Every single day, there are so many people that are helping you get through your own day. Public service officers, the postal clerk, the guy in drive thru that feels overwhelmed at the McDonald’s drive through, your wife that prepared you breakfast, the teacher that is taking care of your kids (so you do not have to). It is not enough to just say, “It is their job.”. Regardless, they are helping you get through your day.
If you meditate or reflect on this, you will become a happier, more grateful person. Just imagine if you did not have this well working machine on hand to get you through your day. Imagine if you had to do this all by yourself. People take so much for granted it is silly. Picture if the police all decided to take a holiday and nobody would respond if you called 911 in the event if someone broke into your home. Imagine if you did have to hunt and gather all your food, and the local supermarket did not stock their shelves full of fresh fruits and vegetables at a relatively inexpensive cost to you. Just imagine…
I once read a story of someone who lived in communist Russia who was used to long bread lines, where just as the name says, you were waiting in line a long time to just get bread. You weren’t in line for fresh filet mignon or a shrimp and scallop cocktail or Peking Duck. You were basically starving. But here in America, notice how much abundance there is to satisfy the basic needs of everyone. Americans again take all this for granted. When he came to America and visited his local supermarket, he just stood there in amazement, unable to speak, in complete wonder and awe over the abundance he encountered.
There are relatively few cases of people starving to death here in America. Or freezing to death, or running around naked due to the absence of clothing. What was once difficult to attain is now freely available (or nearly free) based on government programs and other private programs. Things like food, clothing, and shelter are widely available, and regardless of whether you pay taxes or not, education is free. Even in America no one is refused medical care if they need it to survive. Contrast that to other countries where if you were sick and could not pay the hospital bill, you would not receive care and suffer greatly in pain…or die.
The story of Hansel and Gretal in old folklore during the medieval times was based on some truth that if parents could not afford to feed all those in their family, they left their children out in the woods, abandoned, in order that the rest of the family could survive on enough food to live. You would never hear of that today. The percentage of money that the modern family spends on the basic needs like food, clothing, and shelter are far less than that in other third world countries. Once, again, American people and developed countries see this as so common and a necessity that they take it all for granted.
If you spend a few moments every day in gratitude of the abundance around us and also of those that make that abundance possible, your feelings of gratitude will further your peace of mind. Imagine that you lived in a destitute society where thieves could rob you of everything you own, and there was no law and order. No police, no 911 phone call, no firemen, nobody. You could have been living during the times when the Vikings and Visigoths raced through your town, taking your women and children as slaves and burning the rest of the village.
Now take a moment, even with all that you perceive society’s ills to be, to be thankful that there people and there is a free society in which you live that makes life more safe and secure. Say a prayer out to them, and wish them well. Doing this exercise will allow you to become more grateful and appreciative, which are qualities for a life filled with equanimity and grace.