Friday, March 5, 2010
Radical Gratitude & Being Thankful for Depression
(I love squash but will be glad when they are replaced with summer veg.)
There is that very famous and popular Mesiter Eckhart quote where he says, "If the only prayer you ever say is Thank You, that is enough."
I wonder how seriously we take this. It sounds pretty easy, doesn't it? Just say thank you. But for what? Just the good stuff? Just the pretty stuff?
I don't think a Mystical Mastermind meant to let us off the hook like that. I think, perhaps, he meant something a lot harder, something more along the lines of, "Love your enemy."
It took reading some Anthony DeMello to wake me up to the all-encompassing, radical, change-the-world Awesome that is the Eckhart quote.
I can feel the veil of my recent black hole experience beginning to lift, thanks to a lot of dance and talk and taking care and noticing and all of that. Last night, I was reading before bed, and DeMello was telling me that at the end of the day, I should sit down and remember every little thing that happened (or just the big things...whatev) and say "thank you."
For all of it. Sure, thank you for the lovely card I got in the mail. Thank you for the sun. Thank you for my safe and healthy family...
Thank you for that annoyingly slow driver who made me late.
Thank you for the boss who yelled at me.
Thank you for the call from my mother-in-law.
You get the idea, but what about this: Thank you for my depression. What?! This is considerably more difficult, but it's exactly what DeMello and Eckhart mean. This depression is teaching me something if I am willing to listen. This depression that I have experienced even in my youth has made my life what it is today.
Let me clarify here: I am not talking about being a martyr to pain or allowing people to continue to hurt us because we want to "accept it all." I am talking about how we internally react to these things and what we do with them after the fact.
This is complicated stuff.
Yet...yet...how many of us have spent countless hours asking "Why?" This turning it around, this Radical Gratitude, shifts something for me. It lightens my load, because when I say thank you, that Thing that was getting in my way suddenly is smaller, suddenly steps to the side.