Be Grateful For All of It
"Contentment is found in the realization
of how much you already have."
So often, we can find ourselves focused on getting what we think will make us happy. "When I do this" or "When I have that" the mind says, "I will find the contentment that feels lacking in my life." Yet, even when we do mange to fulfill a cherished desire, we are often left with the feeling that something is still missing, and it isn't long before the mind (the voice in our head), convinces us that happiness can only be found in the attainment of yet another desire. This continual pursuit of 'something more', leaves us feeling empty and void of true satisfaction in our lives.
Yet, as the Zen teaching above shows us, the surest and quickest way to feel happiness and fulfillment is to simply recognize, and be grateful for, the abundance and blessings that already fill our lives. This can be done by taking a moment everyday to pause, look around and open to what is happening right where you are; a beautiful sunset, a bite of delicious food, your favorite song or the breath you're taking in this moment. By paying attention to what is actually happening right Now, we begin to feel a joy that is not dependent on anything being a particular way. In fact, we will find ourselves feeling gratitude for everything that shows up in our lives, knowing that it contains the exact lessons that we most need, at this moment, for our our own growth, and thus, for our own happiness.
Of course, gratitude is easy when things seem to be going our way. But true joy and satisfaction can only be experienced on a regular basis when we are willing to see everything that shows up in our life as a blessing, no matter how difficult it may seem at the time. After all, everyone has gone through hardships that, at the time they're happening, were painful, but in the end turned out to be the best thing that could have happened to us. When we remember this, we can begin to fully appreciate, not only the pleasant moments, but also the apparent times of adversity that we go through.
As we open to being more friendly toward life, we notice that life begins to be more friendly towards us. This leads to being delighted and grateful for everything that happens, knowing that it is always unfolding for our highest benefit. And this, of course, only leads to more abundance flowing into our lives to be grateful for.