Recently, I was gifted a book by my father - The Ultimate Gift. It is not a piece of entertaining fiction - it is rather a book full of life messages that are wrapped in a fictional story. Though I have almost reached a level where I don't want to read anymore about life messages (gyaan), but initially I found this one interesting - not because of the messages it had to share, but because of the fictional story these messages were wrapped in. The book definitely seemed to be an easy-read, it didn't push me to think too much, it didn't push me to read it too quickly (as in it wasn't un-put-down-able) and to me, it made sense in simple words!
The core of the book is: the life messages are listed as gifts that every person has been given (in varying degree), but very few actually realise the existence of these gifts - leave alone how to make use of them. There are 12 gifts:
The Gift of Work
The Gift of Money
The Gift of Friends
The Gift of Learning
The Gift of Problems
The Gift of Family
The Gift of Laughter
The Gift of Dreams
The Gift of Giving
The Gift of Gratitude
The Gift of a Day
The Gift of Love
Honestly, I started reading the book because it had been gifted by my dad and it was an easy read - the first few gifts that I read about were okay to read about, but there was nothing that was moving me - nothing that was making me think deeper into the association of each 'gift' with my own life...until I reached and read about "Gift of Gratitude".
Reading that chapter and absorbing it got me thinking just how thankless I have become...not just to God, but probably to everyone and everything around me. This simple book's simple chapter on gratitude was now pushing me to think and have a hard look at my life. All that the author wants to convey was "be thankful" - that's it! But, the deeper aspect I thought was - be thankful for everyone, everything, all the time...and say it sometimes as well. As an exercise, the author suggested - list down all the things that you are thankful for and just take a minute during the day and just say "thank you God, for ..."".
I kept the book down, not for the first time, but probably for the first time to reflect on what I had just read and to see how I could incorporate this gift of gratitude in my life.
I decided to start with easiest thing first: making a list of all that I was thankful for - irrespective of where that gift came from. I started with the usual...parents, family, health...so on & so forth. While I was making this list, it struck me that gift of good health supersedes all others - without which, I couldn't have used / enjoyed all other gifts in same measure that I am using / enjoying now. Not that I am the healthiest I can be - at least I have an absolutely normally functioning machinery.
It is with this gift of gratitude that I now understand how much I have neglected / paid less attention than that was required on my part - to most of the people and things that are dearest to me (my health being one such thing). With this gift of gratitude, I am now beginning to understand how easy my life becomes (stress-free) because I start to look at every situation as a gift and can be thankful, for I will come out richer in experience and hopefully stronger for what future holds for me.
I think this book's greatest strength is its easy-to-read story line. The author hasn't attempted to get deep into any of the gifts and thus left it on his readers' ability to absorb from his story - which leaves less scope for the story to become stretched and boring. Personally, I think I have benefited from reading this book - it has humbled me (showing gratitude in itself is a humbling act) and has made me be at peace with a few issues that I was otherwise grappling with. I recommend this book to anyone who feels he / she hasn't got his / her due in life and is open to receiving some 'gifts'!
There are umpteen endorsements on the book itself.Wish this one finds its place on the top of the Heap. Keep it up young man.
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