7 Wisdoms - Thanks
Keywords for Thanks
In showing appreciation we are demonstrating first and foremost that we do not take for granted, that we are aware of what we ourselves gain and enjoy from a particular involvement. By its very nature, appreciation must make a distinction between this and that—the whole point being that the one appreciates the other specifically—and so it requires clear identification of the person being appreciated, and why. It is not only involvement itself that we are appreciating; it is the particularities of the involvement, and the qualities that we experience through it, which makes us feel good and true to ourselves.
We can see that we offer our thanks differently according to the value we feel to express. Appreciation is generally acknowledging worth, whereas Valuing implies specific measurement of worth in relation to something else. It’s rather wonderful to notice that in the act of saying Thank You, both giver and receiver are raised in value. Each feels that something of importance has occurred in the connection made by the gesture.
What we choose to develop is a direct statement of what we value—in life and in ourselves, so we can choose to train ourselves to serve those ideals and goals that we find worthwhile. The cost for this course of training could not be higher—it is one’s life, whose purpose has much to do with the determination and expression of our value system..
Giving is entirely a natural healthy response to receiving—much more an expression of health than holding. A person who holds is said to be ‘tight’, so it is seen that there may be a link between tightness or rigidity of the body and a reluctance to give: a pliant material is said to ‘give’, that is to give way or bend rather than resist and compete. A person who does not give is called a miser and is expected to suffer misery and be miserable. There can be so much said in silence by the exact appropriateness of the gift, and the giver demonstrates an intimate knowledge by choosing exactly the right thing to give form to the gesture being made. The gift itself has magic because it can focus feelings to a point of a breakthrough to a new realization, an admission of mutuality, sharing, specialness, importance...love. We can reach a state where no cost is too high as long as the expression of the love felt has been truly communicated
No amount of persuasive rhetoric, materiality or coercion can achieve as much influence as the power of heart. Love is not any the less strong because it is soft, nor is it impotent against gross forces; it has its own way and its own time, working on subtle planes unconsciously and gently. People who have opened this aspect of their being tend to be quite innocent and even childlike, often with a spontaneous readiness to play.
Yet the essence of the heart is both love and truth, each quality dependent for its exaltation upon the other, so love is incomplete unless it is married to Truth. When strong in our truth—in other words we are not fanciful about who we really are and what love really is—we are able to be tolerant, kind and caring, ready to accept what comes with an open heart. Without such centeredness in truth, we can be lost in a false world, deluded about life’s realities and somewhat insecure as a result, unable to reach the depth of heart or indeed real love.
The wisdom of THANKS
Somewhere in our secret recesses we have kept alive an innocence that was most becoming when we were children. It is joyous and kind, it knows only of sharing, it accepts what is—for what it is, and is excited by each new day’s dawning in expectant anticipation for the pleasure of responding to the unknown.
As adults we may look back upon certain days with profound nostalgia. Perhaps a simple memory of a quiet family day out when a child made a daisy-chain, the rain that fell so suddenly upon the picnic that we needed to dash for cover to avoid a drenching. The simple things are often remembered because they can touch the heart. Thank You is innocent and warm-hearted; it can be so vulnerable and bring joyful tears because of that. It shows in what we value most, and in the atmosphere conveyed in the sincere act of giving. In any situation there can be found an aspect that is worth appreciating: if the positive qualities are not apparent then we can redefine seemingly negative things and learn to turn them around so they work for us—or better—for the greater good. Perhaps then we will come to appreciate all life for its own sake, including the challenges, because they make us stronger, including the suffering, because it promotes compassion and including the disappointments, because we trust they will always be eventually overtaken by a better opportunity.
q21 - 3 questions
Do friends & associates often thank you for your kindness?
We get out of life what we put into it, so a good way to find out how well we express appreciation is to notice how much we receive. It costs so little to show others how much they mean to us yet so often we forget to make those small gestures that let them know. Kindness is a powerful agency of the heart that can resolve problems, avoid obstructions, soften emotional pain and promote harmony and happiness. Ingratitude can leave a stain on the heart that poisons the mind and robs us of joy.
Do you often give gestures of appreciation?
How frequently should we be kind? Is twice a year appropriate at Christmas and on birthdays? Perhaps such institutionalized rituals of giving are important as a base line below which we do not fall – yet surely a smile, a word of thanks, a gentle touch or a grateful glance can be offered more often. It’s the thought that counts, not the monetary cost. A spontaneous bunch of flowers can mean more than an expensive ritual gift.
Do you easily win children’s confidence?
Kids usually know whether an adult has a warm heart. It takes gentleness, sincerity and a soft tone to win the trust of a child, so if we can learn to feel in tune with children then probably we have learned the secret of heart-centredness. Simply focusing attention on our heart feelings is enough to develop a greater depth of rapport – which actually is appreciated by adults too. Healthy, mature adults are not afraid to play children’s games; from time to time it’s good to be vulnerable and let go of the serious grown-up image.
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"Among all my patients in the second half of life ... there has not been one whose problem in the last resort was not that of finding a religious outlook on life."