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Feeling Blessed at Sunset

What does it mean to feel blessed?

Having grown up in a spiritual family the word “blessing” itself was only too familiar to me. I heard the advice to “Count your blessings” more times than I can remember! Yet lately I’ve been wondering about the deeper meaning of what it means to feel “blessed.” Could there be more to it?

Blessings As Gifts

Many people understand blessings as an external phenomenon, a gift that comes from outside us. We are said to be blessed with good health or a happy family or material abundance…It may or may not come from a prayer or request on our part, but it seems to be something mysteriously bestowed upon us from some higher power.

All these sayings make sense to me, however the word and the reality that it conveys have recently taken on an even deeper meaning.

Surprisingly, the people whom I have met who have felt the most blessed have been people from extremely simple and modest backgrounds, both in this country and around the world.Their feeling of being blessed had nothing to do with any physical or material advantage they had received… rather it was a deep part of who they were… they felt blessed by being alive. In the same way that they were a man or a woman, or part of some particular family or community, they were blessed by the mere fact of their own existence.

Jesus gave one of his most profound sermons on the nature of blessing in his sermon on the mount. There he gave many examples of the kinds of blessings we can experience in this life: “Blessed are those who are pure in heart for they shall see God…” Recently, reflecting on those words, I noticed that he connected the word “blessing” with a person’s inner quality — the people he described were blessed by something that they were; not by something they had been given or done.

Recently I see more and more of my life as blessed. On the one hand, I am blessed with good health, loving friends and family, enough resources to meet my needs, incredible spiritual resources offered to me from every direction and a chance to serve others.

Even looking at the difficulties that I have faced, I see in retrospect that these challenges ultimately made me stronger or taught me an important lesson. These challenges were also blessings!

Yet even these “blessings” are on the outside.

Feeling Blessed

On the other hand, I see now that being blessed  is who I am, not just what I have received. I am blessed just to be alive. Just to breathe. Just to be aware in this magnificent universe.  My life has left me with this feeling that in my very nature I am blessed.

What has brought me to this place? I think it’s a combination of regular meditation and being of service to others. Whether teaching or simply helping someone who needs help, I am able to tap into something that is greater than me. I wonder in those moments, am I sharing something of my own nature or something greater than me…? What a mystery!

My experience is that by feeling blessed, we come closer to to the reality that we are already blessed. This feeling also takes us away from feelings of loneliness, anxiety, fear and despair, and carries us toward peace, fullness and contentment. It connects us both to others and to that larger reality within.

So take a few minutes each morning and remember:

You Are Blessed!

Spreading Blessings Around Us

By having a desire to share that sense of being blessed with others, we increase it in ourselves. There are a million different ways of achieving this, starting with an intention within: “May I be a blessing to at least one other person today.” It is a law of nature that hat we desire to give to others grows deeper in our own awareness.

Another way of accomplishing this, which has completely transformed my own life, is learning a technique or a tool for blessing others. I learned this technique in Rishikesh, India a number of years ago, I use it every day and a few years ago was given the opportunity to teach it to others. It connects us to that deepest part of ourselves and allows that blessed reality to be shared in a tangible way with others. Sharing this reality with others every day has brought me a sense of fulfillment greater than I can find the words to describe.

Editor’s Note: John will be leading upcoming an Blessings Course in Boone, NC at the Art of Living Retreat Center Sept. 20-23. If you’re interested, check it out here. Be on the lookout for other courses later this year are offered in Honolulu and New York City.

 

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