Cynicism, Optimism, and Gratitude
The other day I was thinking about all that’s going on in the world that could trigger fear, hopelessness, or even despair. Having a fairly well developed cynical side to me—though not even close to being as dominant as it once was—sometimes it’s easy to fall into that trap and hang out there for a while. I heard a saying some time ago that while cynics have a more accurate view of reality, optimists are happier. So, I’ve cultivated what I might call a cheerful cynicism. Though I’m always willing to explore the darker side of my humanness, as a healer I’m committed to bringing light to the darkness while simultaneously not denying its existence.
Though dark and light appear to be polar opposites, in unity they form the Oneness that we often speak about. To experience the unity of all things, you must go beyond words and be present to seeing the illusion of materiality as being the only reality. There are some processes, such as meditation, that can promote the experience of Oneness, but it’s not the only way. There are moments when I’ve been walking my dog at night through the neighborhood when this profound awareness simply comes over me, lasting for a few moments as I pause and gaze at the world around me. Consider how many ways you’ve had this experience of perceiving the ultimate Truth through your eyes, ears, and sensations.
A couple days ago on one of my walks I started softly uttering simple statements of gratitude, such as “I’m grateful for my body working as well as it does. I’m grateful for my family. I’m grateful that I can walk like this. I’m grateful for my puppy dog Sampson.” And so forth. I continued like this for a minute or so then noted that I felt lighter. I wasn’t in a particularly bad mood, just enjoying the coolness of the evening after an especially hot day. I decided to make it a point to do this gratitude exercise at least twice a day for one minute.
When I got back home after playing with Sampson in the park, I got a drink of water, then settled into my office to continue a piece I was writing on the computer. I noticed a small blue stone that was sitting directly underneath the desktop computer, one that had been there for quite some time. In spite of it being there for a few months, I had completely forgotten it until I sat down to at my desk. Right away it grabbed my attention, so I picked it up, held it to the light, and there on the stone was one word: Gratitude. I smiled at this “coincidence.” Or as I’d heard some time ago, a coincidence is a miracle where God remains anonymous. To me it was one of those little miracles that reinforced what I had been thinking and feeling just a few minutes ago on my walk.
I’ll continue to devote some time at least twice a day to stating what I’m grateful for. Try it yourself for a couple weeks. Commit to it and do it and see what happens.