This article is edited from a webcast John did in November 2007 on the topic of Gratitude – a Great Attitude. Included are a meditation he led that day and two blessings given by John: A Blessing of Thanksgiving and A Blessing of Thankfulness.
This is a season of thanksgiving, a time we often find ways to celebrate, to give thanks for our families, our friends, our blessings – and experience gratitude for our lives and all that God has bestowed upon us.
In looking at gratitude, I want to give thanks in particular to a trip with a group of us who traveled to Ireland a while back. We’ve been in various places around the world and we always make it our theme to study individual and world peace. Years ago John-Roger founded the Institute of Individual and World Peace, and it is about the study of peace wherever we go.
So along the way in this variety of places we’ve been, we learned a thing or two about how to come in peace and how to experience the peace that’s present. Often we get all kinds of images and references about places because of how we’re introduced through the media, and the media doesn’t always give us a full picture. I think that’s one of those great understatements.
It’s really good to go to places and find things that are uplifting and joyous and celebratory. We’ve also been to places where it’s very understandable that there’s quite a bit of disturbance in what’s going on there, whether that’s political or climate related or something else.
Today, I came in from New York via Rio de Janeiro on my return from our trip to South America where we held several MSIA events with the folks down there.
Upon arriving in New York, I picked up a copy of the New York Times and the headline read: “War ends for militant group in Northern Ireland.” News from Dublin continued, “The largest Protestant paramilitary group in Northern Ireland on Sunday renounced violence officially ending the decades of terror inflicted on the Providence’s Roman Catholic minority. The outlawed Ulster Defense Association said that it was disbanding all of its armed units and would store its weapons beyond the reach of rank and file members. The Ulster Defense Association believes that the war is over and we’re now in a new democratic dispensation that will lead to permanent political stability, the group said, referring to the Catholic Protestant administrations established in May under the terms of the 1998 peace accord.”
In some ways we claim this, we claim this because we were there. Actually, while we were there, the last major violent incident that happened in a place called Omagh, up in Northern Ireland, took place right during the trip such that we were supposed to go through Omagh and that day they were having a memorial service. We had the opportunity to bring Light to the area, even though we had to actually detour from our planned itinerary.
I encourage you to continue to place these kinds of situations in your prayers, into the Light in whatever way moves you to do that, to consider that it is something that overcomes when it’s needed in the world. We have something to be very thankful for and can share our gratitude, knowing that however it happened, there’s something that we can celebrate amongst all the things we hear about going on in the world.
John-Roger has shared a lot about gratitude over the years. I know there is one seminar in particular J-R gave, “Gratitude the Attitude of Success.” He shared that a great attitude is a way of knowing that the blessings already are. It’s a way of claiming these blessings.
Here is a quote about gratitude from a book co-authored by J-R and Paul Kaye, The Rest of Your Life – Finding Repose in the Beloved:
“The antidote for lack is gratitude. Gratitude is a choice, an attitude, an approach towards life. My gratitude for this moment does not depend on what is going on in this moment; it is the moment, regardless of what is going on, that I am grateful for. My gratitude for this breath is not about the breath. It’s that I am breathing, that I recognize it comes from a higher source, and that I am alive. Gratitude is a moment-to-moment celebration.” – John-Roger, DSS
Gratitude is an attitude that sees somehow there’s always something being done as a balancing action, as a learning action, as a teaching action, and that we can find an attitude inside that understands. And if we don’t understand, then we can find the compassion inside. We can be thankful that in some way we can reach out and that in our times of need, others will reach to us.
I’d like to have you do a little inventory about your life and just consider if we realistically went back a hundred years ago. Just think about conditions on the planet at that time. Maybe if we were really in touch with what things were going on and who was dealing with the things going on, we would understand that things are easier now.
If we would bring ourselves into a full appreciation of what is going on today on the planet, we would have an understanding that much has progressed and there is a lot for which to be grateful. Even though I’m sure that when we read the front page of the New York Times or any other source of information that is considered news, it doesn’t tend to tell that story.
We have identified five keys amongst many that can assist you in finding gratitude.
The first key: Observe.
Just look around and find something of value. Anything from your next breath, and that’s something that comes in the moment. It’s not a guarantee. So whatever happens, it’s something to be grateful for. And look through your eyes, look with the goodness and let the goodness reveal itself to you.
The next key: Handle your completions.
This means clear out the things that in some way need to move on, things you no longer want or need. Maybe these are things that somebody else would like, or maybe it’s time to recycle.
The third key: Enjoy living in the present moment.
Just find some way of identifying with what is enjoyable rather than what is bothering you, or not quite the way you’d like. You can choose to enjoy each moment.
Fourth: Be grateful regardless… no matter what.
You can also decide to be grateful even in a challenging situation. Look for the gifts in your challenges. Often there are tests, there are things that happen that we don’t want, that we don’t expect. And so we have a choice immediately whether we consider that something isn’t the way it should be, or choose to be grateful regardless.
And the fifth key: Love it all – that’s an obvious key.
There’s a great book that John-Roger and Paul Kaye wrote that talks about anytime you’re dealing with anything, there’s an opportunity to declare “I love this.” The book is Momentum: Letting Love Lead.
Here are some questions you can ask yourself. You may find it beneficial to write your answers in a journal.
1. What are you grateful for? That’s a fairly simple question. What are you grateful for right now?
2. What do you experience when you focus on gratitude? If you’re grateful, then that’s leading you right in the moment to gratitude. And then find the experience. Is that peace? Is that calm? Is that satisfaction? Is it joy? Is it enthusiasm? What is it?
So the two questions are “What are you grateful for and how do you experience gratitude?”
Here is another exercise we did as partners in the workshop, that you can easily do for yourself in your journal. It has six parts.
You’re about to ask yourself where your greatest difficulty is. Bring some trust in, bring some Light and love from your Soul and Spirit so you’re more prepared and willing to look at where your weakness is and where your greatest difficulty is such that you can turn towards the value, what is bringing you your blessings.
There’s that willingness to give yourself to the truth of your consciousness, to be open, perhaps in some way that feels vulnerable. Find that you are embraced. This is a safe place, a place to be open. It’s a place where there’s loving and caring present. It’s also a time you can let go of any judgments, anything that would be holding in a restriction so that there’s more opportunity coming forward for those things that will answer your needs. And your heart already knows what that is.
Part of it is to be willing to let go of any restriction you have allowed to be placed upon yourself or that you yourself have imposed as some form of illusion. The truth is everything is serving you. Everything is blessing you. So find your wisdom. Find your strength. Find the greater good that is upon you. For all this we place it in the Light for the highest good, through the Christ, through the Holy Spirit, through the actions coming here with the Traveler Consciousness. That it is done for the highest good of all concerned. So be it.
Take a few minutes to reflect upon each of the following questions (and you may want to write your responses in your journal):
1. In what area or situation in your life is it difficult for you to experience gratitude? Maybe a hint would be if there’s any kind of pain, upset or disappointment.
2. How does your attitude limit you? That might be, “My attitude isn’t working, I can’t handle it. I don’t deserve this. I’m not worthy” – something like that.
3. How could you nurture the attitude of gratitude in the situation by being more giving or receiving? There’s a choice in this to adjust yourself to be more giving. That could be a way to adjust your attitude to give more. Maybe it’s give yourself more nurturing. Give somebody else more nurturing. Maybe it’s to receive the nurturing.
4. Forgive yourself for any judgments you have made by completing the following statement. “I forgive myself for judging…(and fill in the blank).” For example, “I don’t have the time. I have to keep saying yes. I can’t say no because no means I’m not doing my part or I’m not being responsible.” So find what the answer is for you…“I forgive myself for judging…,” and finish that sentence.
5. Close your eyes and imagine yourself using this experience to become more grateful. See it or imagine it as clearly and as detailed as you can. As you see and visualize this experience, allow yourself to become more grateful. And become clear how you would be more grateful.
6. Write about how you experience yourself in this situation or area in your life now – now being with gratitude. So keep going with seeing yourself, how you would be grateful and what that experience is like. For example, “I feel relief or less tension. I can feel my heart radiating out to my body consciousness.”
We have another part to this process that takes place inwardly and works like a meditation. In MSIA we like to make our meditations very active in awareness.
Often we do these types of meditations with our eyes closed. But you can do it as you read along. One of the things you can do for yourself is in some way make yourself more comfortable. Sometimes we do things that actually aren’t comfortable because of the wrong kind of message. And I’ll explain that a little bit.
If we were anxious or fearful, then we might double up or be tense or in some way close ourself off to what’s actually in our heart. But rather than take that approach, I suggest you take an approach in which you’re open, relaxed, and you let go of tension.
Often a really good way to do that is simply be conscious of your breathing. Breathe in more deeply. Breathe out more deeply so you’re letting go. And that’s a way of giving up the breath and receiving the next breath. And giving up that breath and receiving the next breath.
As we consciously focus on our breathing, we can relax more, we can be more at ease and we can also increase our conscious awareness of what’s inside past our emotions, past our thoughts where our awareness is very active, very bright in the Light, very clear in knowledge.
We can activate the creative imagination so that we move through limitations that might consciously come to our awareness. We can use the creative imagination to be attuned to the inner knowledge and the greater awareness of our truth.
Once we’ve done that, we just bring in more conscious awareness of the Light. Through the creative imagination you can see there is a very bright light, very pure. Often it’s seen as white light but you can also see very beautiful colors in the light however that works for you.
You can continue to be open to this light attunement. And the energy of the Light nurtures and heals you. Your energy feels relaxing and assuring.
Let’s take a moment for some attunement to those things that in some way are acting as limitations for you. Let your creative imagination work for you to represent what those limitations are specifically.
Now you can use something that is in some way like a junkyard or a place where there’s a lot of waste. This is a place where things are dumped or discarded that are no longer needed or utilized. They are things that are broken down and dysfunctional. So you can see all kinds of things. You can see things in some form of decay, disarray, things that are faded, or in pieces.
And rather than being disturbed by this, you just observe, looking around. Maybe there’s some curiosity about what you’re seeing, perhaps some vague recognition. You can go over and pick something up if you like so you can look at it more closely and check it out.
Let your consciousness speak to you so that in some way these things that you are seeing are representing for you where there’s waste, where there’s some form of dysfunction, a conflict, perhaps some kind of disturbance. It could represent things that are processing in the emotions as guilt or resentment. Perhaps these things represent your exhaustion, frustration, irritation, confusion or other negative conditions within you.
You don’t need to know when or how, that’s not important; it’s just knowing that at some level in your consciousness you’re still holding onto conditions that are no longer present or on purpose for you. You are looking at conditions that are negatively limiting you. And rather than try to understand or know where this is coming from, there’s an opportunity to let go and release the negative conditions. If you would like what you’re seeing to be cleared up, to be released, to be taken away, so the place that you’re in can be restored to its natural beauty, you can simply say, “Yes,” inside. “Yes, I’m willing to be clear. I’m willing to be whole. I’m willing to be in my harmony again. I’m willing to be restored and regenerated. I’m willing to experience healing.”
As you affirm your willingness to transform, this place also starts transforming. Maybe these things just go away and are no more, or you start seeing things dissolve, or they might be washed away, or evaporate. In their place are things that are naturally beautiful, naturally harmonized, things that are comforting and nurturing for you. And you find that your sense of yourself is strong and bright. You are alert, happy, calm, and at ease.
You realize in some way you are letting go of the past. You’re giving yourself permission to forget about those things that have negatively affected you. You are especially allowing forgiveness of yourself and others. You realize how forgiveness is God’s consciousness of grace. The forgiveness is not about what you did or what happened. It’s about your choice to let go and let God and to experience this grace in your presence, that all things that are appearing to you are in a beautiful and vibrant state. All of what you see is preserved in perfect beauty, perfect order. And your consciousness is being experienced as whole and complete.
And for whatever level needs to hear this you say, “I accept, I cooperate, I understand. I choose my life just as it is, joyously and with compassion and caring for all.” It’s that simple, and you know it to be so in the core of your being, in every cell, in all of your consciousness.
One of the qualities that we talked about earlier was the steadfast aspect of how gratitude is working, and it’s working on an ongoing basis. It’s working as something where you choose in every moment – regardless of whether you have a job, or how well that job suits you, or if you don’t have a job – to look at the circumstances of your life, that they still show you that you can be in gratitude.
One of the places I refer to over and over, and I’m going to do it again now to demonstrate – is that if you realize that getting your next breath is in some way a triumph – it represents your own success. It’s a confirmation to you on a very personal level, because it’s your breath, that you’re being successful. It’s a way of saying to you, “You’re okay, you’re meeting the demands of this world. Here’s your next breath. Use it well.”
So wherever you are, whatever the circumstances in your life, this attitude of appreciation opens amazing doors. And I’d just be willing to bet, even though I personally don’t know the circumstances that you’re dealing with, that most of you have had shelter, you’ve had food, you’ve had water, you’ve had your basic needs met. That is a lot for which to be grateful.
And the most important need indeed is love, that love that’s indwelling. And yes there are great opportunities to experience that loving is here and here and here, that in order to know the loving that’s outside, it’s the loving inside that has that recognition, that I see the loving, I am the loving. You know that was the last of the five keys – love it all. So love the all that is your job. Love the all that is not your job or whatever they pay you, love that. Love how far it gets you. Love what it buys for you. Love what it doesn’t buy for you. Love your family, your friends, your self, your life. Love it all.
Well let’s come into our attunement that we like to do called, “The blessing.”
A Blessing of Thanksgiving
We give thanks and we offer up our appreciation. If we’re still hanging on to our limitations, our doubts, our fears, our judgments, we welcome your grace once again and your mercy that lets us offer that up. We offer up also the part of us that would want to hide it in shame or feeling unworthy, that we’re just not doing it in a way that is acceptable or how we wanted.
We ask you to restore us so that we have the experience of being whole again, free again. We ask to be those who celebrate in this world, who see the causes of upliftment, of good, of caring for one another. And we’re thankful that in our midst is that one who we can call to and the sound that is joyful, the resounding joy that is your name, your truth and your purpose.
We are gathered here as those who you’ve sent a redeemer, one who brings a new day, a new life. And in our gathering here we are those who love one another.
A Blessing of Thankfulness
Let’s take a moment here and now to adjust yourself to greater thankfulness. Be aware of your receptivity to both hearing and saying, “Thank you.” You are aware whatever brought you to this moment, including your basic self, your high self, and the genetics that come with your life in this world. Perhaps you could say to your earthly father and mother, and all of their line, and all of the ancestry, that you bless whoever and whatever that is, wherever they can be found in creation. And you send them a beautiful blessing through God’s amazing ability to touch into all of the creation in whatever way they would understand this message, “Thank you. God bless you. I love you.”
And you in turn would extend this to whoever you are related to, and whatever you are related to, going forward. You can continue this blessing in the Light that holds and sustains. We place grace as an angel all along the way, at every turn, as a presence that is guiding, supporting and sustaining for the highest good of all concerned.
And in God’s grace, you can say fully with all of your heart, “I forgive you,” as you take that within and extend it out.
You can also say, “I love you because you are divine.” And I claim that with all of my heart, with all that I am and whatever I am to become. I send it up to God and the Holy of Holies. That it comes forth into all the creation as a great, great, great blessing.
Here’s the video of John invoking the above blessing:
Note: You may find of interest the following items that are available through the MSIA website store: “Choosing the Divine Presence” by John-Roger and John Morton that includes a rich compilation of John-Roger and John Morton excerpts leading us to our own Divine Presence and 24 moments of Divine Presence by John-Roger (1 DVD and 2CDs in English and Spanish); “Calling Forward the Beloved” by John-Roger available in MP3 and MP4 formats; “Gratitude: An Attitude to Success” by John-Roger available in DVD, MP3, MP4, CD), and two books by John Morton: The Blessings Already Are and You Are the Blessings.