Gratitude – The key to security
I was recently staying in a hotel in San Francisco. As I was dosing off, a piercing shrill sound woke me out of my reverie. When I realized it was a fire alarm I left the room. Standing in the cold with fire engines and firemen all around, we were told that the eight floor was on fire. My first thought, which I verbalized to the person next to me, is that I am so grateful at this moment that my children are safe in South Africa. The stranger got my irony.
Feeling secure in the world is a choice. We support this choice, unconsciously by placing our attention either upon what makes us feel safe, our faith, trust and hope or our vulnerability and the ever present dangers then determine our reality.
Our placement of attention and the stories that we tell ourselves about what we choose focus on in the world often becomes habitual. Placing attention in ways that keep us feeling secure and at ease with the world often needs to be practiced. The practice begins with the practice of gratitude. Teaching children the practice of gratitude for all that they have in their lives is one of the greatest gifts that anyone can give them and is one of the primary foundations of their feeling secure in the world.
When one is able to acknowledge daily and every at every instant all of one’s gifts and blessings, one will feel overwhelmed with a sense of how much goodness is bestowed on a person.
If one looks at one’s life through eyes that seek to find the good then ones finds that one’s life is being supported and guided at every instant as opposed to being victims of random events. This understanding brings a person to the realization of they have intrinsic value and worth and that events in life can be imbued with significance and meaning in terms of how they invite one to grow through them.
In observing how the process of one’s life has ultimately moved towards good, one is also able to recognize that we have all been blessed with gifts and talents, resources and skills that allow us to be effective human beings. We come to recognize that while we have the capacity for great pain, that we are often subjected to profound loss and seemingly unbearable circumstances, we have the corresponding capacity to recover and to grow wiser and stronger through the embracing and working with the potential inherent in our challenges. We even have the power to put more goodness into the world, because our pain further enlivens us and connects us more profoundly with our shared humanity.
When we look at our live through grateful eyes, we also realize the abundance with which we have been blessed. This moves us to want to give of our goodness and gifts to the world. In so doing our own power gives us further reason to feel secure, realizing that rather than being sitting ducks awaiting fate to deal us a harsh blow, we are partners in creation and thus in a sense invincible. Herein lies our ultimate source of security as well as our most profound challenge.