In a year that seems to have just flown by, here it is again — autumn, and a time in many cultures when people acknowledge all we have to be grateful for.
But we have seen some difficult years of late, and many people have grown discouraged. There’s so much chaos in the world, and it seems people are expressing so much more anger with each other; they appear to be so much less forgiving and more vindictive.
Some may even wonder, what is there to be grateful for?
This is when we should remember that through the ages we’ve been told a great truth that holds the key to a new understanding — one that turns challenging moments into new possibilities for us. It’s the idea that there is a hidden meaning behind the events of our lives, and those moments that are so unwanted by us may contain a gift we can’t yet see. It is a gift that can help us develop more understanding, more compassion, and a closer relationship with the Divine. When we deny this gift, we perpetuate our own suffering. When we accept it, our gratitude grows.
Below are the wise words of the 15th century Italian friar and architect, Fra Giovanni Giocondo, that express this beautiful, liberating idea:
Life is so generous a giver. But we, judging its gifts by their covering, cast them away as ugly or heavy or hard. Remove the covering, and you will find beneath it a living splendor, woven of love by wisdom, with power. Welcome it, grasp it, and you touch the angel’s hand that brings it to you. Everything we call a trial, a sorrow or a duty, believe me, that angel’s hand is there. The gift is there and the wonder of an overshadowing presence. Your joys, too, be not content with them as joys. They, too, conceal diviner gifts. Life is so full of meaning and purpose, so full of beauty beneath its covering, that you will find earth but cloaks your heaven. Courage then to claim it; that is all! But courage you have, and the knowledge that we are pilgrims together, winding through unknown country home. — Fra Giovanni Giocondo (1433 – 1515)
The problem is, we may see the goodness in these words, but how do we make them a living power in our own lives? How do we learn to have a new relationship with painful moments?
Life of Learning Foundation provides free ongoing, online classes that will provide much needed help…
Learn How to “Break Through the Barrier of Any Pain That Seems Too Great to Bear”
OneJourney founder and Life of Learning Foundation director Guy Finley tells us that:
Until our gratefulness toward life no longer requires a happy feeling to hold its hand to be able to make its way out of our heart, we do not yet know the real nature of gratitude, nor its secret spiritual Cause. — Guy Finley (1949)
To help us understand and live these words, Guy presents free ongoing talks every Wednesday evening at 7:00pm Pacific Time, and every Sunday morning at 9:30am Pacific. Each talk is followed by a Q&A period when you can speak directly with Guy. The talks are all livestreamed for free, and you are invited to attend from wherever you are in the world.
During these special talks Guy will introduce the shocking fact that the fundamental barrier to a fulfilled life is our failure to understand human pain, its meaning for us, and what we can do that changes our relationship to it. Each class and in different ways, Guy reveals the unthinkable truth that negativity is not inherent in suffering. It is our resistance to the appearance of suffering that makes it a negative experience. Realizing the truth of this is the first step to proving to ourselves that all forms of psychological pain are optional.
Revelations such as these are stunning, but our openness to understanding them can change everything about our lives and help us feel true gratitude.
You will come away from each talk with a deeper understanding of the true nature of human suffering — and will find that the greater our understanding of suffering, the less it hurts.
Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!
Dr. Ellen Dickstein
The OneJourney Project