"It is a fact of the most amazing peculiarity that the greatest love affair that you could possibly have is with none other than yourself." - Yomi Garnett
My phone rang stridently at precisely 5am, rudely awakening me from a blissful dream in which I was lounging in sheer pagan luxury at the richly upholstered back of a black Rolls Royce Silver Wraith that was gliding elegantly and silently down Manhattan's Fifth Avenue. So fervent was my wish to re-situate myself in my luxuriously-appointed dream that, for a moment, I seriously considered the option of not answering the phone. However, realizing only too well that only one person on earth could possibly call me at that totally unholy hour, I rather crossly reached for the offending device.
"Top of the morning to you, my dear fellow!" My mentor, The Sage, announced, as if sleep was altogether alien to him.
“Good morning, Great Teacher,” I replied reverently.
Not one given to dissipating valuable time in trivialities, The Sage went straight to the point.
“I have an assignation to deliver a lecture later this evening at the Smithsonian Institute to an exclusive group of visiting theologians from the University of Oxford in the United Kingdom. I am supposed to expound on the topic: "The Greatest Love Affair.”
“That sounds perfectly fascinating, sir. I have no doubt that you will, as usual, acquit yourself creditably.”
Certain that he wanted to invite me as part of his entourage to the lecture, l immediately mentally allocated the evening to the event.
I couldn't have gone wider off the mark, as his next words threw me totally off balance.
“I have decided to accord you the privilege of designing and preparing my presentation. It should be in not less than five thousand words.”
And before I could lapse into any protestation whatsoever, he added, "I will expect the essay by e-mail not later that 10am.” He rang off.
Glancing in alarm at my bedside clock, I realized that I had barely four hours to execute my mentor’s assignment. With all and further thought of obscene luxury hastily abandoned, I sat at my table.
There is no greater power, in heaven or on earth, than Pure, Unconditional Love.
This should hardly come as a surprise. In its highest nature, love is the force we recognize as the Will of God. Unconditional Love is the highest, and the most luminous state anyone can possibly hope to achieve.
Quite explicably, most people simplistically think that Unconditional Love relates only to love between human beings. Nothing could be further from the sublime truth. Its real application is love for each and every situation you find yourself in, including those that are potentially upsetting, awkward and even extremely difficult. It is also, of course, love for all the people you come in contact with, embracing them with open arms, like an innocent child.
The spectrum of love is composed of ten components. These include:
Faith, Patience, Compassion, Generosity, Humility, Courtesy, Good Temper, Forgiveness, and Gratitude.
Of all these, however, the greatest love of all is Gratitude.
Gratitude occupies the innermost core of your relationship with your creator.
Gratitude reveals the bountiful fullness of your life.
Gratitude transforms what you have into enough, with more to spare.
Gratitude turns rejection into acceptance.
Gratitude turns confusion into order.
Gratitude turns haziness into clarity.
Gratitude turns your simple meal into a feast.
Gratitude turns your house into a home.
Gratitude turns that total stranger into your friend.
Gratitude illuminates the beauty in your past, ushers a sense of peace into your today, and creates a brilliant vision for your tomorrow.
Gratitude spices up your menu for a palatable life.
To come into conscious knowledge of the power of gratitude is to be constantly aware of your many blessings, and feel grateful for them. This can have a tremendous impact on the quality of your life, if only for the prosaic reason that when every available space in your psyche is filled with appreciation, the dynamics of your reality undergo unbelievable changes.
The personal experience of the greatest people in the world is that recognizing and acknowledging the profound power of gratitude has had an astonishing effect on their lives, making them more positive and enthusiastic individuals.
Actively practicing gratitude and appreciation can change your life as well, as there is not an iota of doubt that the simple act of being grateful on a regular basis will dramatically alter your perception in a totally positive way.
Permit me to invite you to join me in taking a look at some practical ways by which you can start incorporating gratitude into the very fabric of your life.
1. Have An Early Morning Gratitude Review
Adopt the daily morning ritual of taking a minute to silently think of all the people and things in your life that you are grateful for. This simple gratitude review will instantly set the tone for the rest of the day. It will help you focus your attention on other things to appreciate about your life.
2. Make A Gratitude List To Neutralize A Difficult Day
As soon as your day starts to spiral into a tough one, make a gratitude list. From time to time, we are all plunged into those challenging days when it becomes difficult to maintain a positive outlook. An antidote that can brighten a potentially bad day is to take a break and make a list of all the things you are thankful for. No matter the challenging experience, there are always things to be thankful for. Making a list of those things will shift your focus into creativity and resourcefulness.
3. Replace Anger With Gratitude
Instead of getting angry at someone, show gratitude. Admittedly, this is not an easy task to accomplish, but it is essential for your peace of mind. By a conscious act of will, resist the temptation to react in anger. Instead, take seven deep breaths, calm down, and think of reasons you are grateful for the presence of that person in your life. Totally commit to finding something, no matter how seemingly insignificant, to be grateful for about that person. Focus only on that reason to feel grateful. An amazing thing will happen. Your mental state will begin to shift away from your anger toward the more empowering state of empathy and compassionate accommodation.
4. Replace Criticism With Gratitude
Instead of criticizing, show gratitude. This simple strategy can dramatically transform an important relationship like a marriage. Most people are ignorant of the fact that constant spousal criticism can slowly, yet steadily, introduce very deep fissures into a marriage. Admittedly, it is of paramount importance to iron out contentious issues. However, no one relishes the prospect of being criticized all the time. So, when you feel the urge to criticize, stop and get a grip on yourself. Now, take a moment to think about all the reasons you are truly grateful for your spouse, or friend. Instantly express that gratitude instead, and watch as your relationship becomes stronger.
5. Be Grateful For Your Challenges
When you encounter a major challenge, be grateful for it. Many people meet their inevitable difficulties with complaining, and garnish it with feeling pathetically sorry for themselves. The salient truth is this: It is an ineffectual and totally unproductive attitude. Rather, attempt to realize that, in every adversity is an equal or greater benefit. Indeed, if you look hard enough, there is always a good side to every potentially bad situation. Could you conceivably see an opportunity to learn and grow? This simple change in perception can transform a challenge into something positive, with possible long term benefits. However, for that to happen, you will need to cultivate an attitude of gratitude.
6. Express Gratitude To Others At Every Opportunity.
Absolutely insist on expressing a sincere word of gratitude whenever someone shows you the least bit of consideration. This will always generate a feeling of pleasure in you, and it will encourage others to be more considerate. It is a matter of sad commentary that there are a lot of rude and inconsiderate people in the world. Yet, you can insist on being be a veritable force for good simply by spreading some gratitude around. Be on the lookout for even small acts of kindness, and express appreciation for them. You will discover that you can employ the power of your gratitude to help others feel good about themselves.
7. Focus On What You Have.
Refuse to feel shortchanged because you are not living in your dream house. Refuse to feel short changed because you are not behind the wheels of your dream car. It is infinitely easy to forget that there are billions of people who are much worse off than you are. Those people would be so grateful to have what you have. When you compare your life to theirs, you can’t help but feel grateful for the life that you do have. You may not have everything, but you must admit that you have been blessed in many more ways than one.
The more you focus on gratitude, the more you will appreciate your life and the happier you will be. An appreciative attitude will bring you into more conscious awareness of your blessings and prevent you from taking them for granted. Remember, the happiest people are not necessarily the ones who have the best of everything. Rather, they tend to be those who are grateful for everything they have. Therein lies the greatest love affair on earth. It is with yourself.
As Whitney Houston said, "The greatest love of all is happening to you now. The greatest love of all is inside of you."
Discover the gratitude in you, and have your best life ever.
The Greatest Love Affair by Jeffrey Osborne
Yomi Garnett, MD
Royal Biographical Institute,