Thursday, February 22, 2018

The Magic of Gratitude

“The Magic of Gratitude”

by Peter Rengel, M.A.

You have probably tried to understand this experience called Life.  What is Life’s purpose?  Why are you here?  Is there an ultimate meaning to existence or is this one big accident?  The mind tries to decipher Life, hoping for a revelation to burst forth and show you the light.  Then you’ve “got it”!  What if your picture of how to “get it” is leading you astray?

The Meaning of Life

The meaning of Life is not

An answer revealed to you

Upon achieving your goals.

Life is a thirst for more,

Periodically quenched by

Insights and revelations,

Which are followed by

A new thirst for more.

The meaning of Life is

Felt in magical moments

Within the miracle itself.

Life’s meaning is not contained within theories but within experiences. A more rewarding alternative than trying to use your mind to search for “the answer” is to discover the place inside you that is simply enchanted with the mystery.   The more frequently you are overflowing with gratitude as you feel these magical moments, the more meaningful your life becomes.  The experience of gratitude is not a thought inside your head.  It is a humbling feeling inside your Heart.


Feeling gratitude creates

Feeling more gratitude

For the blessing of

Feeling gratitude.

The direct experience of gratitude leaves you unpretentious.  It is so awe-inspiring that you may find yourself bowing down in appreciation of this clever enigma called Reality.  Life’s mysterious web is intentionally woven to remain just beyond your ability to fully comprehend.  If you let go of trying to intellectually master this Reality, you can relax with a sigh of relief.  You free your energy to explore other kinds of Soul-satisfying experiences.  Life’s simplest occurrences become wonderments because you see them through different eyes. A quality of wide-eyed innocence opens doors into new dimensions of Reality.

The more time you spend being grateful for the blessings already in your life, the easier it is to receive more.  Feeling gratitude not only creates feeling more gratitude.  It simultaneously creates more to feel grateful for.  As you experience being thankful, you validate that you live in a Universe where there is a lot to be thankful for.  Thus, your world becomes progressively more abundant in all ways.  You become rich with Love, intimacy, sexuality, and material goods.  As you allow the shower of goodness to saturate and satiate you, your need to “do” decreases and your capacity to “be” increases.

This is not to suggest that you become lazy.  As effort to achieve externally eases, effort to awaken internally grows fierce.  Most of your attention turns inward.  As you search in the deepest recesses of your inner Self, rude awakenings can shock you.  With this level of self-honesty may come the painful realization that there are many more layers of your unconscious to uncover than you ever dreamed possible.  You may begin to notice more subtle ways that you have been selfish or unloving or untrusting.  But you can also simultaneously realize that at last you are on the right course.  You are finally on your way Home to unshakable Love.

Love is the vibration that is always waiting for you in the inner depths of Now.  Find as many ways as you can to attune to your inner silence and to sing in harmony with joy.  When you synchronize with the vibration of Love, the monsters of fear evaporate into thin air. When you live in gratitude, your attitude itself takes care of you. The rational mind, your ego, short circuits because it no longer needs to be your caretaker.  You are supported by something beyond the mind’s comprehension.  Once you have lifted the veil, you become a child of God.  This ultimate parent provides all you ever need. Life’s miracles are always occurring, but remain hidden from you by your own inner disharmony.

You cannot pretend to have found Enlightenment and then wait for the manna.  If you feel that the Universe is not taking care of you, you are somehow not living in the flow of Life.  When you truly surrender into the experience of Love, you let go of your need to control.  You open your Being to live in a state of grace.


You can manipulate others

To fulfill your desires or

Open to receive Grace

With no expectations.

With manipulation,

There is always effort,

No matter how subtle,

As you try to receive.

With Grace,

You are surprised by

Miracles more precious

Than any of your Dreams.

As trust takes the lead, grace enters your life. As you melt into the unknown, the need to define yourself as a separate “I” disappears.  The scope of the bliss that appears is far beyond the magnitude of any individual.  You sense that all is supportively interconnected, from the simplest dirt and rocks to oceans and trees and animals and, finally, to all human beings, even you!  The newly merging “you” is so much more than the old separate “you.”

A vital step in this melting process is to recognize your needs and then ask for help.  The results of your asking depend on your attitude as you make the request.  For instance, you can demand that the Universe take care of you.  Your reasoning may be that since you are a sincere seeker, you should be provided for.  A demand arising from self-righteousness destroys any possibility of the Universe assisting you.  Often pain is needed to dissolve your arrogance. Once humbled, you can genuinely ask for support.

In 1976, when I was a counselor in a backpacking camp in northern California’s Trinity Alps, I learned a major lesson about “asking.”  My friend Marilyn and I were leading ten teenage boys and girls through the wilderness for two weeks.  On the seventh night, we were camped in rugged mountains in unfamiliar territory.  We had not seen anyone else for days.  As we slept, a freak summer blizzard unleashed two feet of snow on us.  We huddled together through the night to stay warm.  As the sun rose, the storm was still so intense that we could barely see one foot in front of us.  All the trails had disappeared.  We could not see any of the surrounding mountains to read our maps.  We had little food because we were due to hike to a “food drop” that day.

I was scared.  No, I was quietly terrified.  I felt responsible for everyone’s safety.  If the blizzard continued, our already wet clothes and sleeping bags would no longer keep us warm.  We would either suffer from hypothermia and lose some toes and fingers or freeze to death.  I remembered the near-by location of a mountain peak we had seen the day before.  I left Marilyn with the kids and struggled through the ferocious blizzard which had dumped over three feet of snow by now.  Breathless and frozen, I finally arrived on the peak but could not see far enough to get my bearings.  I pictured those frightened kids relying upon me.

My terror intensified.  Finally, in desperation, I fell to my knees and prayed.  I begged God to please lift the storm just enough for me to see the path down the mountain.  In that moment, I fully believed that the clouds would magically disappear.  After a few minutes, nothing had happened.  I began sobbing as I pictured the newspaper headlines detailing our deaths.  I pleaded with God, but still nothing happened.  Dejected, I finally decided to return to the others and plan a new strategy.  As I was walking down from the peak, I found my feet involuntarily moving in another direction.  It was strange.  I felt like I was being led, for no apparent reason, to the back side of the mountain.  As I came around a corner, I looked below me and saw the faintest evidence of the trail.  I shouted with glee and rushed back to the others with the life-saving news.

Later I realized my picture of wanting the storm to stop almost prevented me from being able to receive the gift being offered.


When you finally admit

You cannot do it alone,

Asking the Universe

To please help you

Lets you bow down.

The very act of asking

Opens you to receive.

Then release all your ideas

Of how the help will come,

So you can see the support

In whatever form it arrives.

There is generally a delay between the asking and the receiving.  This period of time tests your faith.  In the act of asking, you find the courage to set aside your arrogance, which has convinced you that you must do it alone.  You become vulnerable enough to admit, “This is beyond my control.  I cannot go on struggling.  Please help.”  And then nothing happens for a period of time.  This is when you can panic or trust.  This is when you have to combat the lurking demons in your mind that whisper in your ear, “See.  This stuff does not work.  There is nothing here but you.  So go out there and grab whatever you can.”  You must decide if you want to be controlled by those nagging voices or not.  If you give them power over you, you may become so caught up in their negativity that you do not recognize the help when it arrives.

Most people sit in the passenger’s seat of their life, feeling out of control.  If you are 100% responsible for your response to every stimulus, you move into the driver’s seat.  If you know that you have the power to create a positive way of perceiving any situation, then you no longer need to be driving on a particular road in order to be happy.  Instead, you learn to enjoy wherever you are, even if you have no map.

You may never entirely figure out this Mystery (Thank God!), but you are still the artist who is painting your version of Reality, moment by moment.


In the creation of your Life,

You are both the artist and

The work of art in progress.

Your ultimate creation

Is your Life itself and

The Love you allow.

You can stroll down any path, already celebrating your freedom.  If you joyously watch Life unfold without having to know how it is supposed to turn out, you discover the room in your Heart that is filled with appreciation for the miracle of simply being on the Earth in a body.


When your time with God shifts

From asking for needs to be filled

Into feeling grateful for all of Life,

You have discovered true Prayer.

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