The master keys to a bright 2016!
The following is taken from Anam Cara: Your Soul Friend and Bridge to Enlightenment and Creativity.
The three master keys to contentment are gratitude, atonement, and forgiveness. They form a triangle, a symbol used historically by metaphysicians to denote stability and perfection.
It goes without saying that these master keys embody more than material attributes. They are imbued with a deeper significance that draws us away from the impulses of the mind.
Master Key #1: Gratitude
Gratitude unlocks nature's blessings to all who are thankful for life and the opportunity to fulfil their obligation to serve. Saying thank you to others and to say thank you upon awakening every day are privileges that are taken for granted, but it connects us to God.
There is a power in gratitude that is almost ineffable. It goes a long way towards mental healing and breaking the walls that separate us from inner peace and enlightenment. Saying thank you with sincerity is a prayerful act, the power of which cannot be overemphasised.
It establishes community and removes self-centredness, hubris, and pride. Unfortunately, we do not accord the necessary importance to such a simple but powerful gesture. Gratitude is the beginning of transformation.
Uttering aloud or internally "thank you for this day" positions us to receive nature's abundance.
Contemplate on the following quote on a daily basis and live by the principles articulated until they become organic and part of your constitution:
Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough and more. It turns denial into acceptance; chaos into order; confusion into clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend.
- Melody Beattie (American self-help author)
Master Key #2: Atonement
Atonement removes guilt, fear, and other obstacles that prevent us from realising our worth. Supplicating a god to pardon a wrong committed against another will reap marginal benefits, if any. Our inability to accept responsibility for hurting others is one of the biggest roadblocks to enlightenment.
As mentioned earlier, vicarious salvation is a destructive belief. It is only through our actions and willingness to apologise, and in turn forgive, that we can dismantle barriers to self-actualisation.
We somehow rationalise our infractions and even project our behaviour on others. In so doing, we are accumulating more karmic debt that only we can settle.
Atonement, as practised by religions past and present, is based on appeasement and imploring gods or God to render mercy. There is hardly any emphasis on righting the wrong perpetrated against a person or nature.
When you can say "I am sorry" without fear of rejection, it means that you have tamed your pride, another destructive element of the mind.
The following is an excerpt of a 2014 address I delivered at a religious event on atonement in Brooklyn, New York:
Ladies and Gentlemen, we have all erred in manifold ways, but asking God for forgiveness, atoning for what we call sin, through prayers, is just the beginning.
Today, I will give you the practicum.
There is no atonement without asking those who you have wronged for forgiveness. Pride, guilt, or fear keeps us from saying sorry, but all these emotions are self-destructive! Further, if someone comes to you seeking forgiveness, and you ignore or insult the person, you have fallen from grace and cannot ask God for atonement. Atonement is to ask forgiveness and also to forgive.
We can all perform rituals of atonement. Every religion has codified practices to expiate sins, but if you do not practise gratitude and forgiveness on a daily basis, I am sorry, but we have missed the mark!
So I challenge you now, and I challenge myself.
Let us look inward and follow the path that I have outlined. Pick up the phone and say hello to someone with whom you have severed relations. If the person hangs up, know that you have done the right thing. I guarantee that. And if there is someone here that you are no longer close with, walk over, embrace him or her and say hello.
Ladies and Gentlemen, that is atonement in action - a powerful tool that will draw you closer to God.
Master Key #3: Forgiveness
To forgive is to set a prisoner free and to realise that the prisoner was you. (Lewis B. Smedes)
The turn-the-other-cheek maxim should not be interpreted literally. The right to defend ourselves is an inherent responsibility and a natural response to danger; however, the right to seek revenge takes us to a dark, insidious place from where no good can come.
To turn the other cheek signifies letting go and not deliberating to cause further harm.
To forgive another who has wronged you is the ultimate act of charity and self-healing.
Turning the other cheek is a metaphorical expression that carries profound psychological benefits.
Harbouring resentment, hate, and animus towards another person can only poison our psyche. Forgiveness is cathartic. Admittedly, this is difficult to do, especially when acts of violence have been perpetrated against you or a loved one. However, we can learn from many cases of internecine violence over the last decade.
The establishment of reconciliation committees has restored stability, forgiveness, and peaceful coexistence among ethnic groups that were murderous towards each other. We have an innate capacity to forgive. We must forgive, let go, and know that karmic law is exact. For every act, there is a reaction, and everyone will be held accountable at some point - if not now, later. Forgiveness helps us to move on with our lives and not get mired in the past. It offers redemption and is an exemplary, influential act that transforms lives.
Now, contemplate on this truism by Henry Ward Beecher: I can forgive but I cannot forget is only another way of saying I will not forgive. Forgiveness ought to be like a cancelled note - torn into two, and burned up so that it can never be shown against someone.
Glenville Ashby's book Anam Cara: Your Soul Friend and Bridge to Enlightenment and Creativity, is available at Amazon