The Secret.

The authorities took my son away. Everyone knows a man cannot raise a child. So they took him, dragged him off kicking and screaming. We met fleetingly in the woods. He was in terrible shape, covered in self-inflicted cuts to protest his situation.

One night I was sobbing out loud with the horror of it all, begging Providence to change our situation, raging against what had happened, when a very still quiet voice spoke inside me saying…

”your anguish is a measure of your love is it not?”

Er, yes.

‘Would you wish your love to be less?”

Er, no.

”Then be grateful for how much love you have…’

and so I was.

within weeks he was returned.

The secret of Abundance is Gratitude. It is Gratitude that recognises the wealth which already exists. The rule of attraction manifests further abundance and soon..

a virtuous circle is created.

Wanting it badly enough doesn’t work. It doesn’t take determination. More a kind of melting into how blessed you are already and not even for one thing or another but for breathing, the rain, that night follows day.

Sometimes we may feel that because there is so much suffering in our lives we cannot be grateful and start the circle of abundance turning. So then we have to be grateful for that…

for surviving the dark place..

for the resiliance that bought you through..

for the strength that sustains you during your travail.

Wounds give perspective without which we do not grow.

”To live and love only where one can trust, where there is security and containment, where one cannot be hurt or let down, where what is pledged in words is forever binding, means really to be out of harm’s way and so out of real life.” James Hillman

Wounds are necessary. There are several different types to be grateful for. Firstly there are the wounds inflicted upon us by others…

‘that which does not kill us makes us stronger..’ anon

then there is gratitude for one’s own folly..

‘Non, je ne regrette rien..’ E. Piaf

then the challenge to be unconditionaly alive to the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune..

”to survive is to find meaning in suffering”. F. Nietzsche.

and finally there is the gratitude for the discovery of your own moist depths in the process of it all.

”In the depths of winter I finally learned that within me lay an invincible summer.” A. Camus.

Most of us think of prayer as being one form or another of asking for stuff. It doesn’t work because of the tautology involved in evoking a God about whom  you have already decided you know better. Wanting life to be different is petulant, a rejection of one’s situation which is bound to increase suffering rather than alleviating it.

‘What we resist, persists.’ S. Freud.

In ancient times they seemed to understand better about the power of gratitude. Prayer and Gratitude were synonymous. There are still some examples especially in Psalms, but a good way of guaging how things have changed from a culture of abundance to one of relative inner poverty can be ascertained by looking at how the structure of our most evocative prayer, the lord’s prayer, has been changed over the years from its original Aramaic.

here is the whole thing.

“Oh Thou, from whom the breath of life comes,

who fills all realms of sound, light and vibration.

Nethkâdasch schmach
May Your light be experienced in my utmost holiest.

Têtê malkuthach.
Your Heavenly Domain approaches.

Nehwê tzevjânach aikâna d’bwaschmâja af b’arha.
Let Your will come true – in the universe (all that vibrates)
just as on earth (that is material and dense).

Hawvlân lachma d’sûnkanân jaomâna.
Give us wisdom (understanding, assistance) for our daily need,

Waschboklân chaubên wachtahên aikâna
daf chnân schwoken l’chaijabên.

detach the fetters of faults that bind us, (karma)
like we let go the guilt of others.

Wela tachlân l’nesjuna
Let us not be lost in superficial things (materialism, common temptations),

ela patzân min bischa.
but let us be freed from that what keeps us off from our true purpose.

Metol dilachie malkutha wahaila wateschbuchta l’ahlâm almîn.
From You comes the all-working will, the lively strength to act,
the song that beautifies all and renews itself from age to age.

Sealed in trust, faith and truth.
(I confirm with my entire being)

You can see for yourself that its been altered quite dramatically. Not just a word here or there,  the whole meaning is different. I will comment only on the feeling of gratitude which runs through the original from beginning to end like a dancing brook.


The Secret of Happiness.

There is a Russian folktale about a magnificent horse who lived deep in the endless forest. It was wild and free. It was said that it could never be caught or tamed.

The prince of the land was secretly put out that the wonderful creature was not his to possess. He had every other material thing his heart desired. Why not this? And so he dragged his long face around the castle all day, muttering and complaining that this one treasure eluded him.

It seemed to him that his misery was the wild horse’s fault because he would not be caught and tamed. Just the thought that it was out there somewhere being all wild and free filled him with frustration and bitterness. He gritted his teeth and hardened his heart, resolving to capture the beast or die trying.

So he saddled one of the stable nags and rode out into the forest to begin his search. He searched and searched. His fine clothes got torn in the undergrowth. Thorns scratched his arms and face. He lost his crown. He lost his way..

Days became weeks and the weeks became years. His beard grew long and his hair became matted. Still he rode on, forcing the poor stable nag deeper and deeper into the endless forest.

One day, as he urged the  stable nag on, he caught a fleeting glimpse of his quarry. He charged forward and gave chase but no matter how fast he rode or how hard he kicked the poor stable nag, the wonderous creature of the forest stayed just out of reach. In fact, the faster he rode the more the wild horse seemed to gain the lead.

He rode all day. Then he rode all night. Then he got very, very tired. He hurt all over. His bum was numb and his bones all ached. He was finding it hard just to think straight. All his muttering to himself began to mutter back. As he chuntered about how unfair life was being, the muttering pointed out that life wasn’t supposed to be fair.

When he complained about how unprincely it was to be shaken about like a bag of bones, the muttering reminded him of the simple delights of a feather bed. When his hunger clawed at his belly the muttering reminded him how delicious a piece of bread could be. When he moaned about the wickedness of the wild horse, the muttering drew his attention to the terrible state of the stable nag.

And the muttering had a wicked chuckle in it.

It began to pull his leg. It drew his attention to the fact that his servants were all happier than him despite his mountains of stuff. His muttering asked what difference one more thing mounted up on his great pile of things might make to his life. It dug him in the ribs and told him he was a tyrant.

The prince looked down at the poor sweaty stable nag gasping and clawing for breath. He suddenly felt ashamed and stopped, slid out of the saddle and heedless of his own pains, unbuckled it and let it fall to the floor. The stable nag was raw and bleeding. He felt a sudden wave of sorrow and shame. He realised how true and faithful the stable nag had been all this time, how little he had appreciated her efforts, what company she had been, how he had depended on her.

He stood still for a moment and looked up at the sky. He took in the green of the great and endless forest as if for the very first time and allowed himself to marvel at it all. Softly he led the stable nag to a quiet pool and let her drink while he rested. He began to reflect upon how fortunate he was, how wonderful it was just to be alive. He thought about how even the bad things in life drew people together and helped them find what they were made of.

And then he heard the soft footfall of unshod hooves behind him, warm breath suffused the back of his neck and the soft mane of the wild horse fell against his face.

Several years ago a book, ‘the Secret’, sold millions of copies. It got rave reveiws and was endlessly quoted but was little understood. Its message got distorted into the notion that if we imagine what we want in life hard enough, made out that it was already ours, then it would somehow magically appear. Its message was lost and after a brief fireworks show, it sank without trace.

We are so imbued with the idea that our happiness is somewhere over the rainbow that even profound teaching to the contrary is simply hitched to the wagon of  pursuing ‘the dream’. Our western culture is so ridden through with the idea that happiness is just around the corner so long as you work hard enough for it that we cannot see how impoverishing such a belief system can be and how we flog ourselves to death in its name. The ‘pursuit of happiness’ is even written into the American constitution as an inalienable right, forgetting that we alienate ourselves from happiness itself as soon as we look for it in somewhere other than where we are right now.

Happiness cannot be gained or worked for. We can’t make it happen. Wishing doesn’t make it so. The essence of ‘the secret’ is so contrary to our ideas about how life should be that we can’t see what’s right in front of us.

Life’s abundance is rooted in gratitude.

Try this… take five minutes to sit quietly and run through all the things you are grateful for. Notice how your heart is lifted in the process…. and then keep tabs on how your day pans out. Like attracts like. Its one of the few rules the Universe is ordered by.