Truly feeling grateful and blessed can be overwhelming— we are suffused with the abundance of our lives and recognizing, calling out, naming all that we do have. In a world of complaints, gratitude is grounding. We emphasize the present positives in our lives, naturally turning away from past, future, dreams, escapes, and desires to embrace the goodness of our current reality.
But when do we feel gratified, or satisfied, and are those different from grateful?
When we feel gratified, we are satisfied that we received what we wanted, we got what we craved, we sit back and appreciate what we judge to be the rewards of our effort. We feel the sense of appreciating: assessing the value of what we have, what we are, what we are surrounded by, and we are satisfied: yes, this is good.
Instant gratification is not so different from gratitude. When we are grateful for what is here and now, we are present, in this instant. Our wants are simple and simply met, or we have few wants, so are instantly gratified by what is already around and within us.
The sense of relaxation and repose that comes with gratification brings us a sense of belonging. We rest in the present place and time, not-needing to leave, escape, travel. We are free to root, because our minds are not longing for or attached to another way of life. This is what it is to feel not-foreign.
Sitting in satisfaction and belonging can be dulling to the senses; we slip out of gratitude and into complacency unless we open our senses, become sensitive to the subtle shifts of life. When we are awake, keep our rooting in gratitude and belonging, we feel as open eyed as a traveler, even at home.
Sensitivity and staying rooted in the goodness of here-and-now, we are open to feeling and flowing with the shifts in our surroundings. We let go of our need to control, or to escape, the changes and sameness of our daily lives. We can live light-handed, knowing that there is no need to cling to what we enjoy, because we trust that anything that changes or leaves will also be a blessing, a new space to experience with gratitude.
With non-attachment to all that we are grateful for, we open ourselves to living with curiosity, enthusiasm, gusto in exploring and discovering what we do not yet know, appreciate, recognize as a blessing.
This is the balance that keeps us both light and positive, active as well as appreciative. We realize that the space time of perfection is fleeting in the best way: ephemeral, instantaneous, and therefore timeless.
Rooting without locking ourselves in our comfortable ways of being is the state of mind that prevents us from growing old and attached to a static image of what is and is not a blessed life. We stay young and open to growth, which takes time. We have fresh energy for the work we want to do, the becoming that we want to manifest.
Recognizing the blessings of life, we see what is truly essential, and what is nice to have, what is the abundance that we appreciate but do not depend on, do not need. There is a fluidity that comes naturally with non-attachment, the easy enjoyment and eventual release of what comes and goes throughout life. We are free to relate well with the world, seeking and strengthening the connections that uplift our sense of gratitude, and stepping away from what dulls the blessings of our lives.
And when we feel this from deep within ourselves, we realize that the abundance is within us. We can turn our sense of awareness to what is and is not essential in the ways we think, act, and live our our ideas and beliefs. Rooted in our assurance of the blessings of life, we do not cling to our old ways, old dependencies.
We realize that we are free to change. We are free to undo the inner relationships and distractions, to make space to appreciate what we already are and still be curious about what we have not yet become. We allow ourselves room to breathe, room to grow, and the freedom to enjoy our life journey.