The Life Change Expert and Well Life Triber panelist shares his thoughts on gratitude, love and finding our purpose in life.
“Acknowledging the good that you already have in your life is the foundation of abundance”
We hear versions of Tolle’s dictum all the time, but how does it work?
Over the summer, I’ve been thinking hard about this question and how to provide an answer that is simple and easy to remember, but also profound enough to carry the weight of hope and expectation that we putting on its shoulders.
For me, it begins where everything begins, with Love. Love is both a noun and a verb. Love, for me, is the expansive place that contains my ‘soul’, the place of calm where none of life’s troubles can touch me. It is the Universe embracing me and giving me a sense of perspective and enabling me to relax into my glorious uniqueness, but also to recognise that uniqueness as set in the vastness of time, space and all that is. I am both uniquely significant and utterly insignificant at the same time.
As a verb, Love is an activity that I undertake, opening my heart so as to look out at the world with compassion. It is also the action of others directed towards me that I open my heart to receive with gratitude – and that leads us to the next key point.
I am a flawed creature, full of messiness, ego, conceit and petty angers. That means that without some other element at work, I find Love almost impossible to exercise or to relax into. I need something to feed and sustain my loving instincts. That something is Gratitude.
Gratitude is an holistic concept. By this I mean that it is something that we need to recognise in every single area of life. This means feeling gratitude for injury, illness, assault and tragedy just as much as for the love of another human being or a beautiful sunset. I have very wise friends amongst those who have suffered paralysing spinal cord injury. They continue to thrive because they can feel gratitude for what their injury has taught them and for the people who have come into their lives as a result. Obviously they wouldn’t want their disability, but as they have it they embrace all that it has given them.
Gratitude feeds love, without it our loving instincts starve and die.
So what next? What do we do with the love that builds up within us? A truly loving life cannot and will not be content to just make us feel good. It longs to connect and share the warmth of its bonds. It longs to reach out, to heal and to help.
This diagram shows how I have come to think this works.
Firstly, as we’ve seen, there is a direct link between Love and Gratitude, but this impacts on a link between our duty to the Universe and our response to the Universe as it calls us to honour our unique place in its life; we might call this our Vocation. By Duty to the Universe, I mean the ways in which only we can help. Our experience, our life story, is unique. Our ability to be part of the creative life of the Universe is equally unique. We need to be ready to ‘plug in’ through meditation, prayer, contemplation (whatever you call it, I’m inclined to think it’s all much the same thing) and we need to allow our loving instinct and the ‘food’ of our gratitude to speak to us showing us the way.
Our Vocation is our response to the voice of our heart and mind singing in rich harmony with the Universe. Our duty is a way of expressing the responsibility we will naturally feel to give at least as much as we receive, so that Love is shared, grows and heals. Love is fed by Gratitude and a grateful love explodes into our Duty of care for one another in response to our Vocation. Simples!
David is a life coach, helping those who are looking to really embrace their significance in the world; to pursue their passions and create a deep legacy of love and example for their children or those who are close to them.