Thursday, 19 July 2012


 My Response to

 How do we begin to feel real gratitude as opposed to something that we do because this is 'the right thing to do'? It seems to me that it has to come from the heart rather than be something that we practice in order to get into a certain mindset. If we practice gratitude because it will be better for society, or for it to become a social norm, or because it is 'good for us', then it just becomes another set of manners, way of behaving, just like getiing children to say 'please' and 'thank-you'.
Now there is nothing wrong with getting kids to say 'please' and 'thank-you', it helps them become more aware of other people's feelings, and that people like to be treated with respect and sensitivity. But it has nothing to do with gratitude. Real gratitude comes from the heart, it cannot be taught, or practised. Like Love it has to be spontaneous and free, and comes when you least expect it. We can become more conscious of the feeling when it arises, be more open and give it space to arise, but we can't make it happen. It surely denigrates gratitude when we feel we can 'manufacture' it by 'Each night before you go to sleep, write down five things you are grateful for'. And then when we start making rules about it eg 'A good recipient doesn’t reject a gift offered', we have completely lost the plot. When you have to be grateful for something you don't want, then that could be called abuse.

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