We Cannot Teach Gratitude
Experiencing true gratitude isn’t about saying “thank you.”
You can’t teach it, because it can only be felt on a very personal level.
An excerpt from Prem Rawat’s address in Wembley, England.
There was a time when I was named “Prem”—and I couldn’t say “Prem.” I couldn’t pronounce my own name! Who was I, then? Somebody else? “Gaga goo-goo”? Can you imagine, all of us would be named “Gaga Goo-Goo.” We all said “gaga goo-goo”.
So, “Nice to see you, Gaga goo-goos.” But, it’s not that! It has nothing to do with it! “What is the reality?” Unless you can get to that, the rest doesn’t matter.
People in their lives: “Oh my God, I have this problem.” You know, you’re not that unique. You’re pretty unique. You’re not that unique. Let me explain something. This problem that you’re experiencing? It’s used. Somebody else had it before. And now you have it. And when it’s done with you, it’ll go find somebody else. They’re not unique! It feels like they’re unique, but they’re not unique.
Because in this life, in this existence, find that lake—the lake of serenity—and swim and feel. And that’s how gratitude comes. That’s the true gratitude. True gratitude does not have to be taught! We teach our kids, “Say ‘thank you.’”
My own daughter, with my grandson: “And what do you say?” And he goes, “Thank you.” And I was thinking about that one day…what is gratitude? So, gratitude truly is when somebody does something for you that is good, and because that made you feel good, you take some of that goodness and you give that in return to that person. That’s gratitude. Not “Thank you.”
This is what we need to teach—because gratitude is extremely important. But we have shortchanged it by these words called “thank you.” Indians have the similar word; it’s called “sorry.”
They say it for everything—“Sorry. Sorry? Sorry. Sorry-sorry-sorry! Sorry. Sorry-sorry-sorry, sorry, sorry-sorry, sorry.” It’s almost like “thank you” to them.
But we’re starting to teach words, where what needs to be taught is feeling. So, in the same way, peace is not this word, “peace.” Peace is something else; it cannot be described. And that’s what you need to feel every day in your life.
– Prem Rawat