Tuesday, November 6, 2012
An Attitude of Gratitude
It is November; the month we take time to give thanks and remember all the good in our lives. But, giving thanks is something we can do everyday. Some of the most successful people I know always seem to live in an attitude-of-gratitude, and its this mindset that makes them happy and successful. They don’t find success and then get grateful, they were grateful for what they had, however little, and through their gratitude opened up to receive more.
According to the yogins of yore, we have come into this world with everything we need and nothing at all that we don’t. There is no need to go out and find some missing piece of ourselves (No, Jerry Maguire, you do not complete me!) Nor do we need to cut off any part of ourselves or fix anything, because nothing is wrong and we are not broken. The yogins called this purna, which translates to fullness, completeness or perfection.
However, it is our human nature to forget this. Though tragic life circumstances, family and culture that inundate us with messages of being “wrong” and the deep emotion that comes from being in a body and world that is constantly changing, we forget. In forgetting our completeness, our natural luminescence is cloaked. This cloak is called a mala, specifically, anava mala. The skill that our attitude-of-gratitude friends have to throw off the cloak, is to remember they are not missing anything fundamental and nothing is inherently wrong with them. All of them also have tools to practice. They keep gratitude journals. They say thank you regularly and mean it. They let go of feelings and actions of being a victim, regardless of what they’ve been through. They commune with nature, go to church, and find the Divine in everything. They give charitably and without need for acknowledgment or recompense.
The interesting thing about the malas is they are an inherent part of the system that keeps us moving forward on our yogic and human path. When we feel cloaked, it is impetus to make change. We get uncomfortable, the cloak gets too heavy and it inspires growth. Anava mala creates a desire for more; to learn more, study more, have broader experiences, open up to different people and circumstances. But taken to an extreme it becomes grasping, trying too hard and a general sense of lack and unworthiness.
Know that when you feel lacking, empty, unworthy or you begin to force things, it is anava mala at work in you. And know that you are normal. Recognize the signs of what is happening and re-align; that’s doing yoga. Turn those feelings to motivation to evolve and then put on an attitude-of-gratitude. Look around and see what is good in your life. Be grateful you don’t have to think about breathing or beating your heart for them to happen. You have the free time and a computer on which to read this. You have friends who love you. And, you’re normal. Nothing is wrong with you and you have all the tools you need to live a fulfilling life.
And if you need a little inspiration, here is some from my beloved climbing world.