Love is the way I walk in gratitude.
Gratitude is a lesson hard to learn for those who look upon the world amiss. The most that they can do is see themselves as better off than others. And they try to be content because another seems to suffer more than they. How pitiful and deprecating are such thoughts! For who has cause for thanks while others have less cause? And who could suffer less because he sees another suffer more? Your gratitude is due to Him alone Who made all cause of sorrow disappear throughout the world.
It is insane to offer thanks because of suffering. But it is equally insane to fail in gratitude to One Who offers you the certain means whereby all pain is healed, and suffering replaced with laughter and with happiness. Nor could the even partly sane refuse to take the steps which He directs, and follow in the way He sets before them, to escape a prison that they thought contained no door to the deliverance they now perceive.
Your brother is your “enemy” because you see in him the rival for your peace; a plunderer who takes his joy from you, and leaves you nothing but a black despair so bitter and relentless that there is no hope remaining. Now is vengeance all there is to wish for. Now can you but try to bring him down to lie in death with you, as useless as yourself; as little left within his grasping fingers as in yours.
You do not offer God your gratitude because your brother is more slave than you, nor could you sanely be enraged if he seems freer. Love makes no comparisons. And gratitude can only be sincere if it be joined to love. We offer thanks to God our Father that in us all things will find their freedom. It will never be that some are loosed while others still are bound. For who can bargain in the name of love?
Therefore give thanks, but in sincerity. And let your gratitude make room for all who will escape with you; the sick, the weak, the needy and afraid, and those who mourn a seeming loss or feel apparent pain, who suffer cold or hunger, or who walk the way of hatred and the path of death. All these go with you. Let us not compare ourselves with them, for thus we split them off from our awareness of the unity we share with them, as they must share with us.
We thank our Father for one thing alone; that we are separate from no living thing, and therefore one with Him. And we rejoice that no exceptions ever can be made which would reduce our wholeness, nor impair or change our function to complete the One Who is Himself completion. We give thanks for every living thing, for otherwise we offer thanks for nothing, and we fail to recognize the gifts of God to us.
Then let our brothers lean their tired heads against our shoulders as they rest a while. We offer thanks for them. For if we can direct them to the peace that we would find, the way is opening at last to us. An ancient door is swinging free again; a long forgotten Word re-echoes in our memory, and gathers clarity as we are willing once again to hear.
Walk, then, in gratitude the way of love. For hatred is forgotten when we lay comparisons aside. What more remains as obstacles to peace? The fear of God is now undone at last, and we forgive without comparing. Thus we cannot choose to overlook some things, and yet retain some other things still locked away as “sins.” When your forgiveness is complete you will have total gratitude, for you will see that everything has earned the right to love by being loving, even as your Self.
Today we learn to think of gratitude in place of anger, malice and revenge. We have been given everything. If we refuse to recognize it, we are not entitled therefore to our bitterness, and to a self-perception which regards us in a place of merciless pursuit, where we are badgered ceaselessly, and pushed about without a thought or care for us or for our future. Gratitude becomes the single thought we substitute for these insane perceptions. God has cared for us, and calls us Son. Can there be more than this?
Our gratitude will pave the way to Him, and shorten our learning time by more than you could ever dream of. Gratitude goes hand in hand with love, and where one is the other must be found. For gratitude is but an aspect of the Love which is the Source of all creation. God gives thanks to you, His Son, for being what you are; His Own completion and the Source of love, along with Him. Your gratitude to Him is one with His to you. For love can walk no road except the way of gratitude, and thus we go who walk the way to God.
INITIAL INSIGHT: I sincerely believe that if we follow our Inner Guidance as opposed to believing our ego chatter, we will live a fruitful and happy life. Generally, this is not the way of the world, but it can become so and my part in this transformation is to accept the Atonement for myself. As I have released a lot of ego thinking, I feel so much closer to God and so much happier. I have a lot of gratitude and appreciation.
I am so appreciative to know that I am not a body, that my Self is formless Love, and that it is as God created it. I am grateful for the Course and all other forms of teaching that my Holy Spirit has brought to me in this incarnation. I am grateful for the teachers, the books, all the brothers who show up in my life to help me wake up. I feel genuine appreciation for everything in my life and for all that I am outside of this life. What I am most grateful for is my Creator who creates forever and forever like Him.
I’m learning to appreciate everything, all of life as it unfolds before me. I appreciate that it is always a surprise. I have no idea what is going to happen in the next moment, and wouldn’t life be boring if I did? I appreciate the learning opportunities as well as the pleasant surprises. Though I have to admit, sometimes I need a little retrospect to fully appreciate some of the situations in my life. LOL.
As he often does, Jesus emphasizes that we can walk in gratitude only if we are walking with our brothers and we can make no exceptions to this. Everyone is my brother and everyone deserves my love. It is only through giving that love unconditionally that I remember who I am because everyone is part of who I am.
I used to do that crazy comparison thing where I thought I should be grateful because I was better off than someone else. Now, I cannot even remember how that felt. I mean, what was I thinking?? We are many aspects of the One. How could I feel good if part of me feels bad? It doesn’t even make sense. No one is free until everyone is free.
DAILY APPLICATION: I remember when I first read this:
The most that they can do is see themselves as better off than others. And they try to be content because another seems to suffer more than they.
I saw the truth of this and was deeply ashamed of my behavior. I began to notice every time I had this reaction and felt guilty, but I also began to ask for correction. At the time I was asking that my behavior change because it made me feel guilty, but eventually the correction brought me closer to a true change of mind. Now I see others as just another aspect of my Self.
This understanding changes everything. When a waitress is giving me poor service, I am grateful to her for playing this part in our little drama. If I am triggered by her behavior it gives me another opportunity to choose again. If I am in my right mind, I am grateful to her for helping us to wake up through living her story. In my gratitude, I extend love to her rather than resentment or aggravation.
When I hear someone is sick, I no longer have the thought that I am lucky it is not me, because it is me. I feel so grateful to him for all he is doing to wake up and so to help us all awaken. He may not be conscious of the underlying purpose of his illness or even his life; most are not. But this does not change anything. When someone has more money than me, I am not resentful it is them and not me. That is the part they are playing for all of us and I feel gratitude that they are.
This change was gradual and it came because I have begun to realize that unity, oneness, wholeness are not just pretty words or metaphors, but are literally the truth. If someone is one with me, they are me. What I want for them I want for myself. Also, as I have understood that there is only one goal, one purpose, I see everything through that filter. So, I see that each of these parts of myself is here doing the same thing, each in a slightly different way. We are all struggling to wake from a dream of forgetfulness. How could I not be grateful to each part of us?
I have recently noticed an intense gratitude to the Holy Spirit and to God. I used to have this feeling when something “good” happened to me, but now it simply wells up in me and I am overcome with gratitude. I say to myself, “Thank you Holy Spirit,” or “Thank you, God.” It is not attached to anything happening in the story; it is just there in my Heart. This is true gratitude. I don’t question it or try to explain it; I just enjoy it.
INSIGHTS FROM HOLY SPIRIT: When I was first starting to notice all the comparison thoughts I had, I felt shamed by them. Here is a message Holy Spirit sent me to help me do this lesson differently.
Holy Spirit: Comparison thoughts feel shameful to you only as long as you keep them secretly hidden within your consciousness. Now that you are willing to bring them into the light and look with Me on them, you see they are just thinking errors and easily corrected. Where is the shame now?
In truth, all things are for your good when you choose to look at them with Me. Do not be afraid to look, and do not be ashamed to look. Remember that not looking is how you keep them, and keeping them is how you allow the ego thought system to stay in place.
When you take some perverse satisfaction in feeling less than another or when you feel gratification when you seem to have won this sad little competition, remember that you are the Son of God. You are made for perfect peace and eternal joy and will know this for yourself when you know it for your brother. You are one with God and one with all there is. To what do you compare yourself if there is nothing outside you?
GRATITUDE: I used to not understand why gratitude was so important. Now I do and I see that it is another expression of love and thus a miracle. I give and receive this miracle all the time now.
Today’s lesson is a simple one. We are asked to be grateful today. However, in order for our gratitude to “pave the way to Him, and shorten our learning time by more than you could ever dream of,” we need to be sure our gratitude is right-gratitude instead of mistaken gratitude.
Mistaken gratitude has judgment (comparison) in it. For example, mistaken gratitude might be grateful that my family is healthy as compared to sick, with plenty of food or money as compared to not enough, etcetera.
Right-gratitude has no judgment in it. It is not grateful for one circumstance as compared to another. It is simple gratitude for awareness-life-presence as it is.
Today’s lesson says, “We thank our Father for one thing alone; that we are separate from no living thing, and therefore one with Him. And we rejoice that no exceptions can ever be made which would reduce our wholeness, … We give thanks for every living thing …”
The lesson points out that right-gratitude is healing. That’s because right-gratitude does two things:
1 – It focuses our appreciative attention on truth (awareness-life-presence).
2 – It bypasses judgment, which is a key element of the ego thought system.
As today’s lesson says, “Walk, then, in gratitude the way of love. For hatred is forgotten when we lay comparisons aside. … Today we learn to think of gratitude in place of anger, malice and revenge. … Gratitude becomes the single thought we substitute for these insane perceptions.”
Whenever you experience any wrong-minded thought or emotion today, pause. Focus attention on awareness-life-presence, and let yourself feel gratitude for it. You can use your own awareness-life-presence to shift into right-gratitude, you can use the awareness-life-presence of another, such as a child or a pet, or you can notice awareness-life-presence in nature—in a bird, a flower, the breeze or in the sound of flowing water, etc. Whatever will help you make a genuine shift into gratitude for awareness-life-presence is acceptable.
Another helpful option may be to pause each hour, look back on the hour and remember the wrong-minded perceptions you experienced in that hour. Then, pause with each wrong-minded perception remembered and replace it with right-gratitude.
As today’s lesson says, “Gratitude goes hand in hand with love, and where one is the other must be found. For gratitude is but an aspect of the Love which is the Source of all creation.”
Therefore, when we experience right-gratitude, we experience an aspect of our true Self. We are in genuine right-perspective when we feel right-gratitude.
I am not grateful for a specific thing; I am just grateful for life however it shows up.