Appreciation

Nov 14, 2022 | Virtues of the Heart

Appreciation is a component of love, (as are all the heart virtues) the most intelligent force in the universe. Expressing Appreciation is expressing love. But, Appreciation can be expressed in the lower levels of mind also. For example, if I say thank you to someone or express gratitude for something in my life with the attitude of just going through the motions, or if it is expressed as a sense of duty, to do the right thing, it lacks authenticity. This type of appreciation is not love, but an impostor. Simply put, it needs to be authentic and genuine, in other words, it needs to come from the heart.

Like all the six heart virtues accessing them and expressing them requires a high level of conscious awareness. If I am lost in my thoughts and distracted by any number of activities in our social program; entertainment, news, social media, and so on, I’m not present. I’m not aware of the larger picture of my life. I can’t see what is in front of me and I miss opportunities that may be hidden in plain sight.

Here’s an example:

I was scanning the Sunday New York Times one Sunday morning when I came across an article about a film by an American artist and an African film director. The subject of the film was very interesting to me. It was about an isolated community surrounded by political violence, economic injustice, and cultural alienation and their efforts to try to secure a space where imagination and solidarity can flourish. The article started by referencing the British novelist, art critic, and artist, John Berger, whom I did not know.

I had been contemplating and writing about how art influences public discourse and how it can pierce the veils of deception in the social order and go straight to the heart of the issue. I was not making much progress and I was a little frustrated when I read the following first paragraph:

“Toward the end of the 20th century, the British novelist and critic John Berger insisted on the importance of what he called “pockets of resistance” — small-scale efforts to oppose global systems of domination and exploitation, or at least to imagine alternatives. The possibility of change, Berger suggested, could be found not in grand revolutionary movements but in local practices, including the making and contemplation of art.”

– A.O. Scott, New York Times 6/2/2022

That quote caught my attention in a big way. I promptly Googled John Berger, found his Wikipedia page, and discovered his PBS Series on Ways of Seeing, which answered many of my questions and gave me new perspectives on this subject. I immersed myself in researching him and purchased two of his books. I was on fire with excitement, as I consumed John’s videos and writings.

In reflecting on this, I could see that the chain of events were like following a beautiful piece of music. I had to be willing to stay with it, be present, open, and allowing. There was no efforting in this, it was the pure joy of discovery.

However, what did not go unnoticed was, how I was led to this treasure trove of intelligent insight on the very subject I was struggling with. It all started with an article that caught my eye, I chose to follow this impulse further and started reading the first few lines, and immediately I was reading something that struck a cord in me. That led me to look up the author, which led to a PBS Series, which led to reading two books. All leading to my expansion, new understandings and insights.

I have to admit, I felt amazed at the whole process. It seemed magical how it all happened. I was in deep Appreciation for this experience for this guidance. It was a beautiful flow of co-creation.

How could I not feel the power of Appreciation and love vibrating in every cell of my body?

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