Gratitude and Appreciation
Satguru Bodhinatha Veylanswami , 2009-01-27
Free will encased in love, a God given gift. Free will can be encased in a number of qualities; one of them is anger. How we express our will is a key factor in spiritual life. We make sure to express appreciation to those close to us at least once a year.
Good morning everyone.
Living With Siva lessons this phase are on gratitude and appreciation. So I thought I'd read from that.
"Gratitude is a quality of the soul. Its opposite, ingratitude, is a quality of the external ego. When we abide in soul consciousness, we give thanks for whatever we have, no matter how little or how much. When in ego consciousness, we are never satisfied, no matter how much we have. Gratitude is being thankful for life's little treasures, grateful for the opportunity to begin the day where we are, understanding the perfect place our karma and God's grace have brought us to. Unfortunately, it is an all-too-common way of our times that when something is done that is good, helpful or loving, it is often overlooked, treated as something expected. No acknowledgment is shown, no appreciation expressed. But if a shortcoming is seen, everyone is swift to point it out! Not only are they swift, quite often they are unkind as well. A Hawaiian civic leader lamented to Gurudeva a few years ago (Maryanne Kusaka) that people are cruel in their complaints. 'It's OK to criticize,' she said, 'but they should be kindly when doing so!'
"Let's look at some common examples of not being grateful nor expressing appreciation. The mother of two teenage boys works quite hard every day to take care of her sons' needs at home and at school. They take her efforts totally for granted and never say, 'Thanks, Mom.' A wife is faithfully attentive to her husband's needs and supportive of his career. The husband never bothers to thank her for her constant care. A husband works hard to financially support his family, even toiling weekends to earn extra income. The wife never expresses any thankfulness to him for his tireless efforts. A supervisor at work takes extra time with his staff to help improve their skills and advance their position. However, not one of them ever expresses thanks for his leadership.
"Here is a insightful quote from Gurudeva on gratitude and appreciation. 'I have faith in human integrity, in that unfailing 'still small voice of the soul' which each who listens for can hear. We are essentially pure souls living temporarily in a physical body. We can and should use our God-given gift of free will encased in love to make a difference in the world today, even if it is in a small way. All of us making the same difference together do so in a big way. Shishyas should be grateful to their gurus, husbands to their wives, wives to their husbands, parents to their children, children to their parents, students to their teachers and teachers to their students. It's far more effective to praise others and appreciate what we have than to find fault and complain about what we don't!"
There is a nice phrase there I thought I'd comment on. "Free will encased in love." It's a nice statement. Yes, free will can be encased in a number of qualities, one of them is anger. Doesn't always have to be encased in love. Sometimes it's not encased in anything. So the idea is, in wanting to get things done and expressing our will, we can do so in a number of ways.
I was reminded of an experience I had years ago. We were doing some construction up front, some carpentry and years ago Greg Smith, our neighbor, was having his house built by carpenters. And I was staying in my meditation hut out there not too far away and so you could hear the carpenters. And of course, their vocabulary was exciting. But one of them was particularly prone to anger. So, at least every couple of days, something would happen and he'd start swearing and yelling and jump in his car and drive away with the tires squealing. So his will was encased in anger. If something went wrong, if he got frustrated by his boss or by a task not going right, he would get very angry. So angry he'd jump, he'd have to drive away from the job. He was so upset he couldn't even work.
So how we express our is a key factor in spiritual life and as Gurudeva's saying here we can encase it in love meaning we're careful not to hurt others. In trying to get things done in a dynamic way, we're very careful not to hurt other people in the process and we're watching for that.
So, Gurudeva -- in the lesson, Gurudeva says: First we should feel gratitude. I won't read the whole thing I'll just remind us what it says. By writing down all the wonderful things people have done for us and then, be sure to express them through verbalizing them, which is the appreciation part. So opportunities for doing that come around once a year. That's why Gurudeva put in our calendar Mother's Day, Father's Day, Grandparent's Day because those are excellent opportunities to express appreciation. And we can think about it ahead of time and do it on a yearly basis so we make sure that every year, at least once a year, we express our appreciation to those close family members on that basis.
There's even a Boss's Day. And that's a cute story I think I'll read at the end here. In the U.S. it happened.
So, one of our devotees:
"She was quite happy about a new job, in particular the way in which her new boss showed appreciation to her and others in her work group. She begins: 'I really did want to show my appreciation to my boss and what better way than to show it on Boss's Day? I marked it on my calendar and took him to lunch at a restaurant of his choosing and got him some gifts. When I did this, all of my coworkers were reminded about Boss's Day. They too went out to get balloons, gifts and cards for their boss as well. The two supervisors said they did not even realize that it was Boss's Day. They had never celebrated it before, and they were so thankful for everything. As a matter of fact, both bosses were overjoyed that we thought about them, as they have been doing a lot for us.'"
So that's an opportunity, even in the workplace, to show appreciation once a year.
Aum Namah Sivaya
Thank you very much.
[End of transcript]