The Alchemy of Gratitude

This year, my theme for the year is TRUST. I am practicing to trust myself more deeply, as well as to trust the universe itself. Life is continuously giving me opportunities 🙂

In my quest for self-trust, I have discovered the importance of self-love. Trusting myself is loving myself. Furthermore, it is very hard to climb out of the dark hole of self-doubt if I do not love myself enough to have the power to say, “Enough with this!”

It’s a choice. I can choose to love myself, I can choose to trust myself, and I can choose to be grateful for all of it. The choice is always there waiting for me, but if I don’t have enough of a sense of self-trust, self-love or gratitude, if I don’t have a feeling for what it means to do that, then it is hard to choose it.

It’s my job to cultivate those feelings. I have to find them within me and wake them up and nurture them so that they grow. These days, I am carefully grooming the garden of self-trust, self-love & gratitude in my heart.

Today I remembered Ilchi Lee’s message from the Calligraphic Meditation book. “The Alchemy of Gratitude.” It in, he is speaking of exactly this – the cultivation of gratitude.

After reading it, I felt that I couldn’t have said it better than him, so I have decided to share it here today.

When you read it, I encourage you to not only consider the alchemy of gratitude, but to consider the alchemy of self-trust and self-love as well. The seeds of all of these lie within our souls. We can awaken them anytime, when choose to be diligent in our efforts. I hope that this message will touch your heart and open your mind to infinite possibilities.

The Alchemy of Gratitude

Gratitude is a technique of the mind that anyone can learn and develop. When your experience and understanding of gratitude deepen, you’ll know that it simply means being grateful for everything, in any circumstance whatsoever. Every moment of life will be filled with gratitude, and you needn’t try hard to find it.

At first, gratitude must be looked at to be seen, must be sought to be found. Find something to be thankful for, even though you feel it’s insignificant. We all have something to be thankful for.

If you really think you have nothing to be grateful for, then be thankful you were born a human being. Be grateful that you are still breathing and that your heart still beats. And be thankful that the sun rose today, that a new season has come, and the trees are green again.

If you have true gratitude for even one thing, at some moment thankfulness will rush over you like a wave.

When thankfulness matures, then appreciation – temporary, conditional, and calculating – gives way to unconditional, sustained gratitude.

Such gratitude takes away from our lives’ complaints and dissatisfaction, anxieties and worries, and brings in their place infinite positivity and peace.

Train yourself to be thankful, whatever your circumstances. Let gratitude fill your whole mind so that thankfulness overflows into your whole life.

If your heart is filled with gratitude, you can’t live halfheartedly. You can’t use tricks or do cowardly things for your benefit alone.

When you are grateful, you show full devotion in whatever you do and do your best no matter whom you meet.

A holy mind comes out of a grateful heart. Gratitude is an alchemy of the soul everyone should practice.

~ Ilchi Lee~

Tree of Love

When I was in New Zealand back in February, one the most impressive things to me was the Kauri Tree that I saw in the Waitakare forest.

The New Zealand trip was a meditation tour, so we visited many natural sites and meditated at them.  My meditation at the Kauri tree was one of the most profound.

They call these trees ‘King Kauri” because they are massive and they are ancient.  They are the largest rainforest trees in the world.  The particular one that we visited was 1000 years old.  As I sat there, I could feel it’s great Life Force emanating from it.  It’s bark was a kind of whitish color, standing tall amidst a sea of greenery. As I looked up up up she seemed to be housing so many plants and habitats for different creatures.  I felt like her spirit was reaching up to the sky, arms wide open with love, welcoming all to come and participate in her bounty.  I was in awe of her greatness and I remember having the thought, “I want to be like you.”

img_2330 kauri-2

Then, just yesterday, as I was driving down the street, it suddenly occurred to me that this blog, Healing Tree, is like a great Kauri tree.

As I receive so many lovely comments here and see people sharing their stories, their hearts and their hope, I felt that it’s like a tree itself, where many can come to perch for a while.  Some can take refuge, some just sit quietly and observe, while others chirp away. Someone might take a little nibble of something and be on his way, while another may return again and again to keep drinking from its source. My hope is for all visitors to receive healing nutrients for the Soul from this Tree of Love, so that they can fly off and spread that Love around their lives.

And at the same time, all the little creatures bring nutrients back to the Healing Tree, giving it Life and allowing it to blossom.  All who partake, bring love and beauty back to this tree, amplifying its strength and light.

As I had this thought, I felt tears of gratitude for this beautiful online ecosystem welling up in my eyes.  At that moment, the joy of sharing love and light filled my heart.  I truly believe that we human beings were born to share such a heart, and this Healing Tree community is needed in the world now more than ever.  Perhaps all of the Healing Trees existing in the forest of our global society can someday reach out and connect their branches, creating a web of love and light that vibrates across the planet.

With that, I’d like to end today’s blog post with one of my favorite messages from Ilchi Lee’s “Calligraphic Meditation Book.”  It’s quite possible that I have shared it before, but I figure that it doesn’t hurt to share it once more 🙂  It is the message of Indra’s Net:

Indra’s Net

Nothing in this world exists in isolation. All life on the planet is connected through heaven, earth, and the empty space in between. From this knowledge emerges a heart of hongik, which seeks the good of all life.

Raise your right hand and look at your fingers. At first you’ll see only your hand. Gradually move your eyes to your arm, shoulder, trunk and entire body. Feel your body, which connects your limbs as one.

Now expand your field of vision to feel the empty space surrounding your body. Taking it further, try to feel the people, buildings, and nature around you in the same space.

The stars in the sky seem to be separated from each other, but they’re connected as one through the void.

The maple and fig trees in my front yard are far enough from each other that the small leaves of one don’t even brush against the big leaves of the other, but deep underground their roots are touching the same streams of water.

There is a very beautiful metaphor in the Hwaeom school of Buddhism.  It is said that an endlessly wide, infinite and transparent net, Indra’s net, is spread out in the palace of Jeseokchun, the land of the Buddha. Hanging from each knot of this net is a transparent jewel, and these jewels reflect clearly everything in the universe. Each jewel also reflects all other jewels, so that a wave arising in anyone spreads to all the others, and a sound coming from just one reverberates among all of the jewels hanging from the net.

In a world of beings interconnected like Indra’s Net, there is nothing unrelated to me.  Each life is different from all others in all sorts of ways, but, in their essence, they are all interconnected.

In their source, all are one. People create differences from that one. And they end up confronting each other because of those differences. Since you and I are different, since you are not on my side, goes the insane logic they create, it’s OK for me to harm you.

From knowing that all are one comes a heart of love for all.