Recently I have been thinking about gratitude, and how important it is to experience abundance, prosperity and happiness in this life. I realise that most of you reading this will understand this already. And I realise that many of you will tend to forget that same understanding from time to time. Maybe even most of the time,
One of the reasons why it is so difficult to live this simple understanding is that we live in societies that focus upon lack, and which exacerbate the state of desire. Such is the nature of capitalism . Every day we are bombarded with reminders that we do not have enough. Are not enough. Every time you walk down the street, turn on the TV or computer or read a newspaper of magazine, we are told there is something we should have to make us feel more complete.
There is also an unfortunate side-effect to the dominant ideology of postmodern thought which saturates our media, universities and education systems. These philosophies instill in us the belief that we are deeply oppressed, that someone or some system is stealing our light. And if you are one who is fortunate enough to have been born into privilege via your skin colour, gender or other innate qualities, you should live in a state of guilt, hourly “checking your priviledge.” Conspiracy theories have a similar effect. Someone out there is cheating us, stealing our lives.
Though the postmodern perspective has a legitimate starting point, and it is sometimes true that governments and institutions can conspire against our greater good, these philosophies have now morphed into a pathological form which is greatly distorting our sense of life today.
The greatest problem is that they instil a narrative which places the mind in a state of perpetual discontent, finding the source of its misery in other people, or in innate qualities which cannot be changed.
I believe it is a mistake to begin with a narrative which teaches lack, fostering constant blame and shame for that lack. In doing this we have conditioned large segments of society into a state of angry discontent. This is despite the fact that most of us live lives which are far longer, more prosperous and safer than almost any in human history.
I believe it would be better to begin by teaching gratitude and compassion. One of the best ways to do this is to teach people how to be present to the truth of life in this moment. It is from this point that compassion and generosity arise spontaneously, and then that compassionate state can reinforce the societal and institutional legal structures which promote justice and equality.
Let me conclude by sharing a quote. The following is from Tony Robbin’s book Money: Master the Game. This is a book about abundance, in its fullest meaning. The following words are worth reflecting upon.
I interviewed Sir John Templeton for the first time when I was 33 years old. Remember, he was the multibillionaire who started with nothing and made all of his money when everyone else was afraid, during the worst times in history: WWII, Japan after the war, and in the late 1980s and early 1990s when massive inflation hit parts of South America. When others were fearful, he went out and invested. I asked him, “What’s the secret to wealth?” And he said, “Tony, you know it, and you know it well. You teach it to everyone. It’s gratitude.” When you’re grateful, there is no fear; when you’re grateful, there is no anger. Sir John was one of the happiest and most fulfilled human beings I have ever known. Even though he passed in 2008, all these years later his life continues to inspire others. If you want to be rich, start rich.
What can you be grateful for today? Who can you be grateful for today? Could you even be grateful for some of the problems and the pain that you’ve been through in your life? What if you took on the new belief that everything in life happens for a reason and a purpose, and it serves you? What if you believed in your heart of hearts that life doesn’t happen to you, it happens for you? That every step along the way is helping strengthen you so that you can become more, enjoy more, and give more. If you’ll start from that place, money won’t be the source of your pleasure or your pain. Making money will just be a fun journey of mastery, and wealth a great vehicle to achieve what matters most in life.