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Unconditional Gratitude

By Harold W. Becker

Every moment is a precious, unique and incredible gift of life. A magnificent sunset, a cool morning breeze, the laughter of a child, the warm embrace of a friend - these are the real treasures that require nothing more than our recognition of them. When we are fully present, our love and gratitude is as natural as breathing.

This time of year tends to find us experiencing a great number of festivals, holidays, gatherings and a wide variety of traditions around the world. Many of these observances have as their focus the understanding of thankfulness and gratitude and at their core, a deep meaning of love. Gratitude and unconditional love, they go hand in hand, yet how well do we truly understand their importance and affect on our lives?

Giving thanks is universal across all cultures and is expressed in a myriad of ways depending on beliefs, rituals and social norms of the day. Some see it as reaping an abundant harvest, others as acknowledgement for the blessings of the good that has happened personally, in the family and perhaps in the community or nation. Each is a recognition that we have been taken care of in some acceptable or exceptional way. In essence, it is our formal way of taking time to recognize the beauty and bounty held in every moment and the amazing way that the whole of life is woven in a grand design to provide for our existence and joy.

The wonder of our very life depends on an amazingly intricate and complex combination of interactions that are continuously underway. From our breath and incredible functioning body to the daily encounters with nature, humanity and beyond, each moment is filled with an infinite number of facets we could single out to be grateful for. However, in our oft unbalanced outer pursuit of worldly things we forget or ignore our "precious moments" and instead ponder what is missing or how things have not gone or are going our way. Only occasionally do we stop to give thanks for a notable or obligatory reason.

Gratitude for a harvest gone well is certainly important, however if we are not aware that our body is our temple for example, and necessary to actually experience the harvest, we have missed the real moment of understanding gratitude. It all works together. And… it is easy to express our gratitude when things are going well, however what happens when the harvest falls short or we have challenges and difficulties in our personal and collective lives? If relationships, finances or health are in jeopardy, are we still grateful? How do we accept life and still be thankful when at times appearances seem to say our lives are falling apart? True gratitude, like true love, is unconditional.

Unconditional gratitude is unconditional love in action. It is our innate willingness to accept every step of our path no matter what and still maintain a sense of thankfulness. When we remain present in the moment and embrace the good with the less than good, we are coming from our heart that knows all is in order. In these moments, we notice the truly important things and allow our journey to be one of experiences without the judgment of right or wrong, good or bad. This automatically places us in a higher understanding of life that incorporates the big picture. Gratitude is actually how we remind ourselves of the real reason for being on this beautiful orb we call home; that it is ultimately about loving all life unconditionally.

As you celebrate each moment with friends and family or just in the company of yourself and a gorgeous sunrise, consider allowing unconditional gratitude to be your view on life. Let thankfulness come from the depths of your heart and watch what happens.

From my heart to yours, I wish you joy, much laughter and an abundance of love.

Harold W. Becker is President and Founder of The Love Foundation, Inc. and is the author of Unconditional Love -- An Unlimited Way of Being.
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