You just lost your watch. An expensive one. Or your cycle. Or worse, your lens which you had bought for 450US $.
What is your immediate reaction? Anger? grief? ‘why me’? – it is natural.
Have you tried ‘Gratitude’ as a reaction? Sounds funny? It sounded funny to me also till about a few years ago. Till I read a little about Gratitude. This is a summary of what I understood. In the Hindu Mythology, GRATITUDE is considered to be the ultimate ‘bhakti’ and in the Buddhist philosophy ‘Gratitude’ is considered to be the ultimate ‘Meditation’. Let us accept one thing – Gratitude and Meditation both lead to a great peace of mind and happiness.
So how can you have gratitude when you lose something? Simply by putting it in perspective to your total net worth. Let us assume you bought 20,000 share of Suzlon at Rs. 22 thinking it is a good share and if Mr. Sanghavi of Sun Pharma can buy it, it must be good. Suddenly the price falls to Rs. 13.40. You have lost about Rs. 180,000. Bad loss for sure. Now put it in perspective – your loss is about 0.5% of your equity portfolio. Now come to the GRATITUDE part – you now have an opportunity to buy more.
FAR FAR MORE IMPORTANTLY – it is a loss that you can laugh it away. Make no mistake – somebody getting cancer, or having a fatal accidents are the real bad news. A financial loss of 0.5% of your equity or about .025% of net worth, is NOT SOMETHING that you need to worry (perspective) and the fact that you can invest more (you have the risk taking ability and the cash flow) makes you feel a sense of GRATITUDE, does it not?
YOU CAN AFFORD TO BUY A NEW camera, a lens, a cycle, a watch…perspective and Gratitude. It is a small loss and you can afford the loss. That alone should put the smile on your face.
It is just the ability to see the ability to see the gratitude in everything that happens to you. You come home with the groceries and the life is not working. You lug it 4 floors. Great it got you a good upper body work out. Is there any point in getting angry, upset, complain, …- other than raising your blood pressure it does nothing. If you looked at it as an exercise you go home whistling.
As you age on you realize that it is much easier to enjoy the new relationships when it is in existence instead of worrying about people moving on. Gratitude that it started and it lasted. It really makes you calm, does it not? Try it.
The idea sounds very tough, almost ridiculous, but in practice it’s quite easy, and immediately rewarding. You just ask yourself, “Can I be grateful for this too?” In my short experience doing this, the brain has a way of coming up with good reasons why yes, you can. The human brain is a magnificent animal – it is supremely adaptive.
Nikki makes an important clarification at the outset: you’re not telling yourself you should feel grateful, only to explore gratitude for what happens regardless of our initial feeling about it. Slowly it becomes a habit. When you speak to God do not say “Give me this or that BECAUSE I prayed to you” Instead say “I am grateful that you have kept me in a position that I could pray to you”.
Let us take my case. I could feel proud about my career, my lectures, my stint as a broker, as a legal assistant, as a CA, as a person helping companies going to BIFR, etc. However, if I paused, I know that I have to feel grateful to God for my parents, cousins, kid, nephews, nieces, friends, readers, customers, clients, students, teachers, great health, enough wealth (allows me to decide how much to charge and how much to work), …and I KNOW that if he took away my voice, sight, ability to stand for 8 hours, ability to think, or just any one of these, I would be doomed. So it HAS TO BE GRATITUDE. Dayenu Lord. Dayenu.
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