My mind holds only what I think with God.
I thank my Father for His gifts to me (Lesson 123).
Let me remember I am one with God (Lesson 124).
Tara Singh said that when he worked closely with Helen Schucman at the beginning of his ACIM study and practice, she encouraged him write a daily gratitude journal. For what was he thankful each day? It was at least for a time a staple of his spiritual life.
Gratitude cannot be alien to our practice of A Course in Miracles. It is a means by which our heart and mind are purified of sorrow and confusion, and are thus prepared to give attention to fear, which – regardless of its many forms – is the sole block to our remembrance of Love as our inheritance in Creation.
Thus, today’s summary of Lessons 123 and 124 neatly encapsulates our spiritual awakening: we are thankful for the gift of life through which we can remember that we are one with God, and thus beyond the reach of death and loss. This is happy news!
To know this is to know also that our mind can hold only what we think with God. Everything else is an illusion; everything else is a dream. Our honesty in this regard aligns us with the Truth as God created it, which undoes our mistaken belief in separation as a real event with real effects. Even our mere willingness to be honest undoes the ego’s deception.
Perhaps we begin our morning contemplation with a brief recognition of all that for which we are grateful today, and then offer that thankfulness to our Creator. The One who has blessed us will not fail to bless us now, nor hide from us the truth that blessings are made to reveal. What else could Love do or be?
In gratitude, we remember God, and for this we are more thankful than words can say. In this way, we enter silent communion with all life, lifting in shared praise our hearts to Heaven.
So is this gratitude for bodily things in this existence that God knows nothing of? I’m grateful for the birds and the bees and the flowers and the trees and the moon up above type things, or I’m grateful for the Course and knowing God loves Us even though I still can’t figure out how not to associate with a body yet? I get that prayer isn’t supposed to be these personal, selfish requests, yet gratitude seems to be the other side of that coin. “God, please have the MRI scan come back good” prayer becomes “I’m grateful for the good MRI scan”. I’d love to know what was in Tara Singh’s gratitude journal.
Thank you, Nancy. This was a very helpful comment.
In answer to your first question, yes.
In answer to your second, both.
In response to the balance of your comment – less a question than a sharp obversation – everything turns on the word “good.” Good according to whom? For whom? It’s a judgment, right? Of course I want good outcomes medically but also, what do I know about what the world needs? What if the doctor reading the MRI scan needs to give bad news to someone in order to remember that he can be compassionate and kind, and that rememberance then empowers him to go home and make a long-overdue amends to his child and – based on that amends – the child decides to go to therapy instead of self-harm?
Wouldn’t you, in that case, at least consider praying for a “bad” outcome? And, in that case, wouldn’t “bad” and “good” sort of lose their cachet? They’re a judgment; they reflect a perspective. They are illusions.
We would begin to understand then the actual nature of gratitude – it’s not personal and it’s not about outcomes. Which is really just a way of saying, much like our Buddhist friends, that we aren’t attaching or investing in outcomes. We aren’t relying on OUR judgment to decide what’s valuable, worthy, precious et cetera. We can’t. As Thich Nhat Hanh said, “If your love has attachment, discrimination, prejudice, or clinging in it, it is not true love.”
I think the gift of Singh’s gratitude journal was not the items that filled it but the actual clarity and gratefulness – the clear stillness – that the practice evoked in him and which he was able to bring forth in his teaching. He wrote in The Voice that Precedes Thought:
Gratefulness brings you to an intensity of silence
where the duality of opposites ends.
This thankfulness and gladness is something eternal.
You are thankful to all that sustains life (5).
What is gratitude when it’s not about me?
Thank you again for a thought-provoking comment. I am grateful for a chance to think more clearly about this.