Grace and Gratitude

They’re all talking about it, the Law of Attraction folks. And a good few more besides, many if not most if not all of the West Coast philosophers, gurus, spiritual teachers and self help leaders, all busily sending their daily emails. (They’re not all in California of course, but it seems to have the highest number of e-generation ‘transformationalists’ per thousand.)

What is it they’re talking about? Gratitude. You don’t get if you spend your time thinking about what or how much you don’t have, goes the wisdom. It comes to you (whatever it is – usually ‘abundance’, see as long as you can somehow fool yourself into thinking that you already have it, and can create the state of mind that goes with having it.

And paramount in that state of mind is gratitude. Rejoice in all that you have, all the luck and love, create the feeling of having it all, and lo and behold, it will all come to you.

This may or may not be true. I think it might work to a certain extent when you already have a mind powerful enough in its focus to overcome the obvious obstacles of consciousness (I clearly don’t own a 7-bedroom mansion with pool and tennis courts or a garage full of Ferraris and Lexuses [Lexi?]). I’m not sure that it really matters, to be honest. Gratitude is something worth practicing on a daily, even hourly basis, simply because it brings contentment, inner peace and joy.

A friend of my Father’s, a priest like him, used to have a favourite sermon. It was called ‘Count Your Blessings’, and in it he exhorted his audience to… well, to count their blessings. To go over, almost as a list, all the things in your life that you feel blessed with. Health, all your limbs, education, an adequacy of material things (not necessarily wealth), family, friends, the kids, the garden, your football team, holidays, music, movies, the dog, the car, the tv. Love. People to love and be loved by; landscapes, seascapes, sun, moon, stars, wind and rain, natural beauty to enjoy. Life itself.

It’s just a simple extra mental move. Look at something or someone that makes you smile, that makes you feel good; and as the thought ‘How beautiful’ or ‘how great’ flows through, add the gratitude on, like the tail of a comet. Remember that this beauty in front of your eyes or mind or heart is a blessing.

There’s a list of gratitude-related words. Grateful. Gratify. Gratuity. Gratuitous. Gratis. Congratulation. They all signify, with one emphasis or another, a gift that is free, that you don’t have to pay for. There’s also Gratia, or to be precise, Gratia Dei; grace. The Grace of God. It’s a direct link to gratitude, the consciousness that you are receiving gifts. Don’t have to be from God, if you don’t believe in the Old Man With a White Beard; ‘grace’ is a state of being, a way of life with powerful beauty at its heart and soul. It comes to you without rhyme or reason; it doesn’t tend to come to those who don’t care for it or who don’t put some work into it, but it has been known. It doesn’t seem to equate to the amount of effort you put in, either. Mostly, it’s available to those who see and appreciate the beauty in their own life, who can communicate it to others, and who are acutely conscious that this  beauty is a gift. It’s not yours to own; you haven’t made it. You simply enjoy, and get high on the experience and the knowledge of the gift, look after it, appreciate it. Gratitude and grace are, in a way, the same thing, revolving and feeding each other. It’s back to that Law of Attraction trick; the more gratitude you feel, the more you are in a state of grace. The Ferraris and the tennis courts can look after themselves.





About Aidan

The Ecology of the Soul is the culmination of a lifetime of study and practice of hatha yoga and Raj Yoga. Aidan studied with BKS Iyengar, and was a dedicated member of the Brahma Kumaris, teachers of Raja Yoga, during his 20s. The basic understanding of the Soul and God is pure Raja Yoga, but it is the 'ecology' principle that drives the system's emphasis on balancing our spiritual powers. We return to our natural state of happiness, contentment, peace – and power.
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