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Are You Sure You Owe That Gratitude?

Val is a life-long student of unexplored human potential and many challenges that self-honesty throws at us on that path.


Not Every Blessing Requires a "Thanks"

I am reading a lot about this emotional need, and even a moral and solemn obligation to be grateful. From all kinds of preachers to a garden variety of shrinks gurus, motivational speakers, parents -- everybody is advertising this "noble" emotion.

According to its popularity, it really seems to be something good for us to feel on a regular basis -- except that it isn't.

When we come to the very fabric of gratefulness as a habit, we may easily see how it attaches itself and makes stronger a feeling of our moral dependency, eternal debt that we can never pay off, which further dictates a feeling of a submission and even a possible inferiority;

I guess many of you never thought about it that way, so I'd better rush to explain before I get stoned as one ungrateful s.o.b.

And even after an explanation, many of you will not be one bit willing to give up your grateful prayers and that warm feeling of being grateful for just about everything in life. To some of you it may even sound completely untrue that:

The only habitual kind of gratefulness is the one we owe to ourselves -- for all that we have invested in our life, and grateful for the way our mind and our heart have been guiding us along every step of our journey.

So, if this article would be doomed to turn into a monologue with no one reading it past the title, I just feel like sharing these thoughts, even if with my laptop.

But, goes without saying, I will be grateful to you if you stay with me, if not for any better reason but to see what's the other way of looking at gratefulness away from that customary one.

Who knows, maybe some of you may even experience a weight of a moral load imposed by others being lifted off your back.


Why Say "Thanks" for Our Life?

You may argue with me all you want, but we don't owe gratefulness for "being alive". Not to our parents, not to our gods.

It was our parents' wish to have us -- or it was merely an accident, which, at least statistically happens more often than not.

Then, their raising us was their duty, not their "favor to us" for which we would have to be grateful.

And we don't owe gratefulness for "being loved". Remember, when your sweetheart told you that they loved you, you didn't respond with a "thank you".

When we get to our gods, and I say god(s) because seemingly everybody around the world is insisting on their own deity -- the similar applies. Namely, we don't owe Him a gratitude for our life -- unless He would be a deity that we created in our own image, which would make him someone that's playing the games of holding us in debt for what he did for us.

By the way, and I just feel like inserting this -- every time when I call a god "He", I can't help but wonder why that supreme intelligence was given a masculine gender, as if it insisted on this tendency of male chauvinism. Really, are we absolutely sure that God created us in his own image, or we created Him in our own image?

O.K. with that behind us, let's get back to our theme at hand.

Remember? -- gifts are not given with something-in-return in mind. So, if God didn't create us out of a sheer love, then He is not a god; and if He did, then again -- like with parents -- we don't owe Him gratitude for the pleasure of His heart to have us on this earth.

After all, folks, we did not invite ourselves to this world, did we? And, if any of those holy teachings are to be taken seriously, while loaded with imperfections, we were not sent back into this incarnation to have fun -- I guess many of you don't see life as one incessant party -- but to learn lessons that we didn't learn in previous lives.

For many of us it boils down to a learning a hard way.


Humbleness Is a Virtue, So They Tell Us -- Yeah, Right

I certainly hope that, to at least some of you, all this is making some sense, and you won.t start slapping me with your holy book or your moral manifesto. On the other thought, just between us, I love this life, and I don't mind this coming back in as many incarnations as possible.

As for the Almighty Dude (take it as an endearment expression), there are at least some signs that we were created in His image -- as that truism got fully understood by all those in power playing gods in our life.

And, funny as it is, the idea of humbleness is regularly originating from them, as they are taking us, ordinary folks, for sheep, that ought to be humbly satisfied with what we have and grateful for it. In the meantime, that humbleness is the last thing they have in mind in their own lives.

Brings to mind that famous saying from the speech of J.F. Kennedy: "Don't ask what your country can do for you, but ask what you can do for your country".

Geez, it's not enough that we are paying our taxes through our noses, we should also feel privileged and grateful to have a country. They own the land where we have our home, taxing us for using it, and they may even own our life, should another need arise for an idiotic war Vietnam style.

Between them and men of cloth, you get to be called something dignifying as "sheep" and a "patriot" -- both giving you attributes of someone who can't use their own mind but has to be told what to believe, what to think, feel, and do, what to live for and die for -- out of a humble gratefulness.

Well, if any of you feel like being humble, go ahead, I don't -- it's against my religion.


Opting for Satisfaction Instead

For those of you who may smell an aroma of a spiteful anarchism and rebellion in this article -- don't please. All this has nothing to do with being law abiding citizens, or not. We need law and order, chaos is for animals -- even though our laws oftentimes remind of that wise warning:

Law is the spiderweb that small flies get caught in, and big ones tear apart.

It's all strictly about our right reasons, or a lack of them, to be grateful on some steady basis.

Now, before we are done with this theme, apparently emphasizing why not to be grateful, it's time to introduce an emotional alternative, which is actually very beneficial and life-promoting.

It's satisfaction.

As stated before, it's about being satisfied with the positive outcomes of our own efforts to keep our life, our relations, and ourselves in a good shape. The top science of the day is urging us to feel satisfied with all positive aspects of our life -- because by doing that we are attracting to us more of the same.

No, I am not talking about that ever popular Law of Attraction which is actually recommending gratefulness. What I am recommending is this happy feeling about our life, because it doesn't involve merits of anyone or anything outside of our personal space -- which would usually spell gratefulness.

It's about creating and maintaining that high frequency emotion, regardless of any unfavorable circumstances, which, by the principles of quantum mechanics, creates outside equivalents of those emotions.

It's like enjoying the presence of something before it has materialized, already living that reality created out of thin air. In the lingo of quantum mechanic, we are collapsing the ever ready desired outcome from the field of infinite potentiality.

Unlike gratitude, satisfaction doesn't include humility and humbleness, but a focused intent on a life that we want. So we are satisfied in advance of its manifestation. And the more we do it, the more we realize how little we have to be grateful for any of the things that are of our own make.

It's always of our own make -- including the crappy stuff, one way or another.

In that pursuit we are not deluding ourselves that our new reality is already here. We know that it isn't, but we are creating it by imagining that it is. In that sense, we have to accept our imagination as a crucial part in the equation.

It's not about "it is...but "what if if was"...

Thus, while gratitude is about something that was given to us in the past, satisfaction is aiming at giving to ourselves something in the future while imagining how it would look and feel if it was already here, plus intent.

Now, before I round up this theme, a word is due about the times when we truly have to be grateful. It's for the acts of help, support, inspiration, and for the things that we did not expect and which add to our happiness and well being.

We feel genuine gratitude when our hearts are spontaneously responding with it -- not when some social norms are dictating to as when it's appropriate.

There has been too much moral blackmail going on in our culture market, and it may be a relief to realize that we don't owe gratitude for everything that we have been told.

© 2021 Val Karas

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