THE ENCHANTMENTS OF THIS WORLD are irresistible. They are as varied as the people and cultures which have created them and as naturally appealing to us – to all of us – as the spectacular beauty of our planet’s soaring mountains, its gem-like lakes, its flowing blue rivers and its vast emerald forests. To love the land and the great oceans which wrap abundantly about our uniquely perfect Earth are things in which we can equally revel and equally share.
As for the cultural wonders humanity has brought forth on every continent, these are mirrors of our minds, our personalities and our determination to fill our lives with intelligently designed forms of shelter, mobility, utilitarian tools, fine furniture and fashion and jewels of every size and shape. We humans are fantastically innovative entities and, among our many talents, we consistently generate delicious cuisine and drink for ourselves; we spawn artistic creations of every conceivable magnitude and scope, as well as a vast range of utterly entrancing works of music, many of which invariably lift listeners to ineffably sublime heights of rapture.
Those who actively seek inspiration in this world, therefore, cannot possibly come up lacking, not if even the slightest of efforts is made to take a good long appreciative look about at the bounteous riches which so fill our planetary habitat.
Yet, there are those who despair, who find nothing of worth in this world and see their life as a mundane, utterly hopeless affair with no redeeming aspects to it whatsoever.
How, one must ask, can there be such obliviousness, such blindness, in one’s perceptual perspective when so much magnificence is so clearly evident?
The answer to that question may be totally elusive, but one simple word can actually turn the tide against despair, hopelessness, anguish, gloom and a sense of despondency.
That word is gratitude.
Yes, it is a cliché to say it, but attitude really is everything.
Attitude based on gratitude for even the smallest of life’s gifts, however, really is where the path upward begins. One can read massive volumes of “sacred” literature and come away more confused than ever, but by living simply by the Golden Rule and knowing in the most fundamental of terms that one will indeed reap what one sows is enough to turn the tide on a landslide of misfortune caused by that pervasive and infernal bugaboo: obliviousness.
Obliviousness is the exact opposite of mindfulness. It is a lack of conscious awareness about certain aspects of life, whether of one’s own or in general, but to focus one’s awareness on this particular deficiency can result in the planting of a single seed which will grow in time, as all living seeds must.
The sages of the East call this karma, of course, and those “seeds” planted are metaphors for thoughts in the mind. If one can find just enough inner willpower to move past one’s own self-pity and plant even a handful of thoughts of gratitude with even the smallest measure of determination great things can come of it. In fact, giant metaphorical oaks and redwoods can eventually grow from those seeds and carry one into the boundless sky above.
What is willpower, though?
The answer is it is one’s innate grit, wit and spirit.
These are simple words, but they say so much. Perhaps they even say enough to carry us through all of the complications which life throws at us as we resolve to go forward into a new day, another new year and another new decade.
As the world gets more and more complex, to simplify is the antidote.
It starts with being well rested, fresh minded and perpetually full of wonder in the morning, but it is grit, wit and spirit that carries us into the noontide and onward with vigor toward the moonrise and the night and the dreams that fulfill.