I attended a talk a few nights ago at Bhakti Center (bhakticenter.org) given by Vaisiseka Das. An exemplary, happy devotee of Krsna. It seems that his effusive happiness springs from an overflowing well of gratitude in his heart. Gratitude for what he’s received, gratitude for what he’s been gifted to share. I think this is a great key to happiness, to transformation.
I have a personal practice of collecting quotes about gratitude. Living it, dwelling in a childlike sense of wonder is quite another thing. A realized thing. I think we overlook the simple, looking always over its head for the abstract or complex. To remember Krsna as the taste of water each time we drink; to see Him in the light of the sun and moon. What did William Blake say about seeing infinity in a grain of sand?
Vaisiseka Prabhu quoted Voltaire who said that appreciation is a wonderful thing. It makes what is excellent in others belong to us as well. He quoted Srila Prabhupada’s purport to a verse in Srimad Bhagavatam where he says that gratitude becomes more developed in the human form of life. What does that mean, really? Animals are just going on, eating grass, eating other animals, standing or pouncing on others in a field. When my consciousness becomes awakened that all that I have has come to me as a gift, that’s the beginning of my awakening, the beginning of human life. Taking everything for granted, living as though on automatic pilot, as though it will always be there, as though I will always be here, this is an unexamined life, a life that has not yet evolved to being an awakened human.