"Be grateful for your life, every detail of it, and your face will come to shine like a sun, and everyone who sees it will be made glad and peaceful. Persist in gratitude, and you will slowly become one with the Sun of Love, and Love will shine through you its all-healing joy."
This past semester, my son had his heart broken when a girl he had fallen for decided she liked his friend better and started dating this other guy. Over the past few months he has gone through anger, hurt, denial and loss. He came to me yesterday and told me he was learning to love unconditionally because he had finally come to the place where he wanted her to be happy, even if it was with someone else. He told me that a few days ago they reconciled and were swing-dancing together after they talked it out. I am grateful that my son is learning to love unconditionally, and I honor his path, even when the lessons are tough and the path is steep.
Your ego is always evaluating everything in your life as bad or good according to whether it meets your criteria and serves your goals, but “bad” and “good” often are just labels of the ego. This is easily demonstrated. For example, When the Chicago Cubs recently beat the Cleveland Indians to win the World Series in baseball, everyone in Chicago thought it was wonderful, but everyone in Cleveland thought it was terrible. IT’S ALL EGO! What would it be like if you were grateful when you lost the game because you knew you were learning humility, or if you were grateful when you had your heart broken because your grief was teaching you to love unconditionally?
We can be grateful for all of it. This kind of gratitude helps you to see beyond your ego-driven perspective and see Spirit in all of it. What would your life be like if you were fully aware of the profound goodness of God’s Spirit that is within you? What would your day be like if you knew the depth of beauty in those around you? When you look at your children at your partner, at your friends, your students or teachers, or your loved ones, you can make a spiritual practice of seeing the exquisiteness of the divine essence which is the truth of who they are. This is easier to do when they are happy and acting like you want them to act, but what about when your partner is angry or your kids are arguing? What about when the driver in front of you cuts you off in traffic? What about when your lover chooses someone else? What if you were grateful for your grief and thankful for the lessons you are learning and for the emotional baggage you are shedding through facing your pain and through dealing with your life challenges?
So often we allow our happiness to be held hostage to external circumstances or to other’s choices. You actually have a choice. You don’t have to sacrifice your happiness for anything. On this Thanksgiving Day, you can give thanks for all of it, even for the things your ego doesn’t particularly like.