Walking the mystical path with practical feet...
The transition between Winter and Spring, provides the greatest contrast between any other seasons of the year. In Nature, everything begins to emerge from the darkness and incubation of Winter, and transforms into the new growth and light of Springtime’s joyous opening and flowering. Often the juncture between Winter and Spring activates meaningful and important changes or transitions for human beings both internally and externally. We witness the changes around us and see the world from a new perspective, especially during the season of Spring.
Grateful seeing is the ability to look first for what is good and working in our lives without minimizing or denying the hardships or challenges that are also present. Many traditional societies hold the perspective, or world-view, that what has been given to us ultimately ignites growth and strengthens us. Individuals who are viewed as seers in indigenous societies are highly respected, honored, and valued for their gifts of insight, vision, and grateful seeing. The Maasai of East Africa, for example, call their seers diviners, ones who perceive in the seen and unseen worlds that which is divine and good. We, too, can learn to be seers—seers of the blessings, learnings, mercies, and protections that surround us everyday.
Focusing on the benefits and goodness that are all around us leads to feelings of gratitude, and this creates a multiplier effect: the experience of gratitude generates a sense of well-being, and the better we feel, the more good we will do. Gratitude and the actions it stimulates also build and strengthen social bonds and friendships. This practice of grateful seeing, looking for the good, allows us to see the gifts of hope, respect and affection––given and received––that are present in our lives.
Emmet Fox, a scientist, philosopher, and spiritual teacher, reminds us that “Errors of thought, word, and deed are worked out and satisfied under the Law, but the good goes on forever, unchanged and undimmed by time.” Dacher Keltner, a researcher at the University of California, Berkeley and author of Born to Be Good: The Science of a Meaningful Life, demonstrates that the intrinsic value that lies within the human spirit is not only to be a good human being, but to foster more goodness and well-being for others in meaningful ways. His research also indicates that the good that occurs in our lives, whether we have extended it or received it, is far more valued and remembered in our hearts than our errors or mistakes.
Often in Spring, we open to the bounty and goodness that are present in our lives, any pockets of ingratitude that once seemed large in our imaginations become dwarfed—nearly nonexistent. It is important to remember that whatever we need to rectify in our lives is often small in proportion to all the benefits we have extended toward and received from others. All the good intentions, prayers, good deeds, and kind words we have offered others are still with us: they cannot be taken away, and this is a great source of encouragement.
The transition from Winter to Spring offers us a time to honor and be thankful for all the goodness that life, loved ones, and important strangers have extended to us.
1. When we see more fruits than errors, we have developed grateful seeing. Make it a point to see and appreciate the fruits of goodness in your colleagues, your friends, and your family.
2. In what ways are you shifting your perspective from looking at what is not working to developing “grateful seeing”—looking first for what is working and what is good in your life?
3. M. C. Richards reminds us, “Love is not a doctrine. Peace is not an international agreement. Love and Peace are beings who live as possibilities in us.” What comes to mind as possibilities for you when you read M. C. Richards quote at this time?