Even Against the Stream speakers, buddhist practitioners of many years, admit that they have trouble staying in gratitude. They are, after all, humans in recovery. Practicing equanimity in the face of something that we desire, are envious of, or feel resentment toward, is challenging. Feeling inadequate, less than, and in need of more than we currently have are symptoms of the very suffering Siddhartha discovered on his journey to becoming the Buddha. Practicing complete deprivation as well as living in abundant monetary wealth and luxury showed Siddhartha that joy and gratitude for living could from no external factor. In fact, he discovered that desperately attaching ourselves to the temporal inhibited us from accessing the eternal. Everything that we need is provided within ourselves should we seek to be one with it. Recognizing that all existence is suffering when it is the result of attachment to desire is the beginning of freedom and movement into a deep sense of gratitude.
Practicing gratitude is a way of detaching from the temporary pleasures in life and paying honor to the infinite ones. Meals get completed. Relationships end. Material items do not come with us into the afterlife. Showing gratitude toward everything we have, are, and experience is less about the things themselves. Instead, gratitude is about honoring the present moment and our ability to exist right here and now. In that very moment of mindful awareness is more fulfillment than any external item we can possibly imagine.
Recovery, it is often said, thrives on an “attitude of gratitude”. Without appreciation for the new life we have been given to live without drugs and alcohol, we might lose interest in working for it. Why bother continuing to stay sober if staying sober is not so great? All too quickly, when we lose gratitude for our recovery, we lose sight of how important that recovery is. Soon, there is no great difference between how we felt drinking and using versus how we feel now. Gratitude simply feels good. Appreciative joy is a pillar of Refuge Recovery meditation to encourage the development of gratitude. For all things we judge as good as well as all things we judge as not good, we must find joy in appreciating them.
Refuge Recovery offers a mindfulness based program incorporating proven addiction treatment methods with Buddhist philosophy. For more information on our program call 323-207-0276.