The Four Gates of Advent: No.2 - the Gate of Gratitude
Posted by Simon Parke, 05 December 2022, 1.22pm
Sometimes in the day, we need to step away from the tram lines of our current mind set in order to find fresh possibilities, different space.
On difficult days, we may need to do this more than once.
So, we step off our well-beaten track, which can leave us beat, and plunge into the rich undergrowth of our consciousness discover a gate which might save us.
On such gate is the gate of gratitude.
Meister Eckhart said that if the only prayer you ever say is, ‘Thank you’, that is enough, and his reasons are plain to see. Gratitude is an inwardly expansive emotion.
Like an unfolding flower in the sun, eased from the tight bud, so gratitude releases us from self-obsessed doom and catastrophising into something more open and outward.
Suddenly, we are looking around ourselves, looking beyond ourselves, with surprised delight.
I do not speak here of determined positivity, which is a great strain for everyone concerned: ‘We should all be more grateful! Why aren’t you more grateful? Shame on you! Everyone must be grateful! Be very ashamed!’
Rather, I speak of that spontaneous feeling of thanksgiving that arises within us, quite unbidden; the noticed blessing.
Here is the momentary state of knowing that right now, there’s nothing else in the world I either need or want.
And it’s no work of ours. The gate of gratitude cannot be forced. Rather, it swings open and invites us through – though we’ll need to leave regret behind.
The gate doesn’t allow it through, and it may well be a burden happily discarded. Regret can weigh heavy, if allowed.
From here, we proceed with a lighter spirit and our spirit is best when it’s light.
And so, we leave our beaten track; but only to see and feel it in a different way. Maybe it’s not as beaten as we imagined; maybe we aren’t.
Maybe there is life here.
This gate opens daily, hourly, along the way. It’s possible we could notice it more often than we do.
Our only work here is to notice this delightful entrance along our speckled way.