I recently came upon a major accident on a city street. This was more serious than most; the head of the scooter driver had struck the window of the car, which had subsequently shattered. He lay prostrate, unconscious, on the road, as the emergency personnel attended to him. The scene seemed to pass in slow motion with no one unduly panicked or concerned. They were efficiently doing their job.
It is pretty much the same for all of us, isn’t it? We are essentially statistics, numbers, for the civil service. The bureaucracies tend to us and list our births and our deaths, and collect the trivia, in between — the marriages, children, etc. They are impersonal and never send you or me a congratulations card when we do something good or kind. They collect devoid of emotion. (1) It is the self, therefore, who is solely responsible for perceiving my world, as I have often noted.
That said, an accident brings everything home. It is an example of a suspension in time. As I drive by, a thought comes to me. That could have been me — but it wasn’t, not this time. I feel so lucky, so fortunate. A wave of gratitude washes over me. I give thanks to the cosmos, Gaia or God that my life, today, has not been filled with this kind, or any kind, of carnage. It is important, at these crucial moments of clarity, that thanks be given for life, my life. (2) It is of paramount value, however, that these utterances of gratitude occur on an ongoing basis, not just when tragedy jars us into a moment of reflection. My life is truly a precious gift that I deal with — many times poorly — as I see fit.
We are, more assuredly, careless with time and its appreciation when we are young. The tragedy is that even fewer seem to learn the aforementioned lesson as they age. If they did, they would be excited about life — whether at 16 or at 65. The secret to a dynamic and purposeful life, therefore, is the realization that your time, in this consciousness, is fleeting, at best. And, yes, I do think it is a long life — but not long enough to finish your mission, usually. Give thanks that, at this moment, you are you, you are alive and healthy, and you are still capable of creating the reality that you choose. It is further important to appreciate that life is extremely fickle. Bad things do happen. How I choose to ultimately, respond to these events dictates my future psychological well-being and whether I will stay on my personal path. Given the option, why would you not stay happy and determined? Thus be thankful for your consciousness. The great theologian and philosopher, Meister Eckhart (3) leaves us with a thought: If the only prayer you ever say in your entire life is thank you, it will be enough.
A closing thought: In modern society, we are, seemingly, all so occupied. It is, thus, natural to forget to be aware of the moment. How does one do this? A doctor friend of mine has the prescription: whenever you feel overwhelmed and neglect to feel gratitude for the now, just stop. “Stop where?” was my question. “Wherever you are, whatever you are doing — just stop!” was his reply. I have tried his method — it works! One day, when I was extremely busy and late for an appointment, and feeling submerged in a lake of tasks and activities, I simply stopped my scooter by the side of the road. I took off my helmet and turned off the machine. I suddenly heard a brook flowing, birds singing, and children laughing in the distance. It was surreal — like another reality. It reminded me that I am in control of my reality, not the other way around. I stood still and felt the sun on my face: thank you.
To sum up: This week, we spoke about thanks and why it is important for each of us to be thankful on an ongoing basis.
To be noted: From Benjamin Disraeli (4) — Life is too short to be little. You must enlarge your imagination and then act on it.
Just for fun: W.A. Mozart: Konzert C-Dur KV 314 für Oboe und Orchester
For reflection: Nihilism – Friedrich Nietzsche’s Warning to The World
This week, on your thankful walk, please reflect on how lucky you are.
Every day look for something magical and beautiful.
Don’t be a wage slave – critical thinking is great!
Quote: Today, I exist in a state of grace.