toward our core, it is like creating the strong banks of a river to contain the current. Then from our strong and steady core, we energetically expand from our core and merge with this current called Grace, to experience balance, vitality and bliss.
As such yoga is always an invitation to dive into our true nature and come home. This month, I invite you to join me in this journey. Step into the current and align with the flow!
Annie Barrett. Educator, certified health coach yoga instructor.