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Gratitude as a shortcut to Enlightenment?

Hello! Greetings from Rio!

Yesterday I was meditating on the feeling of gratitude and came across some questions and insights. First, let me describe what I did.

Before meditating, I was feeling a bit tense and "dry", as if my emotional cup wasn't full - and this was obvious due to my shallow breathing. So I sat down and focused on the love I feel for people in my life (it wasn't a mental thing like "I am grateful for *fill in the blank*", but just immersing myself in the love).

Beginning with the "easy ones" like my lover, sister and very close friends and then people that caused me more troubles than fortunes, so to speak. In a few seconds I started to feel - obviously - much more open and allowing. Also, my breathing became fuller and slower and I felt closer to Presence. Now, the questions:

1) When we concentrate on the love we feel for people/animals in our lives, how genuine is that? I mean, is it close to Universal Love or just an emotional bubble? Also, I don't know exactly the difference between feeling and emotion. Maybe there is already an article about that here in Openhand?

2) If I was feeling dry and closed before, is it because I had something to unveil? Or because the thoughts in my mind were of a lower vibration? This question leads to the next: by feeling gratitude, did I bypass/deny what I was supposed to feel at the moment or I just raised my vibration with new thoughts?

3) I noticed that in this state it's much easier to become aware of any contractions and low thoughts mirrored by external events. If the process of self-realization is all about softening into these contractions, by holding on to the feeling of gratitude in every moment I can walk the Path much faster, right?

Thank you Bye

Trinity's picture

Hello from Glastonbury!

Fascinating enquiry - lot's of threads for exploration.

Gratitude is an interesting subject. For me there is a natural arising gratitude I have for life and everything that touches my heart. It's natural and omni-present. Focussing on gratitude feels fine.
However, (and in response to your wonderings) this is where it can get a little bit hazy.
There are different ways to focus on it.
We can for example...

    1. focus and allow or/
    2. focus and force

So it all depends on the intention for example...
'Am I taking this time to focus on gratitude to allow what is already there to have the space to arise and express itself'
OR
'Am I overriding my true feelings and making myself feel grateful for stuff'

It feels healthy to take time for meditation. As you wrote, your breathing became fuller and your came closer to presence. If you meditate you can keep observing and ask how you truly feel. If you keep letting go, then you will begin to see what your true feelings are. You might find that you feel authentic gratitude for some and not so much for others. Or you might find something else entirely.

Regarding your other question about 'universal love' or 'emotional bubble'. Universal love is ever present. It doesn't judge or require effort. It is what is there when we move out of the way and just allow whatever is, to be. It is beyond emotion (yet it can inspire emotion). The emotional bubble is what we see when people 'effort' love - it comes from the intellect or the head.

Trinity Bye

Eduardo's picture

Looking from your perspective (which makes lots of sense to me), I conclude my approach was more of a forcing one - although "forcing" is a bit of a strong word to describe it, haha.

I understand now the difference between allowing gratitude and going for it, but the main question is still in my mind (about it being a shortcut). Because you know, since gratitude is a quality of pure consciousness, if I allow genuine gratitude to express in my feelings I can arrive 'there' easier. And after arriving 'there' - since I am already 'there' - it's easier to remain 'there'.

That's what happened to me that day. After going for it, there was a moment that I didn't need to focus on it anymore because I was already meditating. But if I hadn't focused on it, my meditation would be very weaker because of my lack of experience in letting go.

So maybe putting a little of effort on love is not so bad, since it's easy to carve a link between the emotional bubble and the Universal Love...

Trinity's picture

I don't believe that there are any short cuts to enlightenment Unknw
If it happens naturally as a result of your beingness, then it's exactly the right timing.

It can be helpful to bring our attention to areas where we might need a little work though Wink But that's all part of the journey.