Gratitude is proactive.
In the industrialized, material world, gratitude is a reaction of appreciation to an expected or unexpected kindness that arises extrinsically (from without the individual). Many people live in a general malaise until someone performs a kindness. Then, they achieve the oxytocin release associated with connection, fueled by the kindness, and feel better. This surprising increase in mood is short lived, however, and doesn't much change the person's ability to experience or express kindness on their own.
When one is grateful for the breath, one is being in a state of constant proactive gratitude. Breath is always with us (until it’s not, in which case, none of this matters anymore), so gratitude is perpetually with the one who is alive and grateful for the breath. Subsequently, the feeling of connection becomes intrinsic (from within the individual), and the oxytocin release is renewable, reliable, sustainable, transferable, and long lived.
The word “proactive” is a compound word that combines the concepts of forward movement (pro) and skillful completion (act). When together, these concepts compliment each other and validate the simultaneous and spontaneous processes of the universe that never stop, yet are perfect in each observable moment.
The prefix pro-, from the Sanskrit, pra, implies progression, forward/onward movement, or excellence.*
*Pra- is also the prefix for the Hindu word prāna, which means “breath,”-the vital life force, which is also related to the Polynesian mana (universal healing energy/intentionally cultivated power), the Greek pneuma (breath/spirit/soul), and the Chinese qi (life force/vital energy).
The suffix -active, derives from Latin activus and means “done.” Activus is a translation of the ancient Greek, energētikós, which implies ability or efficacy.
Proactivity, therefore, denotes forward progression done efficaciously. The proactivity of gratitude is synonymous with aspiration (skill/increase in proficiency towards something) which arises in tandem with inspiration (breathing in/inhaling). Gratitude is a short cut to skillful forward motion without having to think about it.
When BEing, one mustn’t worry about what one will DO. It is unnecessary to try to consciously inhale in every moment while also forcing oneself to achieve proficiency in a skill. This is what happens when people try to control their spontaneous human processes. Before long, the DOer becomes frustrated. Prolonged frustration leads to burnout.
Let's take a look for a moment at the word control: (con- against + rotulus -a roll). It was originally used in England and France to describe the act of verifying accounts. Controllers can only maintain control by keeping meticulous records of individual pieces of information and then, somehow, privatizing these bits in order to leverage exclusivity. A lot of people miss the point of things like “meditation” or “yoga” in an effort to gain power through exclusive knowledge. They break breathing up into bits of information in their minds and think about breathing into certain chambers of their bodies or forcing air in and out for some reason or another. However, any yogi knows that yoga is just stretching and breathing. The master yogi doesn’t think about it;
they just stretch and breathe at the same time. Similarly, the monk who meditates is not TRYING to meditate. They are just sitting. Students of meditation will spend thousands of dollars to visit ashrams just to sit in a room with other people who also paid thousands of dollars to visit the same ashram. When they’re done “meditating,” they’ll return to complaining about the mosquitos and spicy food. But as all master yogis and meditators will explain over rice wine, if people are willing to pay to breathe, these masters will kindly accept the payment.
It is much easier (and cheaper) to simply live in gratitude of the breath. When feeling anxious, have gratitude for the breath and let the breath do what it do. YOU don’t have to DO the breathing. Breathing will happen naturally on its own. All you have to do is BE.
Proactive gratitude is automatic. Have gratitude for the breath and everything else will keep moving on its own with magnificent proficiency. When someone observes the appearance of the thankful breather who is moving masterfully in whatever way they move, the observer may ask, “How do you do that?” to which the BEyer may respond, “I don’t know. I just do it.” The observer may not like that answer. Oh well. Give thanks.
©Dr. Cho Dyubeh, 2020. BEist, Human Behavioralist, and Contributor to Kahnma.com.