This is the harvest time of year, the time of year when we talk about gratitude. Last year for my Thanksgiving column, I asked my good friend Alan Swanson to permit me to re-publish his wonderful essay about gratitude. This year, he's come up with a new essay looking at gratitude, joy and love with his Seed Point meditation. I share it here:
By Alan Swanson
For many years now, I have been working with a process which I have come to call a Seed Point. As with an actual seed, there is growth involved. With proper nourishment, the seed works with creation to manifest its specific nature into the world.
This particular Seed Point is something different, for it works in the realm of what we term the future. It involves working with an experience we are having in the present moment, and projecting the completed process into the future. This, in order to create the most beneficial result possible.
The business I had was one that fell somewhere between sculpture and custom commissions. Each undertaking unique. Some taking months if not years to complete. The final stages, presentations or installations could be quite stressful. Typical human emotions of fear, doubt, apprehension and of course worry, to name a few.
What I began to do, although the sources for this are lost to time, was to visualize myself and my associates, walking out a door, driving away smiling, and being happy. Clients and everyone else delighted with what we accomplished. That was it. Almost all of the time that’s what happened. Along with quelling the worries and fears. Like magic.
Most people are familiar to some degree, with methods to create abundance, getting what you would like, you need, or any number of end results. Am I offering something new here? Perhaps a new way to navigate into what we call the future, by activating our most important resources: Gratitude, Love and Joy.
The process offered is quite simple and takes almost no time to do. It involves self-generating feelings and emotions. And then some visualizations or even just thinking about a future point in time. This becomes the Seed Point. A place of growing to, and growing from.
The universe creates continually in the Now. It is always taking place through us, whether we are aware of it or not. We are creator beings, blessed with a mind that can recognize that creation process. Working with a recognition of the past, we can direct that creation toward a future goal. We can learn to work with creation as creation works through us, expands and transforms the who we are into the What we are.
Activating gratitude, love and joy in your life
I would like to give you a great gift. Although in one sense it is not mine to give, for it is something you already possess. It is the reminder and recognition of Gratitude, Love and Joy, and a specific way to activate them in your own life. I will share another perspective on understanding their power residing within you. And how you might use that power to navigate into the future.
Gratitude, is the appreciation of what you are, what you have experienced, are experiencing, and what you will experience. Opening yourself to the heartfelt feelings of thankfulness, opens a special place within. From a very simple, to the most important event in your life, the feeling is the same. The benefits of being in a state of gratitude are endless. You can find that place within. You can honor those experiences, bring them to life, along with a heightened awareness.
Doing that opens the door to the expression of Love. It can be felt as an actual warmth and centering within the heart, the physical heart area. You can generate that Love Emotion easily by just thinking of someone or something especially important to you. Or perhaps the beauty of the world, a loved one, a child, or an animal. How does that make you feel, especially if recognized within the expression of gratitude?
The feeling of gratitude expands even more. We have a core nature, and this is it. This is true self, emoting a powerful, fundamental vibration of the universe. Internal versus external cause and effect. Of course it is wonderful to experience the feeling of love from the external, “live” event. Yet to generate the gratitude / love feelings internally, offers another dimension of freedom. You are no longer dependent solely on the outer world to initiate how you feel “inside.” Your feelings really become yours. And you can learn to direct them.
Joy blossoms forth
Once in that space of deeply feeling a grateful and a loving presence, then Joy blossoms forth. It cannot do anything else. Each of these three, when examined closely, are One in the same. They bring a lightness and smile to your face and your mind. You recognize the real being you are. Gratitude, love and Joy, come to have a life of their own within your being. And you can learn to cultivate them, and by so doing expand their presence.
I would propose you use the Gratitude, Love and Joy emotions to more effectively navigate into the future. You have the power to project a new Seed Point into your future. By this I mean a mind created, recognized point in a future time. An hour, a day, week or year, where you see yourself, at that future time, in a state of Gratitude, Love and Joy- GLJ. This plants a “Future Seed” as to how your experiences will turn out. A seed that informs the universe of your intention. But not how it should come about, only how you intend to feel at that point in time. This is important.
Take just a few moments and generate the GLJ emotion. Be appreciative of something in your life, something that brings you joy and love. When you start to smile, then you are there. You will know. Next, for example, think briefly about the day, or a task of the day. Then set the Seed Point, at the end of the day. See yourself getting into bed, smiling with Gratitude, Love and Joy for all the day’s gifts and happenings coming to a positive fruition. The task is done, and now you are smiling in gratitude and love.
When bedtime does occur, look for, in gratitude, those experiences. This is the realization that your Seed has grown, because it was filled with your love and joy. You are working with creation in the most perfect way. The most harmonious way. Feel the gratitude for as much as you can.
Even small experiences can hold wonders if you look for them. The GLJ has been the nurturing gift that defined how the experience was grown. You have of course play your part, but have left creation free to guide you.
If you wish, keep with that emotion to activate a new Seed Point in the future. Done even for a few moments daily, creates a new world of wonder and peace.
Living in the now
You live continually in the Now. All experiences take place in the Now. Yet, because of the linearity of time, your mind thinks about and project into the future. You work on and expect things to happen in the future. This is life. However, your past can and does become entangled with thoughts about the future and experiences that might happen.
This is normal, as you must use the past as a frame of reference to plan for the future. But I would pose that your past and expectations can get in the way of how future events will come to pass. You can get in your own way. Creation can get tied up, in a sense, with your fears, doubts and your particular “filters” that can obstruct the flow.
Using this process bypasses mind’s need for control. There are no requirements to specify how events need to evolve. Your joy is your Joy. Trying to visualize specific control, only limits creation in the Now, and potentially the best unfoldment of the future. The Now works most efficiently without constraints. You are just signaling the Universe how you are going to feel when the day or weeks have passed. You learn to trust and get out of the way, while still doing what needs to be done, to the best of your abilities at each moment.
You know in the final analysis, you are not dependent on how you wish to feel, based on any external condition. And that frees both you and the Universe to support those feelings. It lets creation manifest in the most beneficial and harmonious way. It is learning to trust that which IS. Coming to know you are infinitely supported, in spite of how the externals might appear on the surface. You are free.
I suspect this process happens not only from the Now into the future, but also from the future back to the Now. I believe that love and joy exist outside of time. And they are some of the primary building blocks of creation. So planting them in what you term the
future, is no different than planting them here and Now. The emotions become a driving force of creation. And once you learn to work with them, you become part of that consciousness creation.
About Alan Swanson
Alan is an artist, sculptor and writer in Lancaster, Pa., who is inspired by meditation, nature and the world around him. This essay comes from Alan’s website Attuning To A New Earth, which you may find here.
Karen Carnabucci, LCSW, TEP, is an author, trainer and psychotherapist who promotes, practices and teaches experiential methods including psychodrama, Family and Systemic Constellations, sand tray, mindfulness and Tarot imagery.