01 Nov 2016 Comments Off on Admitting I Felt Ungrateful Released Me
For many years, when the Course spoke of gratitude, something in me objected, because I felt that Jesus was accusing me of being ungrateful. Even though I knew better, there was still a deep feeling of uneasiness and resentment that I had done something wrong, I should be grateful that I was not being punished, and the payback was that I had to feel indebted.
Ego interpreted gratitude as being forced to say “thank you” when I did not want to; as being obligated to feel happy when I did not. Of course, I felt guilty that I was having this negative reaction to gratitude. How unspiritual could I get?
My guilt was compounded as many people in my life expressed heartfelt gratitude about God’s Love, their eyes filled with sincere tears, and I grew angrier and more ashamed of my ungrateful attitude. I did not want to feel ungrateful. But I had to admit that I did.
Still, I was a dedicated Course student and determined to apply its practices. Jesus tells us to be honest, to trust him, and to practice forgiveness, not just towards others, but also towards ourselves. I knew the Holy Spirit undoes everything the ego made IF I chose to give Him my beliefs. So I prayed.
I approach prayer conversationally, so I told Jesus, “I’m willing to give you my resistance to gratitude BUT FIRST…” and went into all the nasty details of my objections (there was some shouting and swearing involved). And what do you know? In return, He thanked me!
It was supremely healing to encounter this divine reversal: I gave Spirit all my ingratitude and received Gratitude in return. Emptied of all my grievances, all that was left was Unconditional Love.
Holy Spirit clarified that I was not ungrateful, just triggered by my interpretation of gratitude. He guided me to Lesson 14, “The idea for today is another step in learning to let go the thoughts you have written on the world, and see the Word of God in their place.” And He kindly suggested that I substitute the word “appreciation” for “gratitude” until the issue was entirely purified and the words didn’t matter anymore. Doing this helped me realize how very appreciative I am.
He also led me to Lesson 197, “It can be but my gratitude I earn,” which illuminates the spiritual law that giving is receiving. In other words, when I’m willing to live from the Light which I am,
my appreciation for others is based on the inner light we share, no matter what their opinions or behavior. “The world must thank you when you offer it release from your illusions. Yet your thanks belong to you as well, for its release can only mirror yours.”
Right about this time, someone told me the word “grateful” means “greatful” as in: we are full of Greatness. As I tried on this new definition for size, there was a holy instant of release in which Greatness extended Itself naturally, producing a profound relaxation which stilled my thoughts and spread through my muscles and limbs. As Lesson 155 promises, my forehead was serene; my eyes were quiet.
These days, I gratefully find myself here: “Today let us be thankful. We have come to gentler pathways and to smoother roads. There is no thought of turning back, and no implacable resistance to the truth. A bit of wavering remains, some small objections, and a little hesitance, but you can well be grateful for your gains, which are far greater than you realize.” (W-123: I thank my Father for His gifts to me.)
Let us appreciate these gains together. If you’re having trouble, remember, the quickest route to gratitude is admitting your ingratitude to the Holy Spirit and accepting His merciful release.
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This article first appeared in the Sept-Oct 2016 issue of MiracleWorker UK magazine.