Gratefulness and Prosperity

Co-authored by Jan Jennings & Dr. Darryl Luke Pokea

Gratefulness alters perception and shifts thought and emotion. When our minds are resonating with gratitude the gate is fully opened to the flow of prosperity.

Try to stop desiring.
Alan Watts

Give Your Best When You’re Feeling Your Worst.
Pem Chodron

Greed is a dam that stops the flow of life itself. The invitation to be attuned to our spirit within, is always there to remove the blockage and restore the flow.
Dr. Darryl Luke Pokea

If we are caught up in wanting, getting to our next goal, being promoted, or buying some shiny new thing; our mind becomes so distracted that we loose the capacity to experience the glorious life we’re moving through. When we stop for just a moment and reflect on what we have and how dear it is, we can begin to fully live in the eternal now. Our perspective changes. Every breath is a blessing; we can perceive delicious smells, the symphony of bird songs, and a delightful feast of color and movement. We can recognize how precious our loved ones are. Our lives become full and rich.
Words and painting, “Open to Gratitude” by Jan Jennings, artist

We are living in times of radical paradigm shifts where the bias and meaning of our words, themselves, are being questioned, sometimes denied, and frequently ignored in our busy life style. Misconceptions about prosperity are frequent and too often associated with wealth. Gratitude is not commonly practiced, but its absence frequently complained about. For me, gratitude and prosperity may be viewed as interconnected states of being. When our minds are resonating with gratitude the gate is fully opened to the flow of prosperity.

Words, themselves, produce visual images commonly assigned to them by a culture. Our culture is driven by consumerism. Our words themselves can be bent in their meaning and conjure up visual images that happiness comes only through consumption. The word, prosperity has been exclusively associated with images of wealth and material possessions. Images on television drive the need to consume and seduce us mentally and emotionally. In contrast, the root of the word, prosperity, means “all going according to hope and well-being.” This is possible when our minds and hearts are reverberating with gratitude.

We cannot focus on gratitude when the mind & heart are filled with desire and want. The Buddha stated this clearly when he said, “The cause of suffering is selfish craving.” When the rich man asked Jesus of Nazareth what else he could do, the reply was “Sell all you have and follow me.” The rich man’s identity was so much attached to what he owned, that he could no longer let go and accept the invitation to an untethered way of being. Clearly, insatiable wanting is contrary to appreciating what you already have. This blocks not only the state of gratitude, but also its companion, prosperity. Both the Buddha and Christ were suggesting radical paradigm shifts in their times for people to understand these traps, and here we are again in our times with the very same tethers.

When you are grateful, you are content with what you have, and that state of mind encourages more prosperity with the necessary trust that the Universe is providing what we need. Being in the state of gratitude, literally defined as “grace and that which is pleasing” connects you with the Divine. This in turn opens you to the abundance of guidance available which leads to prosperity, well being, and ease. Focusing on what you don’t have is a state of mind and heart, which bases its foundation on lack, rather than abundance. Insatiable longing for things brings about a deep underlying despair and there is no room for Divine flow. Greed clouds our consciousness and this blocks all sense of well-being and prosperity.

The more there is of self, the less there is of the Divine. It is important to keep this in mind all the time. The more we participate in the illusion that we are separate from the Divine and from one another, the more there is of ego wanting. The ego in desperation can easily justify taking from others to “get ahead.” All of this limits our participation in the infinite and we lose perspective and our own humanity. Our experience of life itself is curtailed. Peace of mind, one of the deepest aspects of prosperity, becomes profoundly disrupted.

Expectations may become our own worst enemy. What we expect, in trying to force an externally defined prosperity, dominates our consciousness and blocks expansion towards what really leads to wellness and peace of mind. In this maze of desire and want, we cannot even acknowledge what we are grateful for. We are afraid that we don’t have enough and our consciousness is preoccupied with getting what we want. The mind is simply split off from the heart by desire.

Since gratitude must be present before real prosperity is manifested, what is gratitude? Gratitude is a state of mind and heart in which one returns to the healing Divine flow of love that was never really lost. It was merely diverted by the false perceptions of a mind driven by fear, desire and expectation. Gratitude is a state of effortless understanding & appreciation that all solutions to life’s seemingly difficult challenges are being offered to each of us, all of the time. These infinite permutations of abundance are always available, but go unperceived when selfish cravings are predominant.

With the absence of selfish cravings, gratitude can be expressed with prosperity beginning again. Prosperity is wellness of being; being at ease with existence. It is integrated peace of mind and heart. This wellness of being connects us with the Divine and opens us to guidance and understanding that all of our needs are taken care of. We can begin to open to the guidance by saying, “everything is just as it’s suppose to be.” This acceptance helps us to acknowledge that we are receiving our lessons even though we do not see the big picture.

Whenever we follow our mind’s attempt to control people and events, we severely limit our receptivity to Divine guidance. The reason we attempt to control is because we are afraid that all will not be provided for us moment to moment in this existence. To relinquish control, requires courage and the remembrance that we have a choice to let go of fear. Once courage is present and we acknowledge that we can choose our perspective, gratefulness can emerge. The word gratitude, itself, mirrors the ineffable state of awareness that all is as it is suppose to be. Though the ego makes its attempt to control things, and force matters in this world, this cannot be sustained very long. Only our participation in love continues to matter beyond time.

In my work with people who have survived cancer, chronic pain, and other debilitating disease, many have shared that they were grateful for having had cancer. This perspective mirrors their courageous acceptance of their life lessons. They appear to have opened to this perspective because they are grateful to be alive. Their illness serves as a catalyst for appreciating what they have: being alive. It has been said, there are no atheists in foxholes during a war. Those with life threatening events or illness are quickly offered the courage to value all forms of life experience.

By no means are the experiences of gratitude and prosperity limited to tragic illness or events. The transformation that takes place when one allows for gratefulness to permeate one’s field of mind and heart alters perception and shifts thought and emotion. As with meditation, prayer and all contemplative exercises, the courage to let go of the ego, self-gratuitous behaviors, and escapism, allows for gratitude to begin emerging. We must fully be present to our joy, our pain, and all experience without evaluation or control. We are much more than creatures of desire and consumption. With openness of mind and heart, gratefulness connects us with the Divine and true experience of prosperity begins. This is how we participate in the Ever Changing Paradigm.

Listen to “Think Fit: The Power of Your Mind”:

Additional Reading:

“The Surprising Science of How Feelings Help You Think”

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