Before you see where this article is heading, maybe you would like to take a short quiz on Harry Potter.
To all Harry Potter’s fans and foes out there, please give your best shot at answering the following question. What would you call Harry Potter’s grandfather? Any success yet, no? Come on, surely you can think harder than that? You’ve read it at least three times in the books before! Ok, here’s the answer, Harry Potter’s grandpa is’ Mr Potter!
Isn’t it funny? I apologize if the answer has left any unforeseen mental traumas or bodily bruises from falling off the seats. But the question that I really want to ask is more important than Harry Potter’s ancestry. The question is: what were you doing, when you were reading the joke?
Were you glancing through the words to get the answer straight away, just like what the other 90% of the people did and react with indifference? Or did you contemplate about the answer while looking for it, and welcome it with a smile or a look of disbelief? Truth be told, as long as you smile or jest at the joke, you are showing appreciation for the joke, you are showing gratitude for it. Do you want to know why?
Because you are living in the moment, that’s why. You are paying attention to life’s mini surprises and you are showing gratitude for them by responding accordingly. Only by ‘living in the moment’, you can find yourself giving the most sincere gratitude. In fact, showing gratitude should be a way of life!
‘So, if I am still alive and kicking, doesn’t it mean I’m living in the moment?’ And thus you are showing gratitude 24/7? Nope, most people never did live in the moment. A Zen parable illustrates this point perfectly:
Young Monk: Master, how do I practise The Way?
Old Master: When hungry, eat; when tired, sleep.
Young monk: Is it not what most people do?
Old Master: (Shaking his head in disapproval) No, no, no. Most people are not like this. Most people, when eating, are full of thoughts and desire, and when sleeping, are full of cares.
-AsiaPac, The book of Zen
Attention deficit is no longer an ingrained disorder; it can be picked up and learnt as we follow the pace of the society, the result is what the parable mentioned; core activities such as eating and sleeping are now congruent with the TV or work desk. One can’t help but wonder, is it really vital to work while eating? Multitasking is meant for tasks only, if eating has become a ‘task’ for you, you have lost a gift, the gift of appreciation and showing gratitude for the simple things in life.
It would be pointless if I had told you a step-by-step process for showing gratitude or living in the moment. I strongly believe in the maxim that; when the student is ready, the teacher will appear. Once you understood the significance of bringing gratitude into your life, you will have no problems understanding gratitude itself.
I’ll end with a quote, ‘Yesterday is gone, that’s why it is called the past. Tomorrow never comes, that’s why it’s called the future. Today is a gift, and that’s why it’s called the present’