About a year ago I got an email from my employer indicating that they had deposited a contribution into my retirement fund account. It was no life changing amount – far from it – nonetheless a welcome event.
This happened at a time when I was going through a phase of anxiety and stress. Along with a many other volunteers, I had taken up the task of organizing a meditation conference on a scale we had not done before, and things were not looking bright, to put it mildly. Despite scouting almost every single event space in New York City and New Jersey that could accommodate more than 2,000 people, none were available on the dates we wanted. Some of the venues’ sales teams would not event talk to us. Add to that, several speakers were also not available. Overall, the writing on the wall was very unfavorable and we badly needed a break.
This was beginning to have an impact on various aspects of my life – performance at work, relationships with my wife and family, and my commitments to this volunteer work. So when this email from HR popped up, a subtle sense of gratitude kicked in. It was not joy, and I was certainly not celebrating, but a sense of gratitude arose in me for being given a resource that could sustain my family at some point in the distant future. This immediately changed my mental state, as the constant stress and anxiety were replaced with calm and peace. A subtle undercurrent of gratitude started to surface, like I sometimes experience during meditation classes.
That afternoon I was on a roll. I tackled challenges at work that I had been avoiding, cleared up overdue tasks, and accomplished quite a lot, much to my amusement, all without even a tiny bit of weariness! The difference was so palpable that I could not avoid noticing it and reflecting on what made the difference.
It did not require a lot of pondering. The answer popped up from inside that it’s the inner sense of gratitude. This inner state of gratitude created a poised and composed mind that was capable of focusing and accomplishing tasks. The state of gratitude seemed to be a favorable disposition of mind to accomplish things. The lesson learnt is simple: be grateful under all circumstances.
Now, being grateful for a gift of money is easy and almost natural, but life
is no walk in the park. The real challenge is how do I remain in this state
of gratitude regardless of situations? How do I learn to take miseries
as blessings, and feel gratitude for them? How do I
“…meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same;”
in the words of Rudyard Kipling in his poem If?
For now I plan to do my best by living in the present, holding no judgments and holding no hate. I hope to cultivate an inner state of love and gratitude through meditation, and accept what comes my way. I am sure to make mistakes; I have already made several during the last year and I hope to learn from them and foster a benevolent heart that is grateful for all that comes its way.