Let gratitude be the pillow upon which you kneel to say your nightly prayer.
I grew up in Malaysia, a multi-cultural country. Many different religions have learned how to coexist with each other in the same space. It is the only way to create peace amongst differences.
You will find Buddhist temple located right across the street from the mosque. Church is just around the corner from the Hindhu shrine. It is an amazing sight.
When I was still living in Malaysia, I had the opportunity to learn about many different religions. I attended sunday bible classes as a child and went for a strange religious camp that still fascinates me until today.
I have silently observed people’s whole hearted faith in the place of worship. I sat next to my Muslim friend and witness her faith breathing through her life. You see, I have always been curious about where people are finding grace and faith.
Grace is not knowledge or reason but rather, grace is the amount of light in our souls.
~ Pope Francis
Deepak Chopra and Oprah Winfrey recently launched a movement called Manifesting Grace through Gratitude. According to Deepak, if you can learn being grateful, you find your grace.
There are three things I learned from the day 1 meditation exercise from Manifesting Grace through Gratitude. They have been useful for my understanding about finding grace and being grateful.
My first lesson:
Grace can be about how you carry yourself with inner dignity and an air of beauty. It can be about bestowing a gift or favor. There is grace when you forgive someone else or show mercy.
~ Deepak Chopra
I remember some people in my life that I think are graceful. They walk, speak and breathe with the air of lightness. They get through hard times by being grateful.
Grace shows itself when you can let go and give. You give when you have enough of something. If you have abundance in your life, you will feel the urge to give to others and forgive others mistakes.
When you do that, you will feel a sense of lightness. When you start finding grace, nothing will ever be the same again.
My second lesson:
Gratitude is like a secret key that shifts your awareness.
~ Deepak Chopra
Now you wonder, if you are aware about the existence of grace, why isn’t your life filled with grace? The world exists in your consciousness through your perception of things that happen to you. You will see the goodness in life if you learn to notice the little moments in your life.
Imagine there two of the same ‘you’ going through the same morning routine. You will be commuting to work the way you always do. Your head is full of things you need to do in the office, your child care duty and the endless amount of chores that await you at home. Your mind is full of thoughts and worries.
On the other hand, the other you is also commuting to work the same way. The other you has the same long list of things to be done that day. But in your mind, you are looking at the beauty of sunrise and the abundance of energy from the busy streets. You are feeling grateful about the beauty in your life. You are seeing the manifestation of grace.
There is also an invisible space in your life for grace. When you start being grateful, you are expanding this invisible space for grace and surrounding yourself with bliss.
My third lesson:
Gratitude changes your relationship with life as an attitude of rejecting and defending to one of acceptance and appreciation.
~ Deepak Chopra
According to Harvard Health publication, several researchers have been looking into the impact of being grateful in people’s lives. These research found out that gratitude can improve relationships and make positive impacts in many aspects of your life.
Gratitude is an act that requires practice physically and emotionally. You can practice gratitude by repeating physical act of acceptance and appreciation everyday.
When you take actions of being grateful, you unlock your emotions for gratitude and grace. You will slowly feel the presence of gratitude and you will eventually finding grace in your life.
As part of my meditation homework, here are the five people I am grateful for and the reasons why:
- My dad: I am grateful for the strength and inspiration he brought into my life. His dedication as a teacher has been inspiring me to give.
- My mom: I am grateful for the selflessness my mom shows to my family. Her priority never wavers even after I moved away.
- My sister, Synn: I am grateful for the trust and confidence my sister has in me. When I doubt my ability, she will always be the first to shut it down. There were many times when she was just so convincing that I would believe in myself through her confidence in me.
- My wife, Charmaine: I am grateful for the love and 100% commitment my wife has in our marriage. We have been through tough times in the last few years. No matter what the external voices were, she would always stand by me.
- My friend, Shu Yiing: I am grateful for her never stop asking ‘why’ when I came up with excuses. She would never accept anything less than my very best from me. Thank you.
Grace is a very abstract state of presence. To me, grace means the strength to let go and live in gratitude.
What does grace mean to you? What is the one thing you do when you feel grateful? How do you practice gratitude on a bad day?