Gratitude is the state of being open to what is present around you. It's receiving, being fully open — without judgment — to the state of what is around you. Energetically, gratitude is an invitation into the third chakra to take in the totality of the energy of that which surrounds you.
You can focus on something particular to hold that openness to. For instance, you could be grateful for a person and be open to their energy, inviting it in through your third chakra to then infuse you. You can be grateful to a situation and allow the energy of the state of something, as you perceive it, to be more a part of you.
Most people, in their normal state, are in a state of resistance. The amount of resistance varies from person to person and will vary for a particular person from situation to situation or from interaction to interaction. In other words, there is a spectrum of resistance.
Since most people are in a constant state of some resistance there is little awareness of the resistance that they are holding. The majority of people are in a rather low level state of resistance. Moving from that low level end of the spectrum to the more intensely resistant end of the spectrum is noticeable — and that's when it kicks in to conscious awareness for most people.
Resistance can be further explained:
Resistance comes in many forms but primarily lies at an energetic level. Everyone has awareness, on some level, of the energies of what is around them. This includes everyone from the more dynamically energetically sensitive people to those who do not see themselves as being particularly energetically sensitive. This awareness starts on an energetic level and translates for everyone to a mix of body awareness, intellectual awareness and emotional awareness.
Stephen grew up with a mother who was very uncomfortable with who she was and who constantly gave out bursts of energy of that discomfort. As a child, Stephen therefore created a resistance to energy similar to that of his mother's.
Different people create different ways of processing energy that they resist. As energy comes into awareness on an intellectual, emotional, or physical level, each person develops a preference or habitual process (intellectual, emotional, or physical) in how they resist the energy of others.
In this particular example, because of other factors going on in this relationship there was a quick bypass from the intellect straight into the body. The dynamic that grew from that relationship contained a lot of second guessing and mind-muddling. Stephen found out early from the strong reactions his mother had to his thoughts that it was easiest to bypass his intellect and allow the resistance be created directly in his body. This caused discernment to be bypassed as well. Stephen, as a result, created chronic resistance in his body — which has since manifested as a constant state of physical tension.
Stephen, who is energetically sensitive, now walks around in a constant low-level state of tension simply because there is energy around him. You can't escape the fact that there is energy around you if you exist in a human body. He has translated that sense of interaction with difficult energy to needing to be in a state of alert at all times, which creates additional tension in his body.
Applying the concept of gratitude to this would be, in essence, asking Stephen fully open himself to the energy that's around him. However, this is on a conceptual level. It's not enough at this point to simply say "be grateful for the energy around you and therefore you will open yourself to it and all your tension will be magically released". Stephen's patterns of resistance are too fully ingrained within him for him to easily be able to change this overnight into a state of being open.
Since the intellect is still being bypassed — in terms of his resistance to the energetic environment around him — it doesn't work to attempt to engage the intellect again because it will seem to Stephen like an intellectual exercise. He knows already that the concept of being grateful for what's around him is a valid concept. He also knows that if he were to be open to all the energy around him that he would no longer be resisting it; conceptually the two don't go together. The question is how to get there.
For such a person, we would offer the following concrete suggestions:
1) Remove tactile barriers between himself and his immediate environment. In other words, Stephen can practice periods with his clothes off, fully naked and open to the air and environment. Spending time like this on a regular basis, completely open (even just 15 minutes at a time) would be helpful.
2) From this more open state, after walking around in the air, Stephen can take something that is a tactile, soft, comfortable surface (like a soft blanket) and wrap himself with it. The intention is to completely — as much as he can — become that thing. It is an exercise in oneness, in welcoming. He can become, for instance, a comfortable soft tactile blanket that is now wrapping him.
3) After a few times experimenting with being out in the open and using something that has a sense of comfort to it, Stephen can then attempt to become surfaces or textures that aren't as comfortable. He can become a block of ice. He can become a bristly brush — something that's not comfortable. It is about, as best as he can, allowing oneness to flow from his own physicality.
This will allow Stephen to bypass the intellectual hamster wheel that could occur with the intellectual concept of gratitude, and instead allow his body to be open to the environment around him. From this will grow naturally, without effort, the ability to eventually include the more difficult people in his life.
Question: What do you have to say about the more 'new age' kind of gratitude? Where one lists 20 things one is grateful for every day?
For most people in this culture, that type of gratitude is an intellectual exercise. It is not a true opening of the Self to the energy that's around you. It also creates a sense of obligation: "I should drop all my judgments about this painful thing in order to be grateful for it." "I have cancer and I should be grateful that I have cancer because of all the gifts it's given me."
While these statements may be true, making them in this way can lock you up in an intellectual place. It doesn't allow you, in all the other ways that you process energy (emotionally and physically), to truly be open to what you are focusing on. Until you've embraced all that you feel relating to having cancer, for example, you can't be truly open to it. Gratitude comes through your resentment and resistance — not in spite of it.
People try to bludgeon themselves into a state of gratitude, because they think they should. They think that they should avoid having negative judgments about a situation or person.
Ramona had a difficult marriage in an abusive situation. Ramona was in a difficult situation; there were a lot of 'negative' emotions that she had in association with her husband. However, because of the energy dynamic that was created between them, she placed most of the onus on herself. That is not to say that Ramona was not as involved in creating the dynamic as he was, but she had developed the habit of of projecting blame on him and then bringing it back upon herself. In effect, she was blaming herself for blaming. She wasn't truly embracing the 'negative' emotions.
After time, Ramona left the marriage. She was eventually able to accept the husband with all his faults and dynamic and also warmly accept herself — not from a blaming state, but simply by being present with how she was. Ramona not only expressed and acknowledged the 'negative' emotions in her self, but reached a state of acceptance of them. This then brought her to a state of gratitude for what her situation had once been, to the person that she had been during that situation, as well as to the person her husband had been.
Gratitude is a state of full acceptance: unconditional, non-judgmental acceptance. Judgments can be present within gratitude if they are also acknowledged. It is in essence a completely receptive state: letting the focus of the gratitude permeate your very being.
It is because of this that it leads to joy; the word joy is a synonym to the state of being one with What Is.
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