I don't remember where I first heard this story. I just know it is a deep part of me, a kind of personal mythology that helps me to understand the world and living in it. When I move through my day, even when I feel good, I whisper this story into my own ear, and good turns into great. I hope it does the same for you.
Once upon a time....
In the mysterious and sacred land of the Himalayas, deep within a dark mountain cave, sat an old man. He was a sadhu, a man who had chosen the holy life of a renunciate. In the caves around him were other holy men, deeply involved in their spiritual practices from morning until night. In the cave to the right of this old man was another sadhu who had not eaten for 3 years except for a thimble full of water and a blade of grass each day. In the cave to the left, was a man who had kept his left arm in the air for 10 years. The old man in the cave went on about his day, cooking tea over a fire, tending to a small garden, and waving to the animals that passed by his cave door. He did not appear to be deep in meditation, and yet his eyes glowed with inner wisdom.
Early in the morning, before the light of dawn kissed the earth, the old man would climb up to the tallest peak and wait. Just as the sun rose in the sky, as the first rays of light hit the valley full of flowers below, he would hoot and holler, shouting "Good job, God!" and clapping endlessly, laughing in joy with all of his being at the radiance he saw.
His gratitude was his spiritual practice, and near the end of his life, fully and completely enthralled with creation, he reached enlightenment.
Try it. Whisper to yourself as you go through your day. Feel the warmth of the sun, the beauty of a flower, and give credit where credit is due.
Meister Eckart, a mystic, said that if the only prayer we ever said in our whole life was thank you, it would be enough. "Good job, God!"