Gratitude – An Open Door to Abundance

Source: How Gratitude Can Help You Through Hard Times, Robert Emmons, May 13, 2013
Source: How Gratitude Can Help You Through Hard Times, Robert Emmons, May 13, 2013

Reflecting back on my life, even with its successes and hardships, I feel immensely lucky and deeply grateful for the love and support that I have found in my parents, my relatives, my loved ones, my friends, my colleagues and even strangers.  So the following quote from the Gautama Buddha seems to fit perfectly: “Let us rise up and be thankful.  For if we didn’t learn a lot today, at least we learned a little; and if we didn’t learn a little, at least we didn’t get sick; and if we got sick, at least we didn’t die; so let us be thankful.”

Gratefulness is about being appreciative of the benefits that you have received that allows us to afford with pleasantness and/or contentment.  Of course, many of us will say that we worked hard, toiled and troubled for our achievements.  It was because of our perseverance, desire and drive that we are triumphant and prosperous.  However, in our egoistic views, we forget the sacrifices that many have made for us along the way.  We disregard the gifts that many have given us without any expectations.  Of course, people who are in our close circles have provided all the right opportunities and have always guided and supported us.  In addition, there are other people who we might not even acknowledge or who even hurt us at one point or another.  Nevertheless, they have taught us many valuable lessons and have helped us understand our strengths, so we should be grateful for those experiences as well.

Moving on further, we should be grateful to our environment that has provided us with the air we breathe, nature we enjoy, water that we drink, the heat and cold we feel, the food that we eat, the birds that sing and chirp, the trees that clean our air and the soil that grows everything beautiful.  The beauty of finding gratitude in our environment is that we will realize that everything provided to us is without any expectations of anything in return.  Does the tree ask you for payment with taxes for performing photosynthesis?  Think about if the earth were to ask us to return all of the ores and crude oil that we have removed.  As humans, we plunder but nature still gives.

Let’s go even deeper, when was the last time you counted your breaths to make sure you took a breath enough times?  Did you ensure that your food was properly digested and that the nutrients went to all the right places in your body?  What about making sure that your heart beats the proper number of times every minute?  So, our body, our senses, our mind, our intellect, our concentration and our spirit are working for us and sustaining us.  But when was the last time you said thank you?  Do it right now and you will feel the joy and abundance embrace and uplift you.

The gratitude that you are alive to enjoy your life is a gift.  It is not meant to be taken lightly.  The more you practice gratitude for every step that you take in life, all your woes and sorrows will feel manageable and in time insignificant.  In general, you will feel more positive and optimistic about life.  The Buddha also elaborates, “You have no cause for anything but joy and gratitude.”  Practicing thankfulness is not that hard, all you have to say or think is that I am glad to be alive.  It is that simple.  Everyday you can also count five things that you are grateful for to keep your mind in the present.  Many people write gratitude journals and thank you notes as an appreciation task.  Those little and big things are all helpful in practicing gratefulness.

For the month of April, there is the observance of World Health Day on Tuesday, April 7.  This year the focus is on “How Safe is Your Food? From Farm to Plate, Make Food Safe.”  So let’s practice gratitude towards the plants, animals, workers and along with the chef(s) (mostly parents and spouses) who have been instrumental in bringing delicious and nutritious food to our plates!

Author: Anjali Chudasama

Silence – The Ability to Touch Souls

Source: Understanding the Meaning of Silence, Mark's Daily Apple, 05-Jul-2011
Source: Understanding the Meaning of Silence, Mark’s Daily Apple, 05-Jul-2011

This week I have been thinking a lot about silence and how it gives rise to a peace within.  According to the Roman Catholic religious sister and missionary who lived most of her life in India, Mother Teresa has sublimely stated the following, “In silence, we will find new energy and true unity.  Silence gives us a new outlook on everything.  We need silence to be able to touch souls.”  If you would like to read further, I have included excerpts of her book In the Heart of the World (Copyright 1997) by New World Library where she writes about the silence of the eyes, ears, tongue, heart and mind.

As she further elaborates, silence is found in nature, where trees, flowers and grass grow in silence while the stars, sun and the moon move in silence.  This universe that is eons and ages older than us regenerates and retracts in silence.  Human civilization has been in existence for approximately 12,000 years considering the Neolithic Revolution as the start of human culture towards agriculture and settlements.  We believe that since we are so progressive and advanced that we know better, we know everything and we have all the answers.  However, the age of the earth and the universe are approximately 4.54 ± 0.05 billion years and 13.798±0.037 billion years respectively.  So shouldn’t we give some credit to what the earth or the universe might be telling us.  How do we listen to these entities that try to sustain us and work in our benefit?  The answer is to practice silence.

In silence, you will see the solutions to problems that have been plaguing you for a while.  In silence, you will hear the voice that has been trying to tell you what is best for you.  In silence, you will feel the energy and the positive vibrations move through you.  In silence, your speech will finally take rest so that your thought process can take over.  In silence, you will finally touch your own soul and those of others.  The unity of your senses, to your mind and heart will be felt as you practice silence.

And guess what, it is not that hard to practice.  The best thing to do is to take five minutes out of your busy 24 hour day to remain in silence.  This doesn’t just mean that you stop speaking.  It means silence in your movement, in your surroundings, in your thoughts and to start actively listening.  It is best to practice silence either in the morning so that your day improves many folds OR to practice silence at night as you go to sleep as it works as a form of meditation yielding peace.  So to practice silence, find a quiet place anywhere; turn off your phones, computers, televisions, radios and other distractions.  That’s it, you are practicing silence.  Let your thoughts come but don’t react.  Don’t say anything or move, just be in this stillness.  Once you start, you will be addicted and you will move on to longer periods.

The acoustic ecologist, Gordon W. Hempton who records the steadily vanishing natural soundscapes says, “Silence is not the absence of something but the presence of everything.”  When you practice this form of silence, you will finally hear, feel, see or touch what was present for you all the time but in the noise found in your environment inside and outside, you could not make sense of it or could not experience it.

As we start the new week, March 16 to 22, 2015 is Brain Awareness Week (BAW).  It is a global campaign to increase public awareness of the progress and benefits of brain research.  By practicing silence, each of us will be contributing to this wonderful campaign and important research as we will realize the full power and potential of our minds and hearts.

Author: Anjali Chudasama

Humanity’s Survival: Compassion

Compassion and the World Source: Dalai Lama explains compassion and the world, 21-Sep-2010, Pswinson,

On this auspicious day of Holi, the Indian Spring festival of colours and love, the 14th and current Dalai Lama Tenzin Gyatso has inspired me to write about compassion.  The Dalai Lama has beautifully stated, “Love and compassion are necessities, not luxuries.  Without them, humanity cannot survive.  If you want others to be happy, practice compassion.  If you want to be happy, practice compassion.”

All of us discuss compassion but what does it truly mean?  Per Webster Merriam, the full definition of compassion is the sympathetic consciousness of others’ distress together with a desire to alleviate it OR in simple terms a feeling of wanting to help someone who is sick, hungry or in trouble.  In this era of consumption and fear, we have chosen financial and technological progress over humanity.  However, there are many people out in the world practicing compassion otherwise we would not be a planet of close to 7 billion.  So we should take pride that as a collective group we are practicing some form of compassion.

However, there is more work to be done.  As the Benedictine nun, author and speaker Sister Joan Chittister, O.S.B succinctly says, “Serving others with love and passion is compassion.”  We can easily adapt this principle in our lives.  It can be as simple as thinking that the work we do eight hours a day is not a chore or a burden but that we are making a significant contribution to improving the lives of many in terms of technological means, in the health field, in finance and other such areas.  Once we consciously acknowledge this phenomena, we will automatically stand up against the ill treatment of others and injustices that we observe.  As contributing members of society, you will be a voice for those who do not have a voice or means to be heard.  Wouldn’t that feel great?

Why do we just have to extend our compassion towards our fellow humans?  Lets elaborate and stretch further.  Nature has always practiced compassion towards humans.  For example, we might all be sick of the snow in the East Coast of Canada and the US but we easily forget that without that snow we might be victims of drought and water shortages in the summer.  Let’s outstretch our compassion to the animals that are endangered, the forests that are being destroyed, our planet that sustains us and this universe where we are nothing but a mere speck of dust when the vastness of it is considered.  It is our turn and time to practice compassion to nature, the environment and the many galaxies.

Compassion should not be mistaken with sympathy because in sympathy we just feel and victimize the opposite party.  There is no action in sympathy but compassion consciously allows you to relate with the other entity in order to help. To practice compassion, all one has to do is change their mindset.  Changing this mindset in turn will allow you to be happy and make others happy.  You will see the world differently and it won’t be a pessimistic outlook.  This compassion will allow you to see and enjoy the beauty around and beyond you in this world.  You will appreciate yourself and others more.  If being happy can be this easy to practice, shouldn’t compassion be a necessity for all of us?

So as we quickly approach International Women’s Day on Sunday, March 8, 2015 where the theme is “Make it Happen”.  Let’s make compassion happen in our sphere and domain of action, interest and knowledge.

Author: Anjali Chudasama