Mind Readings: Gratitude and Delusion

In today’s mind readings, some thoughts on gratitude and delusion. Why is gratitude so hard for some people? It’s because gratitude is predicated on being thankful for what you have, and delusion is all about being unhappy that things are different than they are.

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Machine-Generated Transcript

What follows is an AI-generated transcript. The transcript may contain errors and is not a substitute for watching the video.

Christopher Penn 0:15

In today’s mind readings, some thoughts, one of the things that I saw recently was.

And I’ve seen this a lot on LinkedIn, people sharing posts about gratitude, expressing gratitude, and doing gratitude exercises, keeping a gratitude journal or diary and stuff.

And I think that’s all important.

It’s all good stuff to do.

So why don’t more people do that? Right? It seems like, it’d be a pretty easy thing to convince somebody off, hey, what would happen if you kept track of all the things in your life that you were thankful for? And you wrote them out daily? Or what would what would your life look like if you kept a running journal running tally of hey, here’s the good things that happened today that I’m really thankful for.

Why don’t we do that? Well, one of the reasons and this is opinion, this is not backed up by scientific fact, I don’t have any papers or academic citations to back this up.

So this literally is just what’s on my mind is that we’re obstructed by delusion.

Now, I’m using delusion in the traditional Buddhist sense, which is wanting things to be different than they are, you’re one of the tenets of Buddhism is that unhappiness comes from wanting things to be different than they are.

I’m, you know, I’m Korean, I’m in my 40s and stuff.

And if I wanted things to be different than they are, if I wanted to be, you know, six feet tall, and have, you know, blonde hair.

That’s not reality.

Right? That is not reality.

And me wanting those things, is delusion.

And the more I focus on, wanting things that are not reality, the less happy I am.

Right, as opposed to acceptance of truth, which is, I’m not six feet tall, I don’t have blonde hair, and I am Korean.

Right? I can if I accept that, then that conflict, of wanting things to be different than they are goes away.

Because I accept this is the way it is, this is what I’ve got to work with.

What’s wrong with it, make the best of it.

Gratitude is predicated on being thankful for what you have.

And if you were unable to see what you have, because you have are mired in delusion of wanting things to be different than the way they are of wanting what you have to be different.

You cannot express gratitude.

There is no way for you to be grateful for things you don’t want.

Right, there is no way for you to be grateful for things you don’t want.

And so as powerful and as useful and as good idea.

And good intentioned.

Things like gratitude exercises are, because they are predicated on accepting the way things are first.

If you’re not there yet, you can’t make those exercises work for you.

So the first step to making stuff like gratitude exercises work for you and make it feel like it sticks.

Like make it feel like it’s something meaningful is those acceptance exercises of here’s the way things are, you know, it’s fine to have goals, things you working towards, you know, if you want to be a millionaire, that’s fine.

What would not be fine is being angry and upset that you’re not a millionaire now, right? Wanting to be a millionaire now, which is not the truth, unless you are a millionaire is delusion.

And so you then can’t be grateful for the roof over your head that you do have for the food that’s in front of you that you can eat, if you have those things for internet access to watch a video like this.

So acceptance exercises come first, what do you have? And it’s okay to, to want things to be different than they are to a degree, if it motivates you to help set you on that path towards getting those things, but still being clear headed and clear eyed about what you have right now.

That’s how you build that pathway towards happiness.

And then you can say yes, I want to be a millionaire someday.

I know that I’m 1000 there right now.

And I’m okay with that right now.

Because now I can see that this is the situation I’m thankful for what I already have.

And it’s okay to want more and build a plan to get there.

But accepting the way things are now unlocks that gratitude.

So

Christopher Penn 5:17

if you’ve been trying exercise like that, or if you just see posts like that on LinkedIn, and you’re like, internally, what’s wrong with me that I don’t feel what these other folks are apparently feeling that if they feel like they can express much gratitude, then the first place to check in on is, well, do I want things to be different than they are? Am I denying reality? And if you can, can make that determination and then slowly start chipping away at what is not reality until you can get to a point where you can see things clearly and objectively, then maybe those posts will then start to resonate to say, Okay, can you be grat grateful for whatever is happening in your life tip like Well, yeah, you know, nobody crashed a car through my house today.

Nobody hit me in an intersection.

You know, all my customers didn’t fire me today.

My boss didn’t fire me today.

And you can start doing this exercises and start capturing the reality of a situation and then the gratitude that you can come from that.

So that’s today’s mind reading.

Hope you found it useful.

Let me know in the comments, either here or in Slack or wherever it is that we stay in touch.

Let me know what you think.


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