Entitlement and gratitude go hand in hand. In fact they are both sides of the same coin. It is up to us to flip the coin and choose which side is up. Entitlement infers the blindness of assuming that we deserve what we receive. That we paid with the dues of our devotion. That we earned the right of karmic retribution. That we are part of the enlightened spiritual group which brings light and lightness of being to a world and our personal bubble. That we get what we spread with our thoughts and deeds. That sickness and mental disparity are a result of diminishing thoughts and desperate actions.
Gratitude is possible when we acknowledge that we are not the demons of negative thinking and deeds. That the power of appreciation opens the closed doors of ego and illusion of personal power. That the power of positive thinking and tiny deeds of kindness ward off these illusions. That gratitude is a force of tremendous force.
Waking up in the morning many Jewish people immense their fingers in water and recite Modei Ani, the prayer which thanks the Holy One for returning the soul, their soul back into the body after having been recharged in nocturnal journeys. Specific prayers are designed to say before we eat, drink, go to the bathroom, watch lightening cross the dark skies, experience rain for the first time of the season, sign a contract for a new job, travel to near and far places. Prayers for a sick child include renaming the child so that the angel of death will not take the living soul out of the sickened body. Appreciation and gratitude for a new piece of clothing, catching the moment a flower blooms after its arduous winter’s sleep, eating a special fruit for the first time each season, reunions with friends and family from both near and far are included in these lists of gratitude prayers.
For me gratitude is of tremendous benefit to my daily life. It is not that I recount prayers all day and night, in an automatic robot response. The guidelines for gratitude have been presented to me by my friends and teachers throughout the years. Learning the difference between the inclination to the good and the inclination to the bad (Yetzer Tovah and Yetzeh Ra) have helped me to delve into my core being. This secret veil of self reflection while connecting the dots to my thoughts and deeds have encouraged me to express gratitude for all that is being presented to me. I am learning the subtle variations between entitlement and gratitude each and every day.
Let me share the latest adventure in my life. My Canta was stolen last Wednesday night. It was found with the help of Google maps, the security system and the police men and women of Amsterdam within seven hours. Baruch Hashem (Blessed is His Name). I called Waaijenberg, with the request to pick up the Canta and take it to their workplace for reparations. They agreed and arrived within an half hour. Baruch Hashem. Monday afternoon I went to pick the Canta up at Waaijenberg. The ignition was jammed and a new one was installed. Baruch Hashem. Lucky me that I was able to pay for the repairs and now need to fill out the insurance papers. Baruch Hashem. I drove home, praising the people who had helped me and my chariot canta. Gratitude for the quick recovery and speedy work of the helpers. Baruch Hashem. Now I look out of my street window every hour to make certain that my Canta is still here. It is. Baruch Hashem!