Tag Archives: gratitude

GRATITUDE ELEVATED

Count your many blessings,
Name them one by one.
And it will surprise you
What the Lord has done.
Count your many blessings,
See what God has done.

That’s the refrain of a popular hymn sung in many Protestant churches in the United States. It’s a hymn of gratitude – a timely topic this Thanksgiving season.

Focus On The Good

In many churches, pastors urge their congregants to take their watchful eyes off the barren places in their lives and refocus them on the good that’s already present. Some respond by making a nightly list of all the good things that happened that day. Have you ever done that? It does seem to soften the rough bumps and hard blows of the day.

Such a list might look like this:

  • I am so grateful that the business transaction went through without a hitch.
  • I am so grateful that the doctor says my body is healing.
  • I am grateful that I wasn’t hurt in the car accident.
  • I am really grateful that I won $200.00 in the state lottery.

A List Built On Spiritual Reality

Nothing is wrong if your list looks like this, but let’s elevate it. The list above is likely to change tomorrow, and the following week it’ll be forgotten. Meaning, there’s another way to build a “gratitude list” that’s enduring and changeless. Such a list is built on spiritual reality. It’s a list that can be contemplated for days on end, revealing even greater wonders.

As you read the list below, it will trigger other ideas. That’s good. It’s supposed to do that. Let those ideas flow. Sit with them. Contemplate them. In doing so, you’ll squeeze all of the juice out of this enchanting moment of contemplation.

The Elevated List

  • I am grateful to know that despite all contrary appearances, God (Perfection) is the only Presence.
  • I am grateful to know that I and God is one, and all that God Is, I Am.
  • I am grateful to know that the kingdom of heaven in all its resplendent grandeur inheres my very own being.

NOTE: This gratitude is not to a God outside of you for so-called gifts given to you. Rather, this gratitude is another way of saying, “I’m so glad that I’ve come to realize the freeing Truth of God’s Allness.” It’s an exercise in spiritual mindfulness.

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Redirect Your Attention To The Good In Your Life

gratitude-jar

Allen, I’m confused. I read your recent post “The Truth About Gratitude,” and I agree with you. But haven’t you, on occasion, suggested that your congregation members write down what they are grateful for? If gratitude is dualism, why would you do that?

I’m guilty as charged. In the last year or two, on occasion, I have even suggested that people keep a Gratitude Journal, and I don’t take back the suggestion. Here’s why.

Many years ago a man named Carlton fell in a deep ditch of debt. As hard as he tried, he couldn’t climb out. Every time he got his head above the bills, more debt piled on, and he was back where he started.

Carlton read every Truth book he could get his hands on. He listened to tapes, attended church regularly, and followed all the suggestions given to him – hoping, of course, to get out of debt. This wasn’t Carlton’s only problem. While struggling to climb out of debt, he was diagnosed with cancer.

Every day, Carlton did his “spiritual work,” hoping for a financial windfall. One day Carlton said to me, “Allen, Truth is not working for me. No matter what I say or do, I can’t get on top of these bills. But I’m not giving up.”

Although Carlton said he saw no evidence of Truth working in his life, he was overlooking one fact. There were no more malignant tumors in his body. Carlton had no radiation treatments, no chemotherapy, no medical intervention whatsoever, yet Carlton was cancer free.

Carlton, like many others, was so focused on the “one thing” happening that he overlooked all the other wonderful things that were happening in his life. God’s wholeness was evidenced in his life, but he overlooked it hoping and waiting for the “one thing” to happen.

Reader, what would have happened if Carlton kept a record — a journal — of the wonderful happenings in his life? Rather than being frustrated by what wasn’t happening in his life, he’d jump for joy because of the many ways God’s presence was revealed in his life.

This is why I periodically suggest that people who attend my church keep some loose version of a “Gratitude Journal.” Because of the “one thing” which seems to be delayed, I know many who are overlooking the wonderful things that are happening every day.

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The Truth About Gratitude

No-gratitude

The Editor Asks An Important Question About Gratitude

Brenda Becker, the indispensable editor of Absolutely Yours, asked me if gratitude is dualism. I promised her I’d write about it in the next post. What follows is not about gratitude expressed when someone does something nice for you? That’s a courtesy. I’m writing about gratitude expressed “to” God for “His manifold blessings.”

When I read Brenda’s question, I had flashbacks of my first days as minister of the Unity in Silver Spring church. At the close of the service we all held hands in a circle. A man led the closing prayer with these words “We are so grateful. We are so grateful. We are so grateful.” Every time he said the word grateful, the few and fine hairs on my back bristled. I felt the ghost of “ol’ time religion” in the room.

The Trinity Of Dualism

Webster’s definition of gratitude is riddled with dualism. Gratitude is defined as “appreciation of benefits received.” Do you see the dualism? Count them yourself: The receiver (1) is appreciative of the benefits (2) from the giver (3).

In our case, this trinity of dualism looks like (1) God, the giver (2) the gift, and (3) the receiver. If the gift is big enough, or comes right in the nick of time to avoid a calamity, the receiver may look heavenward and blurt out “Thank God.” Is this dualism? You bet.

Why? Because in most cases, the person who thanks God believes God to be something other than her own I AM. Look at it this way. Have you ever bought something nice for yourself – something you’ve been wanting for a long time? Did you thank yourself after purchasing it? Most likely not? We only thank so-called “others.”

Christ Jesus Explains His Expression Of Gratitude

The Abundance of Oneness can never be experienced in the human attitude of gratitude. The two are farther removed from one another as the earth is from the sun. Indivisible Oneness of existence is the reality of Being. Here there are no gifts, no giver, and no receiver. The Allness of God is All there is.

“But,” you ask, “didn’t Jesus thank God when he raised Lazarus?” Yes, he did, but take a look at the record. “And Jesus lifted up His eyes and said, ‘Father, I thank You that You have heard me. And I know that You always hear Me, but because of the people who are standing by I said this, that they may believe that You sent Me.’”

Did you catch the reason he thanked God? Christ Jesus knew that many still believed that God was a separate Identity. He also knew they worshiped Him as a personal doer. He often said, “I of myself can do nothing,” but they insisted that Christ Jesus, of Himself, was the doer. Publicly thanking God was Christ’s way of diverting attention away from Himself as a personal doer to the eternal action of the One Presence and Power.

The Bottom Line

Here is the bottom line:
Gratitude expressed “to” God is dualism.
Being grateful that you know God Is All is not.

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