The Best Mantra is: Thank You
Mooji, one of my dearest wisdom carriers, tells a story of a King who gains a very powerful insight out of a series of seemingly unfortunate events. The King has a trusted Counsellor who accompanies him mostly everywhere, however, one morning the King sustains a terrible injury to his elbow. He calls for his Counsellor and asks: Why did this happen? The King becomes very angry at the Counsellor’s response being: “It is good, my Lord” and sends him to the dungeon. A week passes, the King is feeling better, and decides to take a ride on his horse in the countryside. He is enjoying it so fully that he doesn’t realize he has gone beyond the boundaries of his kingdom and is captured by a tribe of cannibals. As they are preparing for the feast – eager to delve into his plump and juicy flesh – at the last moment, his busted elbow is revealed. In their view, this makes the King inedible and they set him free.
The King returns to the castle, traumatized by the experience, and the reality sets in as to how immensely lucky he was to escape the deathly fires simply because of his injury. Suddenly, he realizes that he had made a terrible mistake locking up the Counsellor – for it was he who said sustaining such an injury was good. Wrought with guilt, the King rushes to the dungeon, apologizing profusely for his anger and his error. The Counsellor, pleased to see the King, hears his emotionally enthusiastic account of the life-threatening events and responds that this time incarcerated was also good for him. Confused, the King asks how that could be. The Counsellor responds: “My Lord, you see, I am always with you. I would have accompanied you on the ride and so they would have captured both of us. When they saw that they could not sacrifice you, then they would have sacrificed me. So, it is good.”
The nature of reality in these bodies on this planet is such that it is impossible to escape that we will be impacted to some extent by events on either a physical or emotional level. From a stubbed toe to a kidney transplant or a broken teenage heart to the loss of a parent, this human experience means ongoing encounters with situations that will not only challenge us, but perhaps shake us to the very core. Nevertheless, as the Counsellor’s perspective suggests, it is a choice as to how one interprets and how one respond to such situations. We can see them as being either perilous or positive. Jesus was quoted as saying: “The kingdom of God is within you”, which among other great nuggets of wisdom, may be translated as a clear appreciation that our experiences occur as either hellish or heavenly depending on our interpretation of them.
Almost two years ago, after beginning a new alternative treatment for cancer that included applying a topical cream to the skin covering the protruding lumps in my breast, the area opened up, gradually creating holes so large and deep that I could place the palm of my thumb inside. This was one of the most physically painful and emotionally draining experiences I’ve ever faced. Three times per day I would apply this cream, each time sending me into a state of sheer agony. I recall one night, which was one of many where I cried myself to sleep, that I prayed to Creator to either take the pain or to take me – it felt that I simply did not have the strength to endure any further. It was in this moment, that the words of Mooji came to me which I had heard many times before but somehow this time really understood… “You are not experiencing suffering, you are suffering your experiencing.” No question, the pain was real but I had a choice as to how I responded to it. The choice was there to be angry at life for this circumstance or to be grateful for the opportunity to transcend this suffering.
Dr. Hew Len in his work embodied this power of gratitude so beautifully. Working as a clinical psychologist, an entire ward of mentally ill patients healed without him seeing a single one personally. As the story goes, he simply reviewed each file and applied the traditional Hawaiian healing method of Ho’oponopono, which involved a four part prayer that began with the words “Thank You”. As Dr. Hew Len demonstrated, the power to create our own experience of life regardless of what’s happening exists for all of us. Life may feel gritty, uncomfortable, and even unbearable at times but it is always possible to move out of that feeling into something more empowering. An attitude of gratitude can transform our experience of even the most seemingly hopeless of situations. So, why not let THANK YOU be your mantra? When we have found our “thank you”, we have found our kingdom of heaven.