Reflections on Gratitude - Kritajnata

If ever we were to be reminded that everything in life is temporary, the time appeared out of nowhere a few days ago in Japan. In the middle of a work day, a magnitude 8.9 earthquake (one of the biggest in history) struck. A tsunami ensued, washing everything in its path into the sea. In a few seconds, life as many people knew it to be, literally disappeared.  Such is the power of nature.

Such is the energy of the earth. A sobering start to this article, for sure. 

To that end, how many of us are fully, 110% cognizant of all that we have? If we began to list all the things in our lives that we currently have, we would run off the edge of this page, and many more after it. Yet, how many of us assume that we (and those that we love) will wake up the next morning, arrive home from school/work, that there will be food on the table, a place to sleep and possibly a little hug before nodding off?

Now, our intent here is not to frighten. The intention is to encourage us to open our eyes, become fully awake in this lifetime, and to fully see all that we have. And further, to practice being grateful. To give thanks. To Some One. Or Some Thing.  Whoever it is that you think is responsible for your being here on the earth today.

How caught up we are on the flurry of our today…Everyone is in a hurry. It is as if we are late for our lives. Blackberries, cell phones, computers have so helped to speed up our lives that we are no longer aware of hours, much less minutes, and seconds.  It is life that is happening while we are hurrying. Here is a practice to try.

Take 2 minutes a few times a day, and do the following:
1. Stop what you are doing.
2. Get still. And quiet. Turn off the cell phone, TV, etc.
3. Ask yourself these questions: Where am I? 
    Who am I? How do I feel, now?
4. Follow up with a short prayer of thanks. Thanks for all we have.

There are references in yoga to those times in our lives when we are literally in upheaval. The saying is ‘Kundalini* Stirs the Mud.’ These are the times when the ground shakes, when the carpet is pulled out from beneath our feet, when we are flattened by life’s events. Gratitude helps to keep  our stability and balance in place so that we can ‘sit with’ the phenomena of passing waves when they occur – whether they are caused by waves of real water, or those of the mind – thoughts and emotions. We can prepare ourselves while times are calm, for those times of earthquakes and fear. Gratitude keeps us steady. And even. And smooth.

More next month on Gratitude – a personal story.

Kundalini is a Sanskrit word that literally means coil. Every human has Kundalini (highly potent energy). However, in most humans the Kundalini lies dormant in the perineum, in the first Chakra. Although most people are not aware that the Kundalini exists, Kundalini is well-known by serious spiritual seekers. Most yoga traditions aim to awaken the Kundalini, because these yoga traditions believe that the Kundalini is the power that is required to attain the ultimate goal of spiritual achievement, the union with divine (Yoga). The reference to ‘mud’ brings to mind the analogy that human beings are like the lotus flower (so often associated with yoga) that is rooted (or seeded) into muddy water at the bottom of the (life) pond, grows spiritually through living through life’s lessons, and finally rises above the muddied waters of the pond to bloom into a fully realized blossom….having achieved the purpose for which we were put on earth.

by Maureen Rae, RN, E-RYT