The Wonderful Effects of Being Grateful

My being given a beautiful flat at ‘Luminositty’ has been, at the deepest level, a result of my being grateful to the Divine even for things that could have seemed unjust, and of my expecting everything to always turn out to be a blessing, even if in disguise (see my recent post: https://labofevolution.wordpress.com/2017/01/20/how-in-truth-i-found-myself-living-at-luminosity/).

The amusing little drawing down below (courtesy http://www.johnehrenfeld.com) depicts quite exactly the present general situation between the two inner attitudes in us, human beings:

complaints-gratitude

Interestingly, I just happened upon an article in ‘Collective Evolution’ mentioning a whole scientific study about just those attitudes of mind (and heart), so I am glad to share that article with you too immediately, as it could bring about a crucial turning-point in your own life too:

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How Counting Your Blessings Vs. Burdens Can Actually Make You Happier, According To Science
Posted: 21 Jan 2017 11:02 AM PST

Well, look at the bright side… We’ve all heard this advice before, and if we haven’t, there’s a good chance we’ve said it to a friend who is in need of some cheering up.

But, what good does it do to look at the bright side? Does it actually make us feel better or does it just temporarily distract us from the less desirable emotions we are feeling at the time? This is not to say that we should only focus on the positive – that is to deny a part of ourselves and this world we live in; without the dark we would not be aware of the light.

When we count our blessings versus our burdens, however, it can actually increase our mood  – by up to 25%, according to the following study. When we are constantly thinking about what is going wrong, we aren’t leaving much room for thinking what is going right. By switching up your thought process, you will eventually start noticing your blessings more regularly and less of the burdens. If you are someone who believes in the law of attraction, this means you will be attracting more positivity into your life.

Practicing Gratitude Can Increase Your Overall Happiness

A study conducted by Emmons and McCollough in 2003 outlined the positive impact that practicing gratitude can have on our well-being. Research was carried out with three experimental groups over a 10-week period, Dr. Robert A. Emmons described the study in his new book ‘thanks!’

The first group was asked to write down five things they were grateful for that had happened in the last week for each of the 10 weeks of the study. This was called the gratitude condition.
The second group was asked to write down five daily annoyances or hassles from the previous week. This was the hassles condition.
The third group was asked to simply listed five events that had occurred in the last week, but not told to focus on either positive or negative aspects. This was the events or control condition.
The types of things people listed in the grateful condition included:

Sunset through the clouds.
The chance to be alive
The generosity of friends
The right to vote
And in the hassles condition:

Hard to find parking
Burned my macaroni and cheese
No money for gas
Before the experiment began, participants had kept daily journals to keep track of their moods, physical health, and general attitudes. These observations were then used to provide a comparison for after the 10 week experiment was finished.

The results of the study concluded that happiness levels were up by 25%. Those who were in the gratitude condition were more optimistic about the future, they felt better about their lives, and they even did on average about 1.5 more hours of exercise per week than those who where in the hassles or events condition. It’s amazing to think that all of this can be achieved just from focusing on your blessings rather than your burdens.

How Can You Implement More Gratitude Into Your Daily Life?

Depending on your current state, sometimes it can feel difficult to find things that you are grateful for. You may be going through a challenging experience, a break-up, the loss of a loved one, financial insecurity, but despite these challenges, there are always things to be grateful for. The more you make the effort to take note of these things, the easier this will become. It becomes a habit; much like the contrary, only focusing on the burdens in your life becomes a habit as well.

Gratitude Challenge

Who’s up for a challenge?! I challenge anyone reading this to start keeping a gratitude journal. Everyday, for one month, write down one thing that you are grateful for. It can be so simple! If you’ve had a particularly bad day, but your dog came and licked your nose you could write that down. You can literally put anything at all that you are grateful to have in your life.

If you have trouble sticking to these types of tasks, you can try something that has worked well for me in the past –enlist a friend. Find a friend who might be interested in trying this challenge out as well. Everyday send a text to your friend telling them at least one thing that you are grateful for, and in turn, they will send you one thing they are grateful for as well. This way you will hold yourself accountable. And if one forgets, hopefully the other will remember.

At the end of the month, reflect back on the month and see if your mood has changed or if you have felt more inspired to treat yourself well, and if overall your happiness has increased.

Change Your Mindset, Change Your Life

You see, life is all about perception. As Oprah Winfrey has said:

“Be thankful for what you have; you’ll end up having more. If you concentrate on what you don’t have, you will never, ever have enough.”

If all you are focusing on is what is going wrong, then you will never see what is going right. Change your focus, see what happens!

Much Love

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(Well, I do like this sweet greeting in the end also, don’t you?…)

How in truth I found myself living at ‘Luminosity’

Edit

(Translation from the French original of the previous post)

When the cherished house I had been able to build in 1994 at Repos, on the main beach of Auroville (already entirely thanks to the amount given for that by our Housing Service )  finally collapsed, almost twenty years later, in 2014, under the violent shocks of the waves just like the others in the place had before – because of the local promoters building harbors carelessly, the waves had turned into whirling masses and eroded the entire coast down from Pondy – I had to be relocated as an emergency more inland. But the place and the dwelling turned out to be too old and too shady, and so, very bad for my health.

Another old house, but bigger and sunnier, became free two years later on another Auroville beach, and I really believed that I could find again there an environment similar to the one I had in Repos; but that dwelling was finally attributed to someone else, a man, younger and more able than me to carry out its repairs and maintenance.

At first totally perplexed and disheartened by this intense disappointment, I quickly recovered nevertheless my full faith in the Divine Grace, with the firm belief that if that house had been refused to me, it had to be because the Divine Plan was preparing another one for me, even better!

And, my serenity regained through that full confidence in the Divine, I started waiting again patiently…

I didn’t have to wait for long: a few months only later, in early November 2015, the Housing Service informed me that a certain apartement could be attributed to me, if I liked it, at the Centre of Auroville, in a place called ‘Luminosity’, that I didn’t even know existed.

At first hesitant (many places in the Centre I wouldn’t have liked), when I made the effort to go and visit it nevertheless, It was instantlyquand je suis tout de même allée visiter j’ai eu instantanément love at first sight: I couldn’t believe my eyes in front of the beautyof the place, which on top of it woderfully deserved its name: ‘Luminosity’. Hardly one month later, on Christmas Eve, radiant with joy, I spent my first night in my new home

I of course thaked warmly the different Aurovilians whoin one wayor the other, particularly at the Housing Service, had made possible what for me  seemed to have been a veritable miracle.

It is only later that a memory suddenly resurfaced in my consciousness, which made the miracle somehow all the more miraculous:

A few months before, long before the message from the Housing Service, I had received an  email from a friend, a French lady,  who was looking in Pondy for an apartment to rent by the year in order to be able to come from France whenever she would wish to. As she was shown many of them, she had decided to use for her final choice one criterion : the  luminosity. When reading that word,  – without seeing at all the relation to my own need – I had told myself out loud “Yes, that’s it, the important thing is the luminosity!”

A t that precise instant, I had unwittingly placed my order, so to say, for my future apartment!!!…

13170689_10156868567385716_2101805795_o

In this view of the center of the building, one can see on the ground floor the closed doors (at the moment when the photo was taken) of the other studios that serve as offices or any kind of quiet work space; the one with the door open is the office with the name “Bhaga” on it, the one in which I am precisely writing right now this new article for my blog…!

The beautiful staircase visible just to its right is the one leading, among other apartments, to the one I live in on the second floor, to the right on the picture, hidden by the trunk of one of the magnificent trees in the Park all around. That Park forms an admirable setting for this jewel of a building, whose front wall, above its long japanese garden, constantly changes in a most living manner according to the opening or closing by the residents, of the high louvres on this side of the twelve apartments…

By night, with the various forms of lighting inside, the outside appearance of the whole building is simply enchanting! Truly worthy again of its wonderful name : “Luminosity”…

Thank you, thank you, Divine Grace who granted me my wish so literally, to the very word!

Comment en vérité je me suis retrouvée à “Luminosité”

Quand la maison chérie que j’avais pu construire en 1994 à Repos, sur la plage principale d’Auroville (déjà entièrement grâce à la somme donnée pour cela par notre Service des Logements) a fini par s’écrouler elle aussi comme les autres, presque vingt ans après, en 2014, sous les coups de boutoir des vagues – qui, par la faute des promoteurs locaux construisant ports et digues n’importe comment, avaient érodé toute la côte depuis Pondy – j’ai dû être relogée d’urgence plus à l’intérieur. Mais le lieu et le logement se sont vite révélés trop anciens et trop ombragés, et donc très insalubres pour moi.

Une vieille maison s’est libérée deux ans plus tard dans une autre plage d’Auroville, et j’ai bien cru que je pourrais y retrouver un environment similaire à celui de Repos; mais l’habitation en question a été attribuée finalement à quelqu’un d’autre, un homme, plus jeune et plus capable que moi d’en assurer les réparations et l’entretien.

Désemparée un moment par cette intense déception, j’ai tout de même vite retrouvé ma pleine foi en la Grâce Divine, avec la conviction que si cette maison m’avait été refusée, c’était que le Plan Divin m’en réservait quelque part une autre, encore bien mieux!

Et rassérénée par cette entière confiance, je me suis remise à attendre patiemment…

Je n’ai pas eu à attendre très longtemps: quelques mois à peine ensuite, début Novembre 2015, le Service des Logements m’a informée qu’un certain appartement pouvait m’être attribué, s’il me plaisait, au centre d’Auroville, dans un lieu appelé “Luminosité”, dont je ne connaissais même pas l’existence.

D’abord hésitante, quand je suis tout de même allée visiter j’ai eu instantanément le coup de foudre, n’en croyant pas mes yeux devant la beauté du lieu, qui de plus méritait merveilleusement bien son nom de “Luminosité”. Un mois à peine plus tard, c’est pour Noël que j’ai passé, radieuse, ma première nuit dans ma nouvelle habitation.

J’ai bien sûr remercié chaleureusement les différent Auroviliens qui d’une manière ou d’une autre, au Service des Logements en particulier, avaient rendu possible ce qui me semblait un véritable miracle.

Ce n’est qu’ensuite qu’un souvenir m’est revenu soudain en mémoire, rendant le miracle encore plus miraculeux en quelque sorte:

Quelques mois auparavant, bien avant le message du Service des Logements, j’avais reçu un email d’une amie française qui se cherchait dans Pondy un appartement à louer à l’année, de façon à pouvoir venir de France quand elle voudrait. Comme on lui en proposait beaucoup, elle m’écrivait que le critère qu’elle avait décidé d’utiliser pour son choix final serait la luminosité. En lisant ce mot – sans faire le moins du monde la relation avec mon propre besoin – je m’étais dit intérieurement, mais en fait à haute et intelligible voix: “Oui, c’est tout à fait cela, l’important c’est la luminosité!”

A cet instant précis, sans m’en douter, j’avais passé commande, pour ainsi dire,  de mon futur appartement!!!…

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Dans cette vue du centre de l’immeuble, on voit au rez-de-chaussée les portes fermées (au moment de la photo) des autres studios qui servent de bureaux ou autres espaces de travail; celui dont la porte est ouverte est le bureau  qui porte le nom de “Bhaga” et d’où je suis précisément en train d’écrire ce petit article nouveau pour mon blog…!

Le bel escalier visible juste à sa droite  est celui qui mène entre autres à l’appartement où j’habite, au deuxième étage et sur la droite de la photo, caché par le tronc de l’un des arbres magnifiques du Parc  tout autour. Ce Parc forme un admirable écrin de verdure pour cet immeuble-joyau, dont cette façade avant, au-dessus de son long jardin japonais, se modifie constamment de manière très vivante au gré de l’ouverture ou la fermeture par les résidents des hauts louvres ornant ce côté de chacun des douze appartements…

De nuit, avec les divers éclairages à l’intérieur, l’aspect extérieur de l’ensemble est féerique! Véritablement digne à nouveau de ce merveilleux nom: “Luminosité”…

Merci, merci à la Grâce Divine qui m’a littéralement prise au mot!

Sri Aurobindo: Continuation de la même Prophétie

Dans la Matière s’allumera le feu de l’esprit,

De corps en corps s’embrasera la naissance sacrée;

La nuit s’éveillera à l’hymne des étoiles,

Les jours deviendront la marche heureuse d’un pélerin,

Notre volonté, une forrece du Pouvoir de l’Eternel,

Notre pensée, les rayons d’un soleil spirituel.

Quelques-uns verront ce que nul ne comprend encore;

Dieu grandira tandis que les hommes sages parlent et dorment;

Car l’homme ne saura rien de la venue jusqu’à son heure

Et nul n’y croira avant que le travail ne soit fait.

(Savitri, I, IV, 55)

Alors, nous tous qui avons lu ceci (ici ou ailleurs, ou dans le livre lui-même), essayons de n’être pas parmi ces arrogants humains qui se croient des “hommes sages” quand en fait tout ce qu’ils font c’est qu’ils “parlent et dorment”…!

Interview

Essayons plutôt d’être parmi ceux qui vraiment s’ouvrent à la Nouvelle Energie dans toutes les parties de leur être, pour incarner déjà en quelque mesure que ce soit ce “Dieu” Qui”grandit” secrètement et silencieusement, mais irrésistiblement, au milieu de nous …

Sri Aurobindo: Continuation of the very same Prophecy

In Matter shall be lit the spirit’s glow,

In body and body kindled the sacred birth;

Night shall awake to the anthem of the stars,

The days become a happy pilgrim march,

Our will a force of the Eternal’s power,

And thought the rays of a spiritual sun.

A few shall see what none yet understands;

God shall grow up while the wise men talk and sleep;

For man shall not know the coming till its hour

And belief shall be not till the work is done.

(Savitri, I, IV, 55)

So, all of us having read this (here, elsewhere, or from the book itself), let us try not to be among those arrogant humans who think themselves to be ‘wise men’ when all they actually do is ‘talk and sleep’…!

Interview

Let’s try rather to be among those who truly open themselves to the New Energy in all parts of their being, for embodying already to whatever extent this ‘God’ Who is ‘growing up’ secretly and silently, but irresistibly, in our midst…

Sri Aurobindo: How the Change will Happen

(Translation of my French previous post “Sri Aurobindo: Comment le Changement se Produira”)

A few days ago, in the line for lunch at the Solar Kitchen, I met again an Aurovilian friend gone away for a few years to the States (her country of origin), who had come back recently. We immediately started exchanging views about the present situation in the US and the world in general. The darkness that seemed to be gaining ground everywhere was making her ask herself why she was still alive, when all the values she had fought so much for, during so many years, seemed reduced to naught, or about to be.

Spontaneously, without having thought about it before, I told her my own feeling, that the veritable change would be sudden, unexpected, in fact simply miraculous, and not really owed to human efforts like ours; for, I added quite forcefully, what humanity absolutely needs to understand once and for all is that Another Power is at work, which is the True Power, the veritable Action behind everything, and that it is this divine Power/Wisdom/ Love which  must become the Tuning Fork we all have to attune ourselves to at last, deliberately.

The queue coming to an end interrupted our talk, and once our meals were in our respective baskets each of us went back home.  And then, all of a sudden I knew why I had had that so strong feeling described before to that friend. It was a few particularly impressive lines from Sri Aurobindo’s epic Poem, ‘Savitri’, which now were very clearly back in my memory, lines in which Sri Aurobindo announced the decisive  moment in terrestrial evolution :

sri-aurobindo

Sri Aurobindo: Comment le Changement Se Produira

Il y a quelques jours, dans la queue pour le repas de midi à la Solar Kitchen, j’ai rencontré à nouveau une amie Aurovilienne partie quelques années aux USA, son pays d’origine, et revenue récemment. Nous avons immédiatement échangé nos impressions sur la situation présente aux USA et dans le monde en général. L’obscurcissement qui semblait prendre le dessus partout lui faisait se demander pourquoi elle était encore sur Terre, alors que toutes les valeurs pour lesquelles elle s’était tant battue, pendant tant d’années, semblaient être réduites à néant, ou sur le point de l’être.

Spontanément, sans y avoir pensé auparavant, je lui ai dit mon impression personnelle que le véritable changement serait soudain, inattendu, en fait tout simplement miraculeux, et non pas vraiment dû aux efforts humains comme les nôtres; car, ai-je ajouté avec force, ce qu’il faut absolument que l’humanité comprenne une fois pour toutes, c’est qu’un Pouvoir Autre agit, qui est le Vrai Pouvoir, l’Action Véritable derrière tout, et c’est ce Pouvoir/Savoir/Amour divin qui doit devenir le Diapason sur lequel nous nous accordons enfin, délibérément.

La queue se terminant nous a interrompues, et nos repas une fois dans nos paniers,  chacune de nous est rentrée chez elle. Et là, soudain, j’ai su pourquoi j’avais eu cette impression si forte, décrite auparavant à cette amie. C’étaient quelques lignes  particulièrement impressionnantes du grand Poème épique de Sri Aurobindo, “Savitri”, qui me revenaient maintenant clairement en mémoire, où Sri Aurobindo annonçait le moment décisif de l’évolution terrestre :

sri-aurobindo

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