The Astonishing Power of Gratitude
I was gratified by the overwhelming response to my recent Roundtable Discussion on the Astonishing Power of Gratitude held on Feb 28, 2011. At the end of the discussion, I requested my distinguished guests to send me any further thoughts that they were not able to share with the group due to lack of time (the discussion already was carried on for 30 minutes beyond the original schedule) or other reasons. One of the responses that I received was from Charles Prabakar, whom I had known for quite some time as a business colleague when we both worked for a big corporation several years ago. He still works in the corporate world as an Executive Global Partner and a Strategy Consultant.
Referring to the Gratitude as a high positive vibrational energy, Charles commented that whatever we may call it – energy, passion, matter and/or value – and in a way they all mean the same thing if you look at the universe within the context of Einstein’s vantage point that it all boils down to managing that energy whether it be external facing and/or internal facing. In this blog, I want to share the rest of his thoughts (he writes his own blog that I enjoy reading regularly and he is now appearing here as a guest writer) where he summarized the discussion that we had along with some of his stories derived from the three major spiritual works (or religions) of the world. So, here he goes…
First of all, I appreciate you taking the effort to organize a webinar on the topic of – POWER OF GRATITUDE, an important topic, that is often overlooked! The points you covered, especially within the context of good and evil – and how to overcome evil with goodness – using the power of FORGIVENESS is truly outstanding! As you rightly said, first and foremost – forgiveness is for our own good, and so, when we get that part correct, in our heads – there is lot more motivation on our end, to initiate the forgiveness process. However, the duration and intensity of the process varies from person to person (& situation to situation as well) – depending upon the degree of hurt and/or the pain caused by the other party.
If I might add one more thing to your point (you probably already covered it as the conference call line was disturbed a lot) – this is where, we have to show empathy and put ourselves in other person’s shoes and see why he/she might have caused the hurt. This type of introspection, I have seen opening many doors for forgiveness and then reconciliation. What I have learned in the process is – in most cases, the hurt is caused by mere “MISUNDERSTANDING/MISINTERPRETATION” of certain events – and the sad part is that people continue to carry these misunderstandings for years, because both parties fail to create a conducive and open/honest environment to listen and understand each other point of views. Failing to create such an open forum- invariably results in more misunderstandings (as one misunderstanding leads to the other) – and from that point onwards, both parties start misinterpreting even the good actions of each other. The reason for that misinterpretation is – these misunderstandings are furthered fueled by – blind beliefs in hearsays (e.g. he said, she said like stories) and cover-up attempts without properly checking the facts. Let us all remember the saying – what we hear may not necessarily true, what we see may not necessarily true, through verification of the facts within its context is what brings out the truth –as echoed by President Nixon in his famous quote– “Trust, but verify!”.
Speaking of this facts verification process, I am reminded of the old sheep story – where we put a stick in front of a sheep, first one will jump, the second one will follow the suit and then the third one does the same. Now if we take the stick off, the rest of the sheeps invariably will jump, exactly, in the same place where the stick was held (even though stick was taken off). Funny story, but scientifically proven one. I guess, we humans in some cases (especially when we are hurt and participate in blindly believing environment of gossiping), behave like those sheeps – and let misunderstandings/false information carry from person to person – without giving the opportunity for the other person to explain his/her point of views. As the saying goes –“even someone in death row gets a chance to explain their point of view and so let us, at a minimum, listen to each other point of views”. I am sure, I am preaching to the choir as you are expert in this area.
Now to your point regarding overcoming hurts (or evil deeds) with goodness/positive attitude – there are few examples in the scriptures of both east and west – of how great people of yester years have overcome hurts and injustice. For example, in Ramayana, Ram had to go through 14 years of exile because of the promise made by his Father Dasharat to one Kaykeyi – as part of her behest to crown her son Bharat. At that point perhaps it was an injustice (or one can call it hurt), but in grand scheme of things – it worked out good for Ram, from the standpoint of living and fulfilling his theological ethics –as during exile is where, he gets to know Hanuman, and together they fight one of the greatest justice wars to bring justice. Had he got gone on exile, all the great things perhaps may not have happened in his life. So in most cases, God uses an exile and/or unjust situation for a larger cause.
Another example I can quote from bible/torah is the story of Joseph – “Being sold to foreigners in exile, wrongly accused – still Joseph did not murmur, kept believing. An insight from his life is – when he was already on his rock bottom (i.e. in exile), God allows another blow (imprisonment for the things he did not do). On the outset we might be wondering why. However, God had a larger purpose – Had he not gone on exile, he would not have met the Butler – and had he not met the butler, he would not have interpreted the dreams for the butler – and, had he not interpreted the dreams for butler, he would not have had the opportunity to interpret the dreams for the King which finally gave him the opportunity to get elevated. I guess when we take the positive attitude – every setback is a stepping stone for a success – and that mindset changes the whole perspective of hurt!
Yet another quote from Quran – Those who avoid the greater crimes and shameful deeds, and, when they are angry even then forgive; ……The recompense for an injury is an injury equal thereto in degree: but if a person forgives and makes reconciliation, his reward is due, from God … But indeed if any show patience and forgive, that would truly be an exercise of courageous will and resolution in the conduct of affairs.”
On closing – the moral of these stories /quotes (including your webinar) in nutshell is “overcome evil with goodness”. As it turns out, the reason we celebrate Festival of Light (Dewali) is to remembering the event where – evil was won with goodness – and so, let us all strive towards winning evil with goodness in our personal lives – and celebrate next Dewali – with a full realization of its meaning! — Charles Prabaker.
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Dr Surya M Ganduri, PhD. PMP. is the Founder & President of eMBC, Inc., an international firm specializing in strategic and executive leadership development processes that Help People Succeed in an Evolving World. Dr Surya has over 28 years of business experience in management consulting, leadership development, executive coaching, process improvements, organizational development and youth leadership. For more information visit www.eMBCinc.com or contact eMBC, Inc., directly at (630) 445-1321.