Feeling Gratitude by Changing Your Perspective

Our attitude about our life and the feelings we have towards the world can be transformed simply by shifting our perspective. It’s not that difficult. You can see the glass as half empty or as half full. We can change perspective by asking to speak to different aspects or voices within us. For example, each of us is a human being. We can ask to speak first to the human side, the human aspect, of our human being-ness.

So, let me speak to the one who is Human.

I am the Human in all aspects of being human. I am not you, you are separate from me. I have my own thoughts, memories, desires and emotions. My feelings can be hurt. I can feel discontented, alienated. I can feel pain, the pain of rejection, of criticism, of loneliness and loss. I have fear, anger and resentment. I wish that other people, the world, and even the self, were different. I frequently want things to be other than they way they are.

Now let me speak to the other side of you as a human being. May I please speak to Being?

I am Being. I just am. I am the I am-ness of life. I am pure awareness, pure stillness, silence. I am unmoving. I have no preferences or judgments; I don’t need things to be other than the way they are. I don’t suffer because there is no me to suffer. I have no center, no boundaries or limits. I am all things. I am the world, I am the universe. Everything is a manifestation of me, complete, whole and perfect just as it is. I am complete contentment.

If we think of these two opposing voices, the Human and Being, as opposite ends of the base of a triangle, I’d like now to speak to the apex, which includes and yet transcends these two aspects. Now may I please speak to the one who consciously chooses to be a Human Being?

I am the one who consciously chooses to be a Human Being. As this voice I am grateful for this life. I am satisfied and happy. I feel great appreciation and great joy. Very often, when I am stuck only in the Human side and am not including my Being-ness, I want things to be other than the way they are. From the Being side, everything is perfect, complete and whole as it is. As a Human Being I feel great compassion for this and all others’ humanity, for just how difficult life can sometimes be. And so I feel empathy and compassion for all beings. I am grateful and I give thanks for this life, this world.

–Dennis Genpo Merzel
Zen Master Dennis Genpo Merzel is the founder of Kanzeon Sangha, an international Zen community, and abbot of Kanzeon Zen Center in Salt Lake City. His latest book is Big Mind, Big Heart: Finding Your Way  www.genpo.org.