The expression 'count your blessings' is to formally set in order, consciously acknowledging that which you have. It may help to put them in writing and make of a long list which may be returned to again and again and added to as more revelations spring to mind. Often we are so busy day to day that we have neglected to truly be thankful, and also neglected those finest resources that we do hold because we have not been mindful of them or of the opportunities that we already possess.
In the game of chess one is wise to be defensive but shall truly maneuver correctly by ascertaining the strengths and the stronghold thereby. If our personal view is so concentrated upon what we believe to be our weaknesses, then how shall we develop that which is more worthy of our consideration? We pay much too much attention to minor faults and disregard the major; whilst forgetting to be forever thankful to the Father for the gifts already given.
One might believe at first that the list will be small indeed. However, in careful analysis one will find in so many differing ways that the list is truly so long that it could never be completed. However attempt is fruitful. Frankly speaking, we have difficulty in reviewing consciously much which relates directly to ourselves. This in exercise is a fine beginning to such discipline, whilst also is preparatory to the receiving of greater gifts.
What exactly do we extract our joy in life from? This being very individual and so personal to each and every one. When in company with others, we are drawn to impressions which overall are so set that we speculate upon items and conditions that do not necessarily bring much joy to us at all. One can see a fervour being worked up amongst a group with excited chatter and much stimulation. But rarely do people share that which is delicately important to them personally- that which speaks to and from the heart and its quiet happinesses.
Troubles and grumblings are quick to arise when this subject is broached from the first. This uprising does quash and negate the motivations which enable one to carry through with this practice. What may firstly come to mind is rather the guilt that one has not before 'counted the blessings', and one might openly exclaim, "Oh, I know that I should be doing this", and then feel immediately depressed at the thought. Interesting isn't it? Or perhaps the answer might be, "Oh, but I do that already!" without reflecting as to whether one can really have done this enough, if in fact the blessings have been itemized at all.
It is a little like counting one's money, only far better. There is meager satisfaction in counting money and checking to see if it is all there. For if one has more than enough, it becomes merely an act of counting, and if there is a deficiency it becomes more of a worry because of that shortage.
To some it appears as a painful and arduous task. But if we are to receive many gifts in our life, we are firstly to know and use what we have and secondly to know of our gratitude for them. By actively doing this our entire outlook does brighten, and a certain confidence develops within the man who then stands firmer in the world.
Quite often the remedy to our troubles is there before us and yet unseen. We are to refine our attitudes and begin in small measures, seemingly, and find that the results are astounding in respect to future changes which will be effected by the enhancement of our personal perspectives.
Also by this we shall come to know that which we truly respect and savor in our lives - our primary values, therefore our primary goals, first purpose and first desires. And commit all others to their respective places of importance, with thus a clearer perspective, than from the outset.
It is damaging to one's health, inner health of soul and outer personal condition, to maintain a focus upon certain deficiencies or longings which are irreconcilable. It is one thing to hold goals and work for them in a productive and steady enduring manner, but it is quite different to go about reprimanding, nay cursing ourselves and our situations.
One may be greatly assisted in the beginning by actually vocalizing those blessings, loudly pronouncing in detail to oneself or to another. This is not to suggest boasting of course, but to explain the concept of the practice of grateful acknowledgment, and then to take turns in such conversation, expressing as many blessings as one can bring forth. Such an interplay will certainly uplift the mood of the party and also be far more productive than many an alternative form of conversation!
Beware of opinions and comparisons however! This is not the intent of the procedure. We must acknowledge that this is very subjective and not open to conjecture if it is indeed honest in reproduction. Also one may never truly be convinced when bringing to mind our treasured happinesses- this is not the point. The point is the stimulation in the revealing and the revelation of overwhelming gratitude which weeps from such vital stimulation. The very fluids of the spiritual life pour from such reverential thankfulness.
There may be two types of ecstasy experienced. One is where one consciously reaches levels of passion and presumes this to be ecstasy in the essential form. The other is the essential substance, undiluted and pure from passion, and this is supreme gratitude. The former comes by the enhanced realization at the very apex of one's experience of that which is very personal, sought for and given over to sublime expression of this. The latter, which may only be reached by ways extraneous to subjective desire, is the conscious realization of the spirit's grand gratitude to the heavens and the heavenly Father, to Creation, to being, for existence. It is existence and existence perfected, through a being who has finally acknowledged most perfectly, through this the revelation of great and everlasting gratitude.
This is ecstasy in her finest form.
This is what was meant by compassion being the complete form of passion. It is passion which has 'gone the full round' so to speak, and fulfilled itself outside of itself. Compassion, the complete passion, the passions completed, is the consequence as distilled thereby, which speaks to us of that which is outside from our personal strivings, needs, desires and experiences, and seeks to commune with the great and Holy Spirit which is, and is through us and all.
And the divinity so inspired has one primary experience in the realization and acknowledgment of God the Father and of Divine Creation- that being the essential and overwhelming great gratitude. One can almost feel it now. So close. That we might be. That we are now. That we shall endure. That we may be sustained. To that which sustains. To that which infills our very being. That our senses are so infilled. That our spirit and our substance is renewed. That so much is afforded, whilst we in humility gaze out at the vastness of all of Creation. . . and say, thank you.
Better a trial and a woe, than a cold heart which understands not.
“The important thing is to feel that, independent of our reasoning life, something thinks in us of which we can say: Not I, but 'it' thinks in me.
Although such thoughts mean little to us at first, yet we can strengthen and further them through a feeling of gratitude to the Higher Powers.
If we say after each such moment, however, short, ‘I thank you, ye Powers of the Higher Hierarchies, that you have let me perceive this,’ then through the feeling of gratitude and awe these moments increase in which higher worlds will reveal themselves.
We shall be able to hold in memory what at first moved through our soul dim as a dream and ultimately we shall be able to summon such conditions as well.
Then we shall gradually become clear that this thinking in us is always independent of our intellectual thought.
Gratitude is the vessel that we lift to the Gods that they may fill it with their wonder-gifts.
If in all earnestness we foster the feeling of thankfulness, then gratitude, loving devotion must be there to the invisible spiritual givers of life; and it is the most beautiful way to be led from one's personality to the supersensible if this guidance goes through gratitude.
Gratitude ultimately brings us to veneration and love of the life-bestowing spirit of man.
It gives birth to love and love makes the heart open for the spirit-powers pervading life.
If after every meditation we arouse in ourselves the feeling of gratefulness and reverence - a feeling that we can call a mood of prayer - and be aware in what grace we are taking part, we shall realize that we are on the right path for the spiritual worlds to approach us.”