At the age of fifteen, I walked in. My pupils still dilating to the darkness, I looked around the place every teen dreamed of shopping in: Abercrombie & Fitch. It was the “stars on the rise experience” for me then: strong perfume and cologne, expensive clothing, and jaw-droppingly attractive people modeling the cloths they were selling. Only after a short wander in, I felt spellbound by the styles, but bewildered by the price tags. I concluded it was best not to spend my bank balance on half-a-pair of designer socks and headed to the exit. I avoided stopping by the ‘reduced’ section out of pride. Feeling humiliated, disheartened, and embarrassed, I think only a miracle could have repaired my self-esteem.
Just as I was leaving this paradise, nearing the cold sunshine, a blonde with blue eyes slithered towards me. I stood there.
She whispered, “Hey, how’s it going? Thanks for coming to A&F. Hope you have a nice day!”
I mumbled something and left with my confidence replenished. Then I dreamily reflected on what unmotivated, selfless gratitude this girl had thanked me with. It was simply from her heart, wasn’t it? Little did I know, moments later she would be cheating on me by repeating the same company-policy gratitude to another bedazzled teen.
True gratitude is beyond a superficial flattery of the ‘thank-you’ we hear daily. Heartfelt appreciation may be above utterances. It cannot be just switched on and off.
“Every type of reward that has been studied increases the level of dopamine in the brain,” Dr. Wiki says, so even superficial gratitude can give us a neuro-transmitted sensation.
But, really, gratitude is a state of grace felt around you, a constant feeling of positivity. Amnesia means to lose this grace, to forget the years of unmotivated austerity and service that others have sacrificed for us. When did you last truly thank your parents for raising you? Did you ever write to the teacher who went the extra mile for you? Are you acting in a way to show those you love that you feel indebted?
Simply by remembering to count our blessings, by avoiding unnecessary gossip, and by consciously choosing to see the best in others, we can overcome the complexities of our relationships and be established in our natural, grateful state of mind.
Lord Rama says, “The earth can tolerate all types of sins except the sin of ingratitude.”
Spiritual practices can be pure acts of thankfulness to the Supreme. Carried out sincerely, they form the mentality to always give without remembering and always receive without forgetting.[ gratitude ]