Getting GladderPosted: February 5, 2014 | |
A friend, who was born in 1908, taught me to say, “Another day to be glad in” the first thing every morning. She learned it from her mother who was born around 1880. I now teach it to people who were born in the 1990’s. That’s how wisdom grows, expands and evolves.
Some people are certain life is getting worse, not better. They talk about the “good old days” when life was simpler and better. Some believe in places like Shangri-La, ignoring the fact that the old movie is Hollywood fiction. Other people believe in lost islands of perfection such as Atlantis where everyone was spiritually advanced.
Actually, life is getting better all the time because we gain wisdom as we age and we learn from our mistakes. We impart that wisdom to the next generation. Individual lives vary but in general, we are living better now than we did in the past.
Being a caveman or woman makes good reading in the funny papers but there was no fire to keep us warm or cook our possums. And can you imagine childbirth in the Middle Ages? How about illness before we knew about germs?
There were some dreadful side effects to the industrial revolution but we enjoy the inventions the Age of Progress brought. Technology has improved many things. In my lifetime, I have seen so many labor saving and entertainment devices introduced to my home that it is hard to count them all. I once lived without TV and hung my clothes on outdoor lines.
Our emotional and spiritual natures have also improved. There was a time when theologians seriously doubted if women had souls and witches were burned at an astonishing rate. Only men could speak in church and women had to wear hats so their flowing locks wouldn’t tempt the men.
It’s fun to daydream about Somewhere Over The Rainbow where troubles melt like lemon drops but it simply isn’t true. Life was harder in the old days.
We are much better off today. Travel is easier. Food is better. Health is better. Our collective wisdom has improved things. Slavery may not be totally eradicated but it is rare and considered criminal instead of normal. Child labor is frowned on everywhere and usually against the law. Thank God we educate girls in nearly every part of the world.
I also believe that people are growing wiser and kinder every day. Think about it. Aren’t you growing more loving and less judgmental as you mature? Aren’t you more interested in others than you were as a self-centered teenager?When life is longer and gentler, it follows that people treat each other better.
Ancient Egypt was supposed to be the seat of all spiritual wisdom but it was a brutal place for the average man who lived to be 35. Longevity enables us to mature spiritually. The phrase “We are one,” takes on deeper meaning when we have young loved ones. Every age brings special joys.
We tend to glorify childhood but if you watch the park playground, you will notice that children are just learning to share. In fact, sharing is a major part of the kindergarten curriculum. Yes, I believe we are created as perfect, whole and complete and I observe that it takes most of us a while to discover our perfection. Most of us improve with age.
We love the innocence of childhood but innocence implies the need to learn. Yes, kids can teach us some things but most of the time, we must teach the children. If the Master Teacher really told us to become like children to enter the gates of heaven, we shouldn’t take that advice literally. No sensible adult aims for a return to childhood. We call that senility.
It’s best not to take the Bible literally. I would interpret the phrase “become like little children” to mean releasing the resentment and pain of the past. And the best way to release those old grievances and sad stories is to live in gratitude each day.
Wisdom can be learned and taught and that is how humans fulfill some of their spiritual potential. We are here to express God and the goodness of life and we expand in spiritual wisdom as we remember to be grateful. In New Thought, we define God as an ever-expanding evolutionary principle. Spirit is Infinite Power, Infinite Love, and Infinite Possibility. That word infinite means no limits. Spirit has no limits and neither do we.
We also know that we bring more of what we focus on into our lives. We keep our thoughts as light and bright as we can to bring more lightness and brightness to us. Over the years, I have learned to train my mind toward optimism and to lighten my dark moods.
How about you? Do you start your days with joy and enthusiasm? Do you believe life is good and getting better? Are you willing to learn? Do you want better days?
If you wish for better days but doubt the possibility your life could improve, why not experiment? Start a simple spiritual practice based on thanksgiving. Gratitude is a powerful tool and everyone can use it to kickstart the Law of Attraction.
What works for others must surely work for you because we are one. I’ve learned to use one of the simplest and most effective spiritual practices I’ve encountered in my many years of study.
Here it is: Before you finish your first cup of coffee in the morning, write “Another day to be glad in,” in your notebook. Then list ten things (or more) that you are grateful for.
I believe you will find this is truly a mind and heart expanding practice, especially as it becomes a treasured habit. It will work in any situation. I’ve seen it pull people out of deep depression when practiced faithfully. I’ve often had it turn around a day that promised difficulty but turned out great. Gratitude is a lot like magic.
There is always something to be grateful for. There are always people you love, natural things you admire, entertainments you enjoy, a some surprise event like a baby’s smile or a phone call to enjoy and put on your list.
Your list doesn’t have to be complicated. Just note the simplest things, like your coffee, your doggie, your petunias, tomorrow’s football game or your favorite aunt’s name. By making the list, you take control and you will no longer feel so helpless. It will lift your spirits.
We can all control our emotional mindset if we acquire simple techniques such as gratitude lists. It took me a long time to learn that truth but I accept it now. I used to want to blame conditions or other people but I rejoice that I am in charge of my emotional life now.
Wisdom grows through our experience. Because we are intelligent humans, we can also learn from other people’s experiences. Even a simple idea such as taking charge of our emotions can be learned through practice. Sometimes it takes a while to embrace obvious truths but it can be done.
What’s on my list today?