Lesson in Gratitude

I was returning from home in high spirits. Driving down the crowded streets, I had my scarf, the usual headgear, on and in my mind I was repeating my favorite affirmations. As I waited at a crossroad I became aware that I was feeling enthusiastic – about going home. There was no reason, but I was happy to be at the crossroad. Simply content. As I entered home, my mom was quietly doing her daily evening prayers. I went into my room and what I saw stopped me short in my breath – my bed which was usually more of a double bed was reduced to a single bed. What had happened was, I had shifted a mattress from where I was earlier living into my current house and it needed to be accommodated on one of the beds. So my bed, which usually had an ‘expanded’ (double bed) mattress now had a single bed one.

Immediately I felt a surge of feelings – anger, hatred, bitterness and resentment. I felt defeated and couldn’t vent any of this out since my mother was still in her prayers. I wanted to shout like a kid from whom his favorite toy was stolen. As I simply breathed into all these emotions, becoming aware of the tirade of angry thoughts, I kept telling myself – “It’s ok to be angry. It’s ok to be upset” over and over again. The Inner Parent was talking to the Inner Child. I closed the door to my room and did my anger management exercise – hitting the pillow on the bed and mentally said aloud – “I hate this arrangement!” I felt much calmer after this. However as my mom finished her prayers, I complained and whined to her. She felt terrible. I could see it on her face. We even had a slight argument about how her vision always collides with mine. At that time, I remembered the magic word – Gratitude. I told myself I am supposed to be grateful here – to my parents for going the extra mile for me. Begrudgingly, the child in me was grateful. As I kept repeating the words “Thank You” in my mind, the anger evaporated. I thought to myself – “Can I rearrange this bed without troubling my parents?” The answer was yes. Meanwhile I told her that let me relax a little bit and think this through. Maybe I can adjust with it, or undo the whole thing with a new arrangement on my own. She doubted this very much since the mattresses were heavy. I simply told her, “Let me try”. She kept quiet.

As I freshened up and had dinner and sipped some warm, delicious lemongrass chai, it occurred to me how I had always been fascinated to be a monk and to live a lifestyle of a monk. I chuckled as I realized that if this wish of mine had indeed manifested, then even a room without insects would’ve been a luxury, let alone a mattress! I also had my Inner Master telling me that sometimes we choose poverty so that we learn to let go of attachments to things we do not have, for lack brings more attachment than the “having” of something! I smiled.

Then I called upon my angel of environment and cleanliness, Archangel Jophiel, and asked her to give me the guidance to rearrange most efficiently and easily, as well as disassemble the many suitcases of personal belongings that had been brought in from the old house. Chanting “Mikhael….Mikhael” as I do with every task beyond my physical strength, I got on to heaving the big, heavy mattresses from one room to another. My parents watched, tensed, looking impossibly at me. But I managed to heave and push things along chanting Archangel Michael’s name. He was helping me for sure. Soon I managed to interchange the arrangement and unpack a whole bunch of bags and reassemble another set of storage bags. The four hours of hard labor flew by! At the end of it, everything was clean and tidied up. My parents were astonished. As they helped me wind up, they appreciated me for the intelligent way in which I had managed to get things done and we wound up the day acknowledging each other’s efforts. Gratitude was evident. Happiness was inevitable. As I sit down now to enter my daily spiritual practice, I know that I have learnt a lot with this incident – the precious understanding of what it means to be soft. The purpose of life was never to “rough it out”. There is no courage in inviting a tough route when there could be a simpler, gentler way of doing things. We can invite softness into our actions and words and ultimately ourselves even while maintaining our essence about things. It is intensely, though subtly, rewarding. I remember Dr. Wayne Dyer talking about this and it has made a huge difference in my life. And as I sit here, with an aching back on my expansive bed, I am realizing how grateful I am to have channeled all the high enthusiasm I was feeling before I got home into so much effort. The Universe is the best “Channel” indeed! Fulfillment was an unexpected surprise! And I now remember that at the end of yesterday, I had decided to give up the need to be fulfilled. How grateful I am to receive this beautiful, faithful mattress and bed.  And now I remember my dear maitreyi-guru, Nithya Shanti, teaching us in his first class, that “Be grateful for things you have as if you have just recovered them after a loss”. Wow! What a fine way the Universe demonstrated this! Thank You. Thank You. Thank You.

Love, Light and Grace.


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