The Courage to Face Ingratitude XIX

Let us conceive of gratitude in its largest, most beautiful sense, that if we receive any kindness we are debtor, not merely to one man, but to the whole world. As we are each day indebted to thousands for the comforts, joys, consolations, and blessings of life, let us realize that it is only by kindness to all that we can begin to repay the debt to one, begin to make gratitude the atmosphere of all our living and a constant expression in outward acts, rather than in mere thoughts. Let us see the awful cowardice and the injustice of ingratitude, not to take it too seriously in others, not to condemn it too severely, but merely to banish it forever from our own lives, and to make every hour of our living the radiation of the sweetness of gratitude.” ~ William George Jordan

I can think of no finer conclusion to our consideration of gratitude than Mr. Jordan’s thoughtful and inspiring words above. It is one thing to hold a higher ideal in thought, intellectually. It is quite another to let the ideals you hold permeate the atmosphere of your living.

To do so you must meet your own objections initially. You must overturn your conviction that “nobody’s perfect” and that we are all lowly creatures destined to suffer and fail. You must withstand the venomous attacks of your critics as they try to convince you that you cannot change. “You will fail. You don’t have what it takes. You could never overcome,” they will whisper in your ear, particularly when your the chips or your guard are down. You must, in short, persevere.

If gratitude has not been the atmosphere of all your living and you are looking to make a change in this direction, you will have some specific work to do. It won’t be easy initially, for you have to separate yourself from the false identities you have accepted (e.g. I am weak, I am impatient, I am shy, I am stupid), which occurs naturally as you start identifying more fully with the nobler aspects of you. That said, once you realize that you are no longer limited by these prisons of your own making, the process can work out swiftly, to the degree that you remain open, patient and centered in gratitude.

Nothing short of the constant expression of gratitude in outward acts is sufficient. Each time you withhold or withdraw your gratitude, either out of reaction to another or subjection to an old and bad habit, you lose ground. Likewise, every time you incline your heart to your highest ideal and give utterance only to the highest and finest presently available to you, you move forward.

Don’t worry about others as you go through this process. They will reveal themselves for who they are in any given moment. Banish ingratitude from yourself and the atmosphere of your living will inspire and challenge those around you in ways that you never could imagine possible while holding onto the idea that a little ingratitude here and there is justified.

Ingratitude, as Mr. Jordan asserts, is cowardly and unjust. It weakens its host, slowly sapping the lifeblood of its victims. Gratitude, on the other hand, courageous and merciful. It strengthens, uplifts and purifies those who embrace it with their hearts and minds and give form to it through their words and deeds.

The choice, dear readers, is yours.

 

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10 Responses to The Courage to Face Ingratitude XIX

  1. Coco says:

    I have thoroughly enjoyed and appreciated this series on gratitude. I think what has been most impactful is how ingratitude has become the insidious currency of most relatedness. Giving unconditionally in the present and remaining unconditional in our memory for we no longer keep a ledger is a new freedom. In reality there is no way to balance the potential so generously given to mankind. Thank you for breathing new life into William Jordans opus, I think he would approve and appreciate.

  2. Doug says:

    Weakening our lives through a lack of gratitude is foolish and wasteful. It makes sense to take to heart these wise words. Thanks, great series.

  3. Kimberly says:

    Up early on this beautiful crisp fall morning and looking forward to some quiet moments of reflection. Your series on gratitude has given me deep pleasure. Thanks and can’t wait to see what you and maybe Mr. Jordan will spark in my thoughts! Great blog – one of my favorite reads!

  4. Beth C says:

    Gratitude as the atmosphere of living- that’s a good way to see how gratitude may work as the background and determining influence of whatever we express in thought, actions, or words.There will always be some quality that will color our atmosphere- be it gratitude or ingratitude. Thank you for this beautiful series.

  5. David R says:

    Obviously the subject of gratitude provides endless opportunity for meditation and renewal of attitude. Oh that men and women would meditate on these things, letting the fullness of gratitude, appreciation and thankfulness fill their hearts to overflowing, discovering more and more inventive and creative ways to fill the world with the precious and powerful essences of radiant love!

    As you so often say, here is a choice to be made, a door set open before us.

  6. B Wiley says:

    Great Series! I missed a few and look forward to reading these on this wonderful Sunday morning. We each must meet our own objecctions to move forward and that for me is a great place to start! You have a wonderful gift of putting Mr. Jordan’s words into this series in a way that we have the opprotunity to see them clearly in our every day lives. I am very grafteful for that!

  7. Brenda Ruppright says:

    What a great blog to turn to daily, weekly, hourly. Mr. Jordan had so much insight that applies directly in our lives today. I appreciate your dedication to sharing these insights in a way that anyone who chooses to read your blog can immediately put them into action where ever they are in thier lives.

    If we each give our highest and finest in everything we do, there is really no need to be concerned about anyone else and anything else. As we break down our own walls, or prison as you stated, we are able to more fully live in gratitude and apprecaition of the things around us and of those we touch day to day. I think everyone would be in a more grateful place if we all did this!

  8. Brigitte says:

    What a simple and profound way to live!

  9. mchoya says:

    Bravo to a life changing series of posts!

  10. Kai Newell says:

    Thanks, Gregg, for a remarkable run of considerations on gratitude. Onward and upward!

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