“Whatever happens to you, don’t fall in despair.
Even if all the doors are closed, a secret path will be there for you that no one knows.
You can’t see it yet but so many paradises are at the end of this path…
It is easy to thank after obtaining what you want,
thank before having what you want.”
This sh!t is hard.
Yeah, I said a four-letter word…hard. Because it is.
The so-called spiritual life is not for the faint of heart. (you may have noticed that “regular life” isn’t a cake-walk either…)
I’ve been loosely working with gratitude for some time now. That has tightened up a bit lately. All waters seem to be streaming to this port for me right now. I’ve touched on gratitude before here on this blog, but what’s different this time is how I’m using it.
I’ve been on a bit of a roller-coaster lately. Seeing family, friends, and places that I have not seen in years. Saying goodbye to someone who has been in my life since I was 5 years old. New adventures. Unexpected expenses. Hidden treasures. Surprises. Some good, some not-so-good.
Ya know, life.
I’ve weathered a lot of it as well as any one of us would. However, on some days, certain thoughts are a little more persuasive and distracting in unpleasant ways.
I’ve only found one thing that can immediately change the energy of anything I’m dealing with whether it’s anger or sadness or disappointment or confusion…
I’ve always been one to say thank you. My first words were “thank you.” Not “mama” or “dada.” Not even “Bosco.” (my first dog)
Thanks 🙂 to my grandmother. I spent a lot of time with her, so she seized the opportunity early and taught me to say thank you as my first words. I had no idea how much that single act would define my life. She left her mark, probably not even knowing how deep it would root.
Seriously, those who know me well expect that I will thank people for almost anything and everything. It comes out before I’ve even thought about it sometimes. Hell, I can even turn “thank you” into an insult when properly motivated! (what Southerner can’t?) 😉
Now I have a new relationship with “thank you.” This budding relationship is what Rumi is getting at with the above stanza. The idea of being grateful before we receive.
Congratulations! You are perfectly normal if this seems foreign to you. In our culture we are downright so averse to this idea that when someone says “thanks in advance” we take it as a micro-aggression.
“What’s that supposed to mean? ‘Thanks in advance’…they’ve got some nerve thanking me before I’ve even agreed to anything!” Whoa, calm down Tex.
We interpret it as a sense of entitlement, as bossiness, as rudeness, as presumption.
Maybe sometimes it is.
What if sometimes it is not? What if sometimes they really are extending their thanks in advance? Is that so terrible? I have used this phrase before myself. Every time that I recall saying it I meant it sincerely. Given that, I can safely assume that some people really are just trying to thank me in advance for what they know must be putting me out a bit.
That explains why we are averse to being thanked in advance, but what keeps us from thanking others in advance? Is it the fear that we will be seen as entitled or one of my least favorites…the subtle demander. (aka nag) You know, always nice about it, but kind of quietly insistent. We all know them and we’ve all been them.
It’s definitely a factor in human relationships. But does any of that apply to how I see my relationship to spirit? Do I really think that the Universe (or whatever) cares how I say anything? Do I really think that any supposed enlightened entity or non-sentient force really gives a hoot for human niceties? That’s absurd when I put it that way.
So, it must be something else.
I think it has more to do with a lack of faith. We don’t thank in advance because we either don’t believe it’s coming at all or we don’t think we deserve it or (and this is the most ridiculous one of all!) we think we’re going to jinx it.
I get it. Guilty. I still sometimes worry about “jinxing” it. But it’s utter shite. (have I mentioned how much I love that phrase?)
The premise of jinxing is that some unknown entity (who exactly?) might overhear us and because they’re a passive-aggressive little punk, is going to deny us this thing for which our heart and soul are reaching.
Let’s break that down.
So we believe in some jerk troll or elf or some such prancing around looking for opportunities to deny our heartfelt wishes all because we dared express them out loud? The nerve!
But a benevolent force sitting on the edge of its seat (whatever a seat for such a thing would look like) waiting for us just to whisper even the slightest hint of what sets our soul on fire with light and love so that it can then spin things into motion to bring about that very flame…? Nope. Too crazy.
Jackass fairy? Yeah, that seems legit.
Energetic resonance? Cannot. Go. There. Even though we know energy exists? Still too crazy!
There is a lot of talk about this sort of thing, commonly called the law of attraction, and it gets a bad rap because some people (like with everything) have tried to a) over-simplify it and b) get rich off of it. We’ll never be rid of these sorts of people. But, like they say, even a broken clock is right twice a day!
It amazes me that in the quatrain at the top of this post, Rumi is essentially talking about this law of attraction almost a full millennium ago. He legitimized this theory for me. I’d believe almost anything he’d tell me. (see “absurdity” post for more about that)
And it works.
This thanking before having has worked for me. Really. I’m not talking about my cousin’s brother’s uncle’s friend’s mom. Me. It has worked for me.
When (i originally typed “if”…hahaha, i am funny!) something upsets me, I eventually make my way to a higher mind by looking for anything that creates a grateful response in me.
The energy shifts immediately. I soften. I relax. I even laugh. That laughter is the sweetest sound on earth. Anytime I have been going through difficulty, it is always my laughter that brings me back home.
There will be upsets and worries and hard times that come. But there will be laughter coming too. For that, I am grateful.
Thanks in advance!
Love and light,
Photo Credit: Shutterstock/Hugo Brizard