Lawrence Van De Post wrote about his many encounters with the Bushmen of the Kalahari Desert. On one occasion a family group of Bushmen (The San people) had been traveling for many hundreds of miles and were in need of water when they stumbled into his camp. When he gave them water, each drank to his or her fill, and without a word of thanks, continued on their journey. Van De Post was insightful enough to understand that this was not ingratitude: helping another was so much a natural part of their society that thank you’s were not necessary.
If the situation had been reversed, without any question they would have given him their water also without any need or expectation of thanks. Their behavior was not ingratitude; it was actually an affirmation of the inter-connected nature of us all, and an expectation of mutual help that is an integral part of their society.
San power lies in the realm of the social. Each gift to San establishes bonds of reciprocity that forge the solidarity of San lives. To refuse a gift is an act of hostility. To accept is to acknowledge both a connection and an obligation. Each gift represents much more than a debt that must be honored by trade or reimbursed over time. Rather, it secures a lifelong duty that welds the individual to the greater social sphere brings the youth into the realm of the hunter, and the hunter into the circle of the hearth and the sacred fire.
And so it is with the spiritual path: sure, we can feel gratitude if we need to, but on deeper reflection we need to understand that all experience is our ego selves learning to find our inner selves.
The focus of gratitude should be both inwards and outwards, for this simple body that we live in is a tiny holographic piece of the whole of Creation; this interplay of blood and spirit is our human address during our lifetime, and it is a cell in the universal life-form, our Source.
So who can we thank for good experience?
Being appreciated is one of those things that really motivates us, both at work and in life, so a little goes a long way if you can offer up a genuine thank you to someone who has lent a hand when it’s appropriate. But don’t just thank the person; a thank you to the God of your understanding is a good life supplement to give daily!
The video here is by Dr Laura Trice, who talks about the power of ‘thank you’. Just because we are all connected does not mean we should ignore saying thanks, quite the opposite!
And it may help to ask for thanks as well. It’s important in our relationships to make it clear when we want to be appreciated, otherwise we run the risk of never hearing it because the other people in our lives just assume we already know we are, or that they don’t need to say it.