During the holiday season, it’s easy to get caught up in eating, drinking and gift-giving. My attention has turned to a non-material type of gift, one like the golden goose, that keeps on giving.
When we develop a profound attitude of gratitude, we might discover that everything represents a miracle. Today, I was enjoying allocating miracles into three main categories: positive, neutral and negative ones.
Positive miracles would involve those events that we’d consider favorable or even awe-inspiring, like peak experiences. Most of us reserve the term “miracle” for strictly spectacular phenomena. I take a lot of pleasure in appreciating so-called “small miracles,” starting with basic acts of nature and the routine functioning of our bodies. It wasn’t lost on me that about twenty of my family members gathered a few times last weekend and everyone related well together, without any upsets or confrontations. I’d regard that as a miracle (no sarcasm intended)!
I coined the term “neutral miracle” to refer to non-occurrences. One form of non-occurrence has to do with things that could have gone awry, but didn’t, such as accidents that were averted. A simple example would be my wife and I returning home safely after a fifty-mile treacherous drive during a snowstorm last night. Also, we tend to take for granted the countless possible dangers and mishaps that we are spared daily. On the other hand, we’re sometimes blessed by not receiving the thing that we think we want, perhaps even pray for, but would not serve us well if we did get it. We may or may not realize the blessing or favor in hindsight.
Finally, the negative miracles concern those events which we find unpleasant, disturbing or even very painful. I’d assert that all such aversive experiences are embedded with useful or potentially valuable lessons—“teaching moments” at the very least. I had a spiritual teacher who referred to those lessons as “customized coursework,” uniquely designed to fit what we need to learn at the time.
My life has become immeasurably richer by coming to view the world as a totally miraculous place, whether I like or dislike what I’m encountering at any given time. Ultimately, I manage to realize that what’s being “served up” is the “perfect present” (double entendre intended).