The Speech Series – Gratitude
A Small Suggestion
For this edition of The Speech Series I have a suggestion. Instead of learning to observe your thoughts or trying to control you mind, why not try gratitude training? Gratitude will help you to be thankful in every situation and is a technique that can help to keep you grounded during the highest of highs and optimistic during the lowest of lows. Gratitude is a direct way of training yourself to say thank you and it gives you a beautiful perspective of life. What you once thought as negative will be looked at through a different lens. Gratitude offers a beautiful view of your life and it can be implemented quite easily.
I hope you enjoy this very short speech, the transcript of which is located below.
“Good Morning Ladies and Gentlemen
I’d like to begin with a quote from Mark Twain.
“Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to pause and reflect” – Mark Twain
Truthfully, you probably don’t want to be here at 8 AM on a Tuesday morning and that is understandable. I wouldn’t want to have to listen to me either so I don’t blame you…. As time progresses and our lives become more hectic – schoolwork piles up, tasks become more plentiful and we are always busy. When someone asks you how you’re doing, the reply is mostly “busy”, as if busy is some sort of badge of honor – a sign that you’re working hard. And although this has become the default reply for many of us, it is often factual. Our lives have become hectic and engulfed in tweets, instant messages, school work, planning, partying etc. you name it, we do it and it takes much time out of our day, but this is all part of living right? Of course, it is all part of living, but there’s a better way to attack all these daily “problems”.
Today, I’d like to talk about gratitude and what it can do for you. Gratitude might sound like some sort of woo-woo, new age type thing but it isn’t. Gratitude really works.
Firstly, gratitude need not be restricted to religion and you don’t need to pray to a god or thank a god for your life. I do not practice any religion and I can see the benefits of gratitude in my life. Although I do not practice, or even believe in religion, I do see the benefits it can have in a person’s life, but I do believe there isn’t only one way to tackle a problem. Gratitude can come in many forms. You can express gratitude by having a quiet word with yourself, expressing it verbally with your peers, or simply through kind gestures, which you pay fellow humans. I do believe that to live the most fulfilling and beautiful life on this planet, we do not need outer or inner conflicts in our lives. As we navigate the rivers of life, there are many tributaries that we can take. We can go left or right, upstream or downstream but they all lead to the same place, the sea, which in metaphorical terms is our final resting place, death. And thinking about death, or even speaking about death might scare some people. This is perfectly understandable as the unknown is scary, but one thing is for sure; while we are conscious beings on this planet, we need to be as kind to ourselves and our fellow citizens as humanly possible.
Truthfully, gratitude is nothing more than training the mind to see the best in every situation.
I would like to use a simple story of a friend of mine who is a fellow author and much further down the road of understanding his consciousness than me. Paul, a very intelligent guy once told me the story of his meditation practice. Paul allowed himself the luxury of sitting, undisturbed, every day after work for 45 minutes to an hour. But one day he noticed something while he was working and coming to the end of his shift. He was noticing himself looking forward to his meditation practice in an hours time. What this made him realize is that the act of meditation and appreciation of the present moment is not only restricted to the time you are meditating because if that’s the case, you’re wasting your time. At this very moment when he reached this point of understanding while doing his job he understood that life is meditation and meditation is life. What exactly does this mean? He understood that his meditation practice was to help him appreciate the present moment therefore he should appreciate the present moment all day every day, even when doing the most monotonous of tasks. While in work, he could be meditating simply by appreciating and so on. This story is simple and it teaches us that life is often lived but not enjoyed and so, we continue through life, victims of a progressively lopsided culture that values achievement over appreciation.
As each of us travels through life, we often find ourselves caught in a whirlwind that life can sometimes be. My small bit of advice to you would be, everytime you find yourself caught in this whirlwind, pause and take the time out of your day to appreciate. No matter how difficult life may seem, there’s always someone out there who has it more difficult that you or me. When you’re stressed over school, pause and see that the opportunity is once in a lifetime and appreciate every moment of it. Not only is school a privilege, but so is life and learning to appreciate it makes it all that more beautiful.