Gratitude and Healing

Gratitude is a universal panacea in New Age spirituality. “Be grateful,” say all manner of gurus. “Think positive thoughts.” But inauthentic gratitude is really a lie. Heartfelt gratitude, on the other hand, truly is the balm that heals.

Moving from a vibration of ingratitude to one of gratitude can require a quantum leap in consciousness. I have found that for many people who use affirmations, there must be a willingness to tell a “noble” lie in hopes that through repetition it will one day come true.

This technique does work, given time and diligent practice. However, a more immediate approach involves an inventory of truth. It requires an answer to the question: What are you truly grateful for, right now?

The question is not: What do you think you should be grateful for? Or: What do you wish you were grateful for because you know if you were in a state of gratitude you might escape your misery? No, the question is simple: What are you truly grateful for, right now? And the answer can be as small as it needs to be in order to be true.

For example: If you wish to experience the kind of deep gratitude that truly transforms suffering, but you can’t access a shred of gratitude for the experience that has called forth your suffering — not even for the learning it has provided you — then shift your attention to whatever can stimulate the vibration of gratitude within you.

What are you truly grateful for right now? The answer may be gratitude for the knowledge that one day you will be healed; gratitude for the time you have to investigate the question; gratitude for your cat; gratitude for your cup of coffee; gratitude for that one time several years ago when someone paid your fare on the bus when you left your wallet at home. Whatever it takes to stimulate the attitude of gratitude. Once stimulated, this sensation can expand and become the power that transmutes the poisons of the psyche and those of the world.

Smeared atop a bitter belief, however, aspirational gratitude is a haphazardly applied affirmation that prevents access to the psychic wound. To access the wound and to heal it require the same ingredient: space.

Space is a sense of wide embrace. It is saying yes to what is present, even if what is present is something saying no. The more space we can cultivate for ourselves and for others, the greater the possibility of healing our personal and collective wounds. Often people will turn to counselors and healers for exactly the space they are unable to provide for themselves. When we are unable to say yes to all of ourselves, we seek others who have — through their own healing processes, spiritual evolution, or native compassion — the capacity to do so.

Doctoring the soul requires tolerance for the putrid... and a simultaneous understanding that our natural condition is divinely guided wellness. When we can accept that there is a wound, and allow the wound to reveal itself, we can determine appropriate treatment. In many cases, the treatment is encouragement of the body, mind or soul's own natural healing process.