It’s November and talk of gratitude is in the air. We can hardly open our eyes in the morning without being bombarded by seasonal messages about being grateful for the bounty that we enjoy. But what if you’re not feeling all that bounty? Can you still practice gratitude? Yes!
When I contemplate gratitude, I often find myself also contemplating Patanjali’s sutras and the five kleshas (obstacles or afflictions), particularly avidya (ignorance). By now, you might be asking yourself, “What’s Todd talking about? What on earth do obstacles and ignorance have to do with a full practice of gratitude?” Here’s the answer:
When life is easy, so is gratitude. But the wise yogi is able to access feelings of gratitude even when life is hard.
Patanjali tells us that ignorance is mistaking the impermanent for the permanent, the impure for the pure, pleasure for pain, and the non-self for the Self. We are ignorant when we blame ourselves for our pain. We are ignorant when we believe that our misery is immutable – that it will never stop. It will! But it’s not when our circumstances change that our life changes, but rather when our reaction shifts. We can learn to be content and grateful even when circumstances are difficult.
Wisdom is knowing that every experience enriches our lives and helps us get closer to the Divine within.
Sometimes life is hard. Money is tight. Love is scarce. Pain abounds. The yogi knows that it is possible to be grateful for it all. When we cultivate an attitude of gratitude, even toward the moments and the people who add challenge to our lives, we are able to use those experiences to grow and become the people we are meant to […]