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The Bridge of Gratitude

By Bhavanjot Kaur

“You have two enemies; fear and duality. Say “No.” That’s it. When you are afraid, just say, “No” and God will take care of you from that minute onward. I’ll vouch for it. And if you have duality, He’ll create a bridge. Trust Him. Dwell in Him and be gracious. Tomorrow’s world is hoping for you to come as saviors.”
-Yogi Bhajan           

When I was a little girl we used to drive across a large bridge that goes over the water from Middletown to Portland, CT.  I remember I was terrified every time we would go over it. These were the days when seatbelts were optional—especially if you were going over what felt like a giant bridge and needed to get down on your knees in the back seat and pray to God that you would make it to the other side alive. Even with the seemingly outward chaos that triggered my fears and inner turmoil, we still managed to make it over the bridge (every painstaking inch) each time, still alive.

It is ironic to me that this is the same bridge I had to take many years later to get to my Kundalini Yoga classes and teacher training. A short time after that, it was also the same bridge that my then three and a half year old daughter, upon going into full remission from cancer, begged me to drive over, even though it was out of the way from where we were going. I did, however, heed her request to drive over the bridge. We made our victory loop going over the bridge one way and back again while she looked eagerly out the window smiling ear to ear, doing her happy dance, kicking her feet and clapping her hands in excitement.

Some bridges are easier to cross than others. Some bridges take us on entirely new adventures and new paths. Sometimes the same bridge that once scared us amidst the chaos can look so different from a calm place within. It might take time, but that same bridge that once terrified us may instead become the bridge that we cross again and again in gratitude.

“The only way a relationship between you and God can be established is if you become grateful and build up a standard of gratitude. Only then will fulfillment come in life. Only then can you be happy in life. Only then will you be fulfilled in life. Because in God we trust and in God we dwell.”
-Yogi Bhajan

How does one keep calm while venturing upon the bridges we are to cross even amidst the chaos of life? I stepped out of my office recently and got into my car, thinking this very thought. I pulled up to a red stoplight. I looked at the car in front of me and noticed that it was a white Volkswagon. 

I have always had a liking for VW’s, but never considered the acronym until that very moment. I said to myself, “Ah-ha! It’s a Victory Wagon!” Wouldn’t you know, the license plate read, “B-GR8FL.” This was the answer to my question, right there in front of my eyes.

Gratitude equals victory every time; being grateful for all that is well and good, and equally grateful for all that is painful and challenging, since as they say, God will only give you what he thinks you can handle. Be grateful for his faith in you. If we feel ourselves slipping into a negative place amidst the challenges and chaos, we can bring ourselves back to peace and calm by focusing on everything we do have and everything that is going right, and with this awareness we can build a bridge of gratitude to get us through anything.

If you are like me, then this is easy some days and more challenging on others. If you need help building that bridge, it should be no surprise that there is a meditation that Yogi Bhajan gave us called the “Attitude of Gratitude Meditation” which can be practiced as needed.

“The attitude of gratitude is the highest way of living, and is the biggest truth, the highest truth. You cannot live with applied consciousness until you understand that you have to be grateful for what you have. If you are grateful for what you have, then Mother Nature will give you more.”
-Yogi Bhajan

Take a moment to consider the bridges within our beings; those bridges that are imprinted on the map of our lives—the bridges we burned; the ones we never dared to cross; the ones that fell when we were half way there; the ones that we start to cross only to turn back in fear; the ones we cross and never look back at; the ones that we did cross and look back at in awe and wonder how we ever made it to the other side; and of course, the ones that we are standing at the edge of right now and looking across wondering what is on the other side and what it will take to get us there.

It is these bridges that can remind us how far we have come even amidst the chaos of the outside world. It is these bridges that teach us where we have been and how far we can still go even in spite of where we may have been. It is a constant state of bringing ourselves mindfully back to gratitude each time we start to lose our footing on that bridge. This can and will get us to where we are going.

In Hatha yoga practice, I have noticed that teachers will often end the class with a bridge pose. It seems that the peace and grace of our yoga practice is then bridged to our life off of the yoga mat. We can carry some of that calmness and gratitude back out into the chaos of our daily life. If we are working towards crossing a new bridge or many bridges, we can do it however we so choose, but I hope we could trust that God is within us and around us, as we calmly and gratefully dance our unique dance across the rest of the bridges that we must cross.

“The mind should dance with the body, and the whole Universe is your stage. Try to feel that whatever you are doing is the most beautiful thing, the prettiest dance, because you are dancing with the whole Universe. Don’t resent anything. Let your heart guide you, free of all regimentation.”
-Yogi Bhajan

Bhavanjot Kaur is the owner and founder of Hamsa Healing Arts located in Centerbrook, CT. Bhavanjot is a Kundalini Yoga teacher and Radiant Child Yoga Teacher. Bhavanjot is a Reiki Master practitioner and Teacher, Craniosacral therapy practitioner, Raindrop therapy massage practitioner and she also offers sound therapy with a 32" Paiste Symphonic Gong. Bhavanjot is a consultant for essential oils, medicinal mushrooms and CBD oil. She is mother to a delightful seven-year-old little girl who overcame a rare childhood kidney cancer, which inspires her work with Lucy's Love Bus and the Connecticut Cancer Foundation.