This second Deeper Need, gratitude, is very connected to our relationship with our spouses, but it's also very strongly associated with our younger self, or 'inner child'.
Its associated Energy Field is located in the physical area of the womb and spleen, and this is often held to be the place of our desires, feelings, emotions, creativity, imagination and confidence.
When Deeper Need 2 is healthy
When Deeper Need 2, gratitude is robust and healthy, people are full of joy, innocence and enthusiasm, and are simply grateful to be alive - all very child-like qualities.
Unfortunately, gratitude is probably one of the most neglected of the 8 Deeper Needs, and this has serious consequences for our feelings of trust, optimism and creativity.
Gratitude isn't always the logical response to life's difficulties
Gratitude doesn't always seem like the 'logical', rational approach to life that the rest of the world sets such great store by: if life is full of niggles, challenges and disappointments, it can be very difficult to see past all the negativity and to celebrate what’s actually still working for us.
But remember that Energy Centre 2 is the home of our 'inner child', and children aren't logical! Just because something isn't logical, doesn't mean that it's wrong: an optimistic, joyful, grateful and free approach is a much better recipe for genuine happiness, enjoyment and fulfilment in life than an approach characterised by bitterness, cynicism, burden, and 'realism'.
(In a later post, I’ll write more about the connetions between weak Spleen energy, gratitude and depression).
Gratitude and imagination
Imagination is another crucial factor affecting this Deeper Need. Just as children can imagine all the possibilities, as they haven't yet been fettered by 'realism' and cynicism, so a grateful person is far more in touch with their Creator; with the loftier realms of the soul; and consequently, with miracles, hope and joy.
When a person is grateful, they don't take anything for granted. They know that every breath is a present from God; that hot water in the shower is a gift; that having a home, a family, a comfortable pair of shoes needs to be appreciated for what they are: tokens of love from our Creator.
Because grateful people know that it's a miracle they have a car, or a job, or a spouse in the first place, it's not a big stretch for them to see miracles in their life that are above nature, like 'miraculous' recoveries from terminal illnesses; 'miraculous' cases of Divine Providence, where impossible-to-resolve problems got solved; and 'miraculous' instances where the worst case scenarios all turned around for the best - miraculously.
Gratitude leads to miracles
Remember the slogan from 'The Field of Dreams', that proclaimed: 'If you build it, they will come'? It's the same deal with gratitude and miracles. If we're grateful, if we try to say 'thank you' even for the difficult circumstances in our life that we don't like and we don't understand; if we can expand past our logical, rational, 'adult' worldview and see that everything in our lives is magical and miraculous, we'll invite many more of those amazing miracles into our lives.
When it's working well, this area is the place of joy par excellence. We feel filled up, cared for, and that our cup is running over with blessings. When it's not working well, we get cut-off from feelings of gratitude, cut-off from our spontaneous, carefree, creative and happy inner child, and life becomes one big list of things that we want that never really satisfy us, or chores to do, or burdens to carry, or competitions to win.
This is a sure-fire recipe for sadness and depression (which you can read more about over on the JEMI website this week).
Feelings vs desires
Our inner child is still there in the middle of all the complaining and despair, it's just stuck in the more negative, immature aspects of childhood like an over-riding preoccupation with the self; unrealistic expectations; never-ending demands; an inability to wait patiently, and a lack of appreciation for all the time, money, effort and love that's going in to us.
Instead of having 'feelings' like happiness and joy, we start to develop more and more materialistic 'desires' for a nicer house, a better car, thinner thighs, and a bigger bank balance etc.
A warped power of imagination can also cause dissatisfaction and ingratitude
When the power of our imagination gets turned to the dark-side, it can also cause us a number of problems in this area: why settle down and get married when there's so many beautiful women still available? Why settle for a three bed semi when I could buy a mansion with a pool? Why be happy with a mediocre career, or salary, or family, when I could achieve the best of the best (of course, at a price…)
The success of the advertising industry is built on - and feeds - this warped power of imagination, that tells us we can have whatever we want. The Jewish sages teach that a person doesn't die with even half his desires fulfilled. Whatever we have, we always want more, particularly if our sense of gratitude is very underdeveloped.
Instead of growing up tuned into 'the real us' - that happy, innocent, optimistic and enthusiastic self that knows that anything is possible, and that God is good, we end up being ruled by materialistic desires and childish urges to grab everything we can for ourselves. As a result, this can encourage very negative traits to flourish in our lives, like greed, selfishness, competition, ingratitude and depression.
In the next few posts, we'll take a look at some of the specific emotional and physical issues that can come up when Deeper Need 2, Gratitude, is out of whack, and also what we can do to easily strengthen it.