The Virtue of Gratitude


Gratitude is a unique virtue.

You cannot request. demand, or force someone to express gratitude.

Unlike many other attributes, gratitude is a gift. It is not an exchange.

The Greek philosopher Cicero said: “Gratitude is not only the greatest of the virtues but also the parent of all the others.”

As Professor Stephen Hawking said, “The entire solar system is not even a speck in the universe. It is located on the fringes of a mid-sized galaxy called the Milky Way, which is one of billions of other galaxies, many of them far bigger, and interspersed with dark matter that may be even larger than what we can see.”

Think about it.

As we know it at this point in time, the Earth is the only planet in the known universe to have life. Homo Sapiens is often referred to as the pinnacle in the evolutionary spiral.

Just being on the only planet known to nurture life – isn’t that a good reason to be extraordinarily grateful?

The human system can be looked upon as a universe – there is a universe inside us that is as complex as the universe outside. Isn’t that a good reason to be full of gratitude – the mere fact that the system ticks on relentlessly for decades?

The human immune system is one of the most intricate and well-planned systems that one can imagine. All the properties of an ideal system are built into the human system.

For example, the human system has redundancy – we have two lungs where one would be enough, two kidneys where one would be enough, we barely use one-third of the liver – the list can go on and on. Shouldn’t we be grateful?

The human system has a modular architecture – as genetic engineering has shown; entire body parts can be “built” from a single cell. Doesn’t a single embryo “build” itself into a human? Breakthroughs in curing diseases that have no cure is available are on the horizon – thanks to stem cell (modular) technology. Shouldn’t we be grateful?

The human system adapts – to weather conditions, different places, different types of food, contrasting cultures, and diverse people. Which other system has this degree of adaptability? Shouldn’t we be grateful?

The human system is prudent – it uses available resources in the best possible manner. If we eat less or are resting, metabolism slows down. If we exercise too much, it forces us to slow down, relax, and drink fluids to make up for what was lost during the work-out. Isn’t that beautiful?

There is much that we should be grateful for – and yet we lose no opportunity to cry about all that is wrong with the world.

Look at the rising and the setting Sun.

Sit under a cloudless sky in the night and try to count the stars in one square inch of space that you can see.

Breathe deeply and see the elixir of life (oxygen) fill your lungs and envelop your mind in bliss.

Savor the food that you eat every day and share it with those who don’t have anything to eat.

Learn to say “Thank You” as many times as you can.

Smile at a stranger and rejoice at the smile that comes back.

Hug your loved ones and experience the useful chemicals released in the process (merely shaking someone’s hands with warmth can result in the release of useful hormones that last up to an hour – scientific evidence has shown this under wildly different contexts).

Learn to be grateful.

Enjoy the magical transformation in your perspective and personality.

With Gratitude,

Dilshad and Krishna




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