A man, somewhere in the world, wakes up one morning; and as it has been for many years, he starts his day’s activities.
He checks his diary and thinks over all the events he will devote himself to in the next twelve to fourteen hours. A busy schedule, with many commitments, programmes and meetings.
He must remember to talk to the lawyer, have lunch with a client and meet with the Board of Directors for important company decisions.
Barely awake, he remembers even the small mishaps of the previous day, the moments of anger or frustration for a project not completed, the crisis in the relationship with his wife or children, and so on.
A normal life we could say.
Ah, he scrawled on his diary that he also had to see the doctor to collect the test results from a few weeks earlier following a minor ailment. Nothing to worry about, just routine checks.
But then the unexpected happens.
He realises something’s wrong from the doctor’s expression as he starts to explain how medical science has developed, that there are many treatment options, and that statistics show survival is ‘quite’ high in these cases. And in an instant all the priorities and commitments of the day, all those thoughts and worries, all the family tensions that bothered him every day, suddenly take on a different dimension.
Life itself takes on a different dimension. The scale changes abruptly and security is gone.
He is filled with a sense of loneliness because for the first time he realises that the life that animates him is the only thing that really counts, and that this experience is by its very nature, solitary.
In an instant his understanding of life takes on a clarity it never had before, and he feels remorse that he had not noticed this before.
This story is at the same time both imaginary and real.
It is repeated thousands of times a day around the world, and most of us will have known someone who has had a similar experience. Therefore, it is real.
In a hypothetical exercise I put myself in the position of a man who lived this experience and the first thing that came to mind was a feeling of gratitude towards things we don’t normally think of as important, the simplest of things.
For me it is gratitude to the Rosicrucian Order which gave me the chance to see my life through a different lens, the same reality through renewed eyes, revealing a multitude of values otherwise obscured from my vision.
Thinking that the days are always the same, that they do not bear within themselves the seeds of a new future, that every moment is not full of untapped potential that await our consciousness to become real, really impoverishes our lives.
But being aware of the fragility of our material existence, fleeting and transient as it is, of our vulnerability and the fact that we will all leave one day unexpectedly…, such thoughts make us grateful for life, grateful for the people who are close to us, grateful for day and night, our friends, the spiritual values passed on to us, the things we have that bring us comfort, and the things we will never have…, grateful for the moments of happiness that make us like children again, and the moments of pain that lead us to draw on our hidden reserves of strength…; for all these things we feel such immense gratitude.
Thinking about death is not a neurotic act; not wanting to think about it rather constitutes a true neurosis for our society, and perhaps even the most important factor in the impoverishment and aridity of our time.
Being thankful therefore is the necessary response, and rationally the most appropriate for each day that is given us to live in this world.
Whoever I am with, I feel truly privileged, but to go home and see my family, my grandson, this is a true gift. Seeing friends and laughing and joking with them, is a real blessing. And extinguishing the candles after meditation in my private sanctum is a reminder of my true nature, so that I never forget that all this is given to me as a gift, and that the only feeling that I can possibly feel is precisely that of Gratitude.
The work we do in the Rosicrucian Order is noble, for it helps people become aware of the life that flows through them, thereby allowing them to achieve wider, clearer visions of the nature of their existence.
The letters we receive from members of the Order and the meetings we are privileged to have with them, regularly attest to this.
Please close your eyes now, and hold in your mind for a few minutes an intense feeling of gratitude, and then ask the God of your understanding to help you to inspire others through your kindness, compassion and understanding to express the same gratitude you have been blessed to experience today.
Adaptation of ‘Gratitude’ by Claudio Mazzucco, Imperator, from the Rosicrucian Heritage, September 2018