Your journey of discovery, transformation and mastery of Gratitude as a way of being already began.
How do we know. Well, for one thing, you’ve read this far … about 2250 words!
If you have not already, it’s just a matter of time before you recognize that you have launched into the Journey.
You will have experiences of the Journey unique to you.
However, we offer a sneak preview of the beliefs that most of us share.
Also, here’s the landscape, simplified but accurate, that summarizes the classic Epic Quest.
Level I Formulation
As life showed up, our biological systems generated a seemingly endless and automatic stream of impressions (thoughts, feelings, attitudes, sensations, gustatory tastes and smells) and involuntary reactions (“tells”, non-verbal communications, odors, and pheromones).
Our brains always made sense of what happens. It did the best it could. Failing that, it generalized, distorted or deleted the material facts of Life happening. Our brains force-fitted a story that made the best sense, in that moment.
This explains why rational and mature adults sometimes react like scared or angry children. Why again? Because within our Greater Self, our persona-ego is still a young and easily scared child … until we learned otherwise.
Level II Concentration
The most crucial choices resulted in our perceived level of Happiness … which we hold expresses the depth, richness and diversity of our communication and interactions with others. Everything else was just stuff.
How we make sense of our initial impressions, actual or imagined communications and deliberate or unwitting interactions with others determines what we feel and what that means about us and our relationship with others and the world at large.
Once awakened to that choice, we began to build the knowledge, power, and skills to make better choices. And, a result, we can induce more preferred consequences, such as more Joy, Happiness, Pleasure, Satisfaction, Wonder, and Gratitude.
Level III Momentum
We used Gratitude Protocols to retrain our brains, akin to how Cesar Milan, the Dog Whisperer, rehabilates nervous and aggressive dogs into submissive and responsive allies. Only in our case, we trained our persona-ego to become submissive, responsible and power allies.
The work entailed surrendering the isolated sense of I or me to our Greater Self and, in the process, induced the birth of an Integrated Self who today leads, feeds, and protects our persona-ego as a guide dogs for the physical world.
Level IV Integration
Then you became a journeyperson. You made mastering Gratitude as a Second Language. For a while you seemed to make a small advance every day. Then sometimes it felt that you had hit a plateau and remained mired there for weeks or months.
Instead of chasing after “it”, Life brought it to you. It seemed that everything and everyone showed up to teach, mentor, or coach you. You entered into the guild with masters who have dedicated themselves to your growth and mastery. Some of these circles of light are light-hearted, playful and easy. Others, not so much.
Then, like a ton of bricks, it hit you hard, “I am Gratitude. I am not longer just a recipient. I am a beacon and co-generator of Gratitude.” You crossed the final chasm. As the poet T. S. Elliot wrote, “And the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time.”