Ask Parvati 32: Gratitude, The Action Of Grace – Part 4: Thanking Adversity

BY Parvati


(Continued from Thanking Illness)

We would all love our lives to flow. Experiencing green lights along our path feels smooth and effortless and can give us a sense of being on path. Yet we all have bumps along the way at some point. We often tend to see adversity through a black and white lens: seeing obstacles and challenges as a sign of failure, or seeing them as some mysterious blessing we yet have to uncover. We can may hope to learn from our mistakes but feel unsure how. We can also believe that there are no mistakes, that all is good, in denial of our responsibility in our happenings. But what if practicing gratitude for what is, shows us something beyond these polarities?

It is my belief that we are constantly supported by a much greater whole while our consciousness goes through a process of refinement. As I explored in my last blog entries on creating our reality, what we experience is a reflection of our thoughts. So if we do not like our life, we need to change our beliefs and refine our state of consciousness.

Many people can take a downer approach and berate their life and inwardly fight what is, in some frustrated effort to change. That kind of judgemental and tense attitude will create suffering. Others may take what I would call a bit more of a denial approach and say that all that happens is ok. What if what happens is a reflection of our thoughts, and is also grace? What if what we experience mirrors back to us our tendencies – and because of that mirror we have the grace to
see it? So, what is, is both a reflection of our distortions, our erroneous perceptions, and a reflection of the love that there is for us throughout the universe. If we see what is through the lens of gratitude, we can see that we are both learning and fully supported.

When we have this grateful attitude in each moment, we can meet what is as both an opportunity to see ourselves more clearly and full of all the loving guidance we need to help us grow. Both are true. It is not balanced to say that life is a cold mirror that reflects back to us a harsh reality in which we can punitively judge our skills. Nor is it balanced to see life as a gooey, all-accepting playing field. There
is personal responsibility and guidance. There is free will and grace. Grace is always holding our capacity for free will. We must open ourselves to see it. Even when our free will moves us in a direction that causes us pain, we have an opportunity, due to grace, to see that which is as lovingly guiding us to wholeness.

My guru Amma shares a story about a man who is running along a field at full speed. He steps on a thorn and curses it, wondering why God has punished him this way. What the man does not see is the cliff he was heading towards, where he would have come to an untimely death. The thorn he curses saved his life.

When we begin to feel grateful for all that is, we meet life in its fullest expression. We see that everything is part of a greater, loving whole, supporting us both to learn and to grow as we return back to the One state of pure undivided consciousness. We are both guided and personally responsible. We are rooted in our sense of self, vital to mobilize and interact with life, and expansive to meet what is as a reflection of who we are so we may embody our fullest potential.

When we meet adversity with humility and receptivity, we can find gratitude even there. Though our feeling of gratitude, we find an internal freedom that brings us all the wealth, joy and wonder we had been seeking all along.

May your life be full of such abundance, joy and blessings.

May you feel grateful for the life you have and share your unique gifts with the world.


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