Ingrate’s Day

Today is the day for ingratitude; we summon it or allow it to rise up within us, then release it on Thanksgiving. This is valuable to us. We typically acknowledge the good in our lives, but fail to pay homage to the ‘bad.’ All the gratitude words today are premature – we need to embrace our ingratitude before we can truly rise in gratitude.

Yeah, it’s a sucky ole life, at times. Things go wrong, or at least not how we want them to. Entropy rules, and chaos reigns (it’s a law – the second law of thermodynamics). Yet we tend to ignore the less good, and try to focus on the good. That is a fool’s errand. Until we can embrace (and release) the ‘bad,’ how can we make room for the good?

So here goes…

I am terribly ungrateful for so many things; our sorry state of ecological and social environments, the dissolution of our families and erosion of our institutions and traditions. All the starving people and mean people. All the angry people. Many times I am thankful for them (they fill that slot so I don’t have to), but not today. I’m really ungrateful about having a season pass and no snow to ride on. I hate that my former lover is long gone. I hate, I hate…

Today it is okay. Tomorrow (and hopefully for the rest of the year) I will be thankful and focus on the good. Today I focus on the ‘bad.’ That bad ole bad…

Yet who’s to say what is bad, and what is good? The inability of my former lover (or of me) to go to the next level is perhaps not a curse, but a blessing – perhaps she (we) made room for the Woman who can ascend with me (and for the guy who can ascend with her). The sad state of our world may be needed to propel us into a better state. Be careful before you prematurely judge something good or bad, we all know that.

Yet today, we don’t wait to see if something bad turns out good. Today we rant and rail against all the kooky things in the world, all the things that are less than optimal, a bit short of copacetic. Today, we bitch and whine, moan and wail. It’s okay…it is cathartic, a release. Release makes room for gratitude.

Today we wonder how we’ll pay the bills for this holiday season, or how we will make ends meet. Today, we shake our fists at God or circumstance, cursing our cancer or cough, our poverty or placidity. It’s okay…just try it. A little bit won’t hurt you or de-tune you. It might even help, to acknowledge that stuff festering inside you, to accept and then release it. In the crucible of our observation, we burn off the dross of desire and attachment, plant the seeds of peace. (There’s some quotable Mull for you).

We might welcome in those feelings of ingratitude…and look closely at them. Where do they come from? Are they even true? In this light, we can see our naked greed, desire, dissatisfaction. In seeing it, we can look for its source. Is it from the outside world that this all arises, or is it within us? Who is seeing things this way? Is it the world, or the way we see the world? These are valuable lessons.

I curse the dawn, long for the comfort of darkness. Of course, at the fall of darkness, I curse the departure of the Light. This dawn shines its light on another day of killing, raping, and murder…of bad behavior of all types, of dissolution and divorce, of hate and anger. It dawns on a day of sickness and hunger, of separation and dissatisfaction. Damn the dawn.

Where does that come from? Do I have an expectation that is false, one that is not being met by the world as it actually is? Is it just my whiny old ego, my samskara and bad habits? Is it me, or is it the world? Whence arises this attitude, these feelings? Any amount of pain and ingratitude would be worth knowing these answers, would be worth finding the source of this anti-love. For it cannot be extracted or converted, transformed or even accepted without knowing its true source.

In this lack of joy, I find peace…or the source of it. In this anger, I find the seeds of peace. In this dissatisfaction, I find the roots of true thanksgiving.

Often, we get this wrong. We save one day for thanks, and spend the rest of the year grumbling, being in opposition to others and the world itself. We are thankful, then follow that with our quotidian lugubriousness. I suggest it might make more sense to spend one day being ingrates, and the rest of the year in thanks and communion. Maybe we could be lugubrious, then follow it with thankfulness. It might work…it might be worth a try.

So go ahead. Cry…cry over all those little things, and the big ones too. Cry for yourself, for those you love, for all that went less than perfectly in your life. Scream, shake your fist. Let it out. Let it all out. Be there, be present for that. Observe it, with gentle compassion for yourself and your situation. Then drop it, let it go. You can come back to it later, if need be. You can learn the lessons later. For now, cry. Or wail, moan, gasp. For now, feel the pull of the whirlpool, the force of the maelstrom. Dig it. Live it. Then drop it.

How did that feel? If you found this to be helpful, please share this. Let’s start a new tradition – ingrate’s day. Maybe let’s not even dedicate a whole day to it. Just as much time as you need, that is all that’s required. Heck, take the whole year if you have to, but know this – at some point, you will have learned the lessons and can then drop it. Once you drop the burden, your spirit feels light, can ascend to the higher place reserved for it.

Until then, let it happen. Get into it. Be there, then…so you can later be here, now.

I guess the traditional meal of ingrate’s day would be corn flakes and warm water….or cold gruel. The parade is of everyone who you think ever hurt you or misunderstood you, or did you wrong (including yourself – heck, it’s led by you). The story is how the pilgrims let the native Americans help them, then paid them back in smallpox and reservations, in attempted genocide and slaughter. The guests are all the people you’d never invite to Thanksgiving. The prayer is this:

You fuckers! Now teach me those lessons I needed to learn. Now let me experience the lessons you tried to give me by not being what I expected, or wanted, or desired. Now let this knowledge come to me, now that I may not have to let it lay lodged inside my soul like a cancer, for the rest of the year, for the rest of my life. Now.

I don’t expect Ingrate’s Day will be observed by anyone but me. That’s okay. It works so well for me. I can sing only so many minor-chord songs before the praise and bhakti rise in me. I can cry only so much before a laugh escapes my lips. In the midst of my ingratitude and suffering, I see it for what it is – a waste of my time, but perhaps a necessary waste. Perhaps through embracing this, I can let it drop and get on with a life based in gratitude.

That is something I’d be truly thankful for.

Homework:

A) What are YOU ungrateful for?

B) What is the source of that ingratitude?

C) What lesson(s) can you learn from that?

D) How can you embrace that, then drop it?

E) What traditions would YOU add to Ingrate’s Day?

This message was brought to you (as always) by the Divine Light, my muse. No animals or people were harmed in the making of this post, although they may have not been appreciated like they should. No matter what, none of this is God’s fault, or the world’s fault, or even your fault. It just is. Just is. IS.

AUM, Shanti   : )

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