Gratitude is a beautiful emotion. Almost too much so.
As I investigated my thankful mind this morning, I found hiding right behind gratitude, two not so noble mental states.
First was aversion. When it comes down to it, gratitude is almost always linked to the realization of what life would be without that thing we are grateful for. As I linger in the appreciation of the warm shower welcoming my body, the thought arises of not having warm water, or no water at all, two possibilities with a definite tinge of unpleasantness. It is that thought that precipitates the feeling of gladness from the relief of not having to experience what one does not like.
Second state is greed. I find it a challenge to feel grateful without also becoming attached to the thing I am happy for. That's because gratitude is intimately linked to a pleasuring of the senses or the mind. Staying with the shower example, I was very well aware of my intense liking of the hot shower. I have been in situation where there was only so much heat to go around, and the water all of the sudden became cold, and I can remember the disappointment, the irritation from no longer having what felt so good.
Mindfulness is the best antidote of course, to keep gratitude in its pure state, without the taints from aversion or greed.
All of the above, very twisted, I know . . .
- Abhayagiri Buddhist Monastery
- Dhamma Dena Retreat Center
- Green Gulch
- Insight Meditation Center
- Insight Meditation Society
- Metta Forest Monastery
- Plum Village
- San Francisco Insight
- San Francisco Zen Center
- Saranaloka Foundation
- Sati Center
- Shinzen Young
- Spirit Rock
- Stanford Ho Center for Buddhist Studies
- Zen Heart Sangha