When I was growing up, one of the first things kids were taught was to say please and thank you. I know that's still the case in many families. Which is why it surprises me that this simple courtesy of expressing thanks when someone does something for another, no matter how small a thing it is, is too often forgotten.
Now it's possible that I'm an old extremist when it comes to this matter. I say thank you when when the checker hands me the sales receipt, when a waiter refills my water glass, and if traveling through Oregon, I say thank you to the gas station attendant who can't by law allow me to do it myself.
Sure, these folks are doing their job, and as a customer I'm "entitled" to service. But they too are entitled to my respectful courtesy when doing it for me. That's part of what creates a civilized world among humans. No level of entitlement or privilege should keep one from extending respectful courtesy.
I say thank you when a stranger holds a door open for me. And I say it when offered concerned advice, even if I don't take it -- it's the caring behind the advice that deserves thanks. I definitely say thank you when someone sends me a gift, or when I win a contest. To me, it's just plain rude not to do so.
What I'd like to know is, why doesn't everyone do the same?
Pondering this brought me to a realization -- saying thanks is more than just showing you have good manners.
It's actually an act of aligning with the spiritual universe's intention to provide us with blessings.
Many of us talk about having a gratitude practice. Some make open displays of talking about having gratitude for loving relationships with friends and family, for new work opportunities, for health and healing, and so on.
We do this in part because instinctually we know that giving gratitude creates a sense of inner peace and lovingkindness. We feel, deep in our soul, the warmth and power of being in gratitude as a continual spiritual practice.
Some of us may engage in a gratitude practice because we're told it's part of the law of attraction -- we want to manifest more blessings, and gratitude is part of the formula. That's fine when you're a beginner just opening to spiritual awareness but incorporating gratitude into your way of being must also include the respectful courtesy of saying thank you at every moment someone does something for you.
Saying thank you for the little things, or for gifts and services, even for advice or opportunities you don't want and don't take, helps keep ego in check -- something we all struggle with when sincerely walking a spiritual path. Psychospiritually, it also helps keep negative attitudes, unconscious privilege, and dysfunctional entitlement at bay. It's a powerful little practice in reminding us that we are at one with the Universe, but not greater than the forces of it.
With a humble heart, I thank you for reading this blog.