It suddenly struck me this morning that gratitude had several subtle shades to it. So many that it could well qualify to be the one key that opens many locks as the Masters say).
One of other keys that I truly believe unlocks all doors is the 'Power of Now' (as Eckhart Tolle puts it) or 'living the moment' as all other gurus put it. Tolle says, in the Now, there is no pain. In Vipassana too, the Buddhist meditation, the focus is on intense awareness which brings you in touch with the 'here and now'. A 'now' that dissolves pain.
There are days when I feel small sparks of gratitude and it is a blessed feeling. I had this wonderful experience today and with it came another Eureka moment. Was not this feeling of gratitude the same as being in the now? As being intensely in the now without feeling any stress of being in the now? Was it not one of the best ways to live and feel life deeply? Again to use a phrase I am more and more in love with, to kiss life deeply? Is not gratitude that liberating contentment that makes you feel a deep kind of love? The present moment. Just a deep, perfect moment.
I always thought that meditation helped to get to the state of being in the now. But meditation is hard work. It is easier to do something else you love with deep concentration and do it like it were a prayer. But still, both the above tasks, meditation and doing what you love with total concentration, may not always be possible. Gratitude is much easier to access - just step down into the moment as you experience it while eating, running studying, watching, playing etc and you suddenly find that wonderful peace, contentment, depth, tranquility and feeling of oneness.
Gratitude then, appears to be the master key that unlocks all these doors. Step down, sink into the moment and feel life enveloping you.