It's easy to see the tide of feelings in a child, where they come and go quickly and openly. As we grow, one of our spiritual tasks is to move beyond this purely emotional response to life and begin to cultivate "habits of the heart," as Daphne calls them. What this means is that we learn to love even when we don't feel loving, be kind when we'd rather be curt, and feel grateful when we don't particularly feel like being thankful. In this way, we turn feelings, which come and go, into conscious attitudes that we act upon even if we don't feel like it.
In some ways, our attitudes determine everything, because they are the glasses through which we see the world. Is the world a wonderful place or a firestorm? When we consciously cultivate healthy attitudes, such as love, joy, and gratitude, we begin to remake our perspective of the world.
The beauty of an attitude of gratitude is that it instantly connects us to everything else. In an important way, it is a recognition of the connection, the switch, between us and the rest of life. And consciously recognizing it opens the flow—the more grateful we are, the more of an abundant sense of life we will experience.
That's the irony about the relationship between attitudes and feelings. As the theory goes: the more you cultivate the attitude, even if you don't feel it, the more you experience the feeling. The more loving we are, the more love we feel. And the more thankful we are, the more we experience the richness of spirit that grateful feelings produce.
~ M.J. Ryan
Jason E. Royle
Welcome to my blog. I'm an open-minded theologian committed to Christ-like compassion & understanding.
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