When I was a little boy, my mother taught me a lesson. She always emphasized, more than anything else, the quality of gratitude. She told me, “If you are not grateful for whatever you have, you receive, you can never be happy. Because if you are not grateful, whatever you get, you expect something else, or you expect more, or you think that you deserved it. But when you are humble and grateful, then whatever comes to your life, the apparent fortune and misfortune, you can actually find happiness in that situation. We could actually be able to see the opportunity that there is to grow in that situation.”
On her birthday one year, I forgot all about it. So I ran to the backyard where my mother had her rose garden. She had exactly 6 rose bushes growing, because we had only a very small backyard; she grew the roses herself. And I took one of the roses, snapped it off, and ran to my mother. I gave her the rose and wished her a happy birthday.
She started to cry in joy. She was so happy that I gave her the rose, even though I stole it from her. She didn’t need it, but the fact that it was offered with affection melted her heart. And she told me, “It’s not the thing that counts; it’s the thought that counts.” Things could never bring any fulfillment to the heart. Only love brings fulfilment to the heart.
– Radhanath Swami