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  • Writer's pictureGaby

How a turtle, a life preserver, and meditation helped me to become grateful

Do you know that you are a miracle?

Imagine there are 2.5 million people, roughly the population of Rome, who decide to come together to play a game of dice with a trillion-sided dice. Everyone rolls the dice and comes up with the exact same number, let’s say 550,343,279,001. (Source: Huffington Post.)

Meditation courses in gratefulness. Meditate in Stockholm and worldwide

Put another way: The probability of you being born is the same as if there is one turtle swimming in the entire ocean and there is one life preserver floating somewhere on the surface of the ocean, and the turtle comes up to the surface of the water and sticks its head through the life preserver. On the first try. (Source: Huffington Post.)

Ok, I think we should all go buy a lottery ticket today!

A miracle is an event so unlikely that it is almost impossible.

-Dr. Ali Binazir

And yet, the impossible is possible and here we all are. So why am I talking about the odds of being born anyway? Gratitude. For so many years, I took it for granted that I was born. I would get so caught up in my own mind, my own worries, that I would completely forget to be grateful.

So today, I wanted to share my experience about gratitude, as well as how meditation set me on a path to becoming grateful.

I just wanted to be happy and solve all my problems!

For the record, I didn’t start meditation to be grateful. To be honest, gratitude was not on my mind at all. I wanted to be happy. I wanted to solve my problems.

How to get out of the rat race and become happy

What were my problems before starting meditation? Well, I was stressed a lot. I worried a lot about the future, about people liking me, about being good at my job, about being successful. I wanted things I didn’t have that I thought would make me happy and when I did have things that made me happy, I worried about losing them. It felt like I was chasing something that I could never catch, and I was starting to feel tired, exhausted.

By this point, I’d lived long enough to recognize that the way I was doing things was never going to lead me to catch the happiness I was seeking. Life, situations, and people rarely went the way I wanted them to. And when there was that “Aha! I’ve got it” moment, life would shift and again I was left trying to hold up this ever-shifting world and with it my happiness.

So, when I stumbled onto meditation, it sounded like it could fix all my problems and that I could finally just maybe catch that elusive happiness.

My journey within for the answers to my problems and to find happiness

When I set out on my meditation journey to help me find happiness, I honestly never thought it would take me on the wildest internal rollercoaster ride of all time.

There is nothing outside of yourself, look within. Everything you want is there.


I’d heard many inspirational quotes, wise quotes that pointed to the answers being within. I just didn’t know what they meant, nor how to find this ‘within.’ It wasn't until I started meditation that I, little by little, started to understand.

Meditation taught me the power and fundamental necessity of self-reflection. The reason I was struggling was because of myself. Before meditation, I blamed others, I blamed the world and situations for my lack of happiness, for my worries. But as I meditated, I came to realize that the source of my pain was my own mind.

Meditation taught me how important my mind is. I ate healthy and exercised because I knew it was important for my body, but what about my mind? Eating healthy and exercising didn’t really help me to get rid of my stress, at least not on a permanent basis. I used exercise to manage my stress and that did help but it wasn’t a solution.

It’s funny because, when I think about, I had back pain for many years, and I was never satisfied to just deal with it and manage the pain day to day. I wanted to find a solution to the pain. I wanted to find the root cause, address it and then not have pain anymore, which I did.

So, why did I accept to deal with and manage my mental and emotional pain day to day? Because I didn’t know there was a solution, a way to address the root cause. But there was. Meditation got to the root cause of my pain, which was my thoughts.

Thoughts become words become actions become destiny

According to the National Science Foundation, we have roughly 60,000 thoughts per day of which 85 percent are negative and 90 percent are repetitive. No wonder I struggled! How could I move forward with all those negative thoughts?

Thoughts matter because they are the root of all my actions and my actions are what determine whether I will succeed or not.

Watch your thoughts,

for they become words.

Watch your words,

for they become actions.

Watch your actions,

for they become habits.

Watch your habits,

for they become character.

Watch your character,

for it becomes your destiny.

-Mahatma Gandhi

So, what thoughts stopped me from being happy?

Too many thoughts? How can meditation help? Meditation community in Stockholm

If I think back to before I started meditating, there were many thoughts that prevented me from being happy, including worries about the future, concerns about others' opinions of me, thinking that I needed external things to be happy, such as recognition from others or a job that I loved. I also had a tendency to compare myself with others, feel dissatisfied with myself, and believe that I didn't have enough abilities to attain my desired goals.

These thoughts pushed me to keep looking to adjust my outside world to fit my thinking but that wasn’t addressing the root cause of my problem which was my thinking.

If I were to go around wearing blue-colored glasses, then the world I would see would always be blue no matter how hard I tried to change things outside of myself. In the same way, with the glasses I was wearing I saw myself as not being able to be successful, not being someone that others could like, and I could never change this by changing things outside of myself. I needed to take off my distorted glasses.

Meditation taught me how to take off my distorted glasses. These glasses that didn’t serve me anymore. Maybe at one point, they did, when I was younger, perhaps they protected me from being hurt but now they only hurt me.

Understanding that my thinking was the problem wasn’t easy, but it was the key to changing my thinking and becoming happy

The reason man finds life difficult,

is he tries to live according to his own will.

When he lays down all that is in his mind,

becomes one with the world and adapts to the world,

it will not be so difficult.

Acceptance brings about the greatest capacity, and a thankful and positive mind belongs to those who accept.

-Woo Myung

Here is where my quest for happiness and gratitude started to converge.

Meditation has been the single most humbling experience because I have had to accept that I am wrong, that I am the cause of my problems. And that hasn’t been easy for someone who doesn’t like to be wrong.

Being wrong, for me, felt like an attack on who I was, my identity, and so it took a while to let go of that thinking, of that defense mechanism.

But what made it possible is what the meditation I practice emphasized.

Guided meditation for beginners in Stockholm

As a human, I was not living in the world but rather my own mind world, thinking my world existed. If we just think from a different perspective, what has always existed is the universe emptiness. Then, at one point, say 13.8 billion years ago, the stars, sun, moon, and Earth began to exist. But if we see from the perspective of the universe, before humans were born, the stars, sun, moon, Earth, had not come into existence. It’s only as humans began to exist in the world, that the human mind began to think that the stars, sun, moon, and Earth exist. And this human mind, my mind, makes copies of what belongs to the world and thinks that that world exists. But the human mind is a world of falseness, which is a picture.

With meditation, I gradually recognized that I was living in my own mind, not the world. And that to live in the world, to see the world as it is, I had to let go of my way of thinking.

So, I traded in my negative, stressful glasses for universe glasses. 😊

As I did this, little by little, I could see my mind change. I could see all the negative thoughts, all the worries, all the doubts I had about my capabilities, disappear.

The best meditation in the world

As I meditated more and more, as my mind recovered its original state, I became happy. I understood, for the first time, that happiness was not something outside of me, but inside me. I just needed a way to access it.

Being grateful is more important than being happy because it paves the way for a deeper happiness, the kind of happiness that doesn’t come and go.

To be happy means to become the True Mind.

The True Mind is happiness itself.

It's the mind that accepts everything at all times and has absolutely no judgements that arise from human life.

That is the thankful mind, which is happy.

- Woo Myung.

I thought happiness was something outside of myself, but it was inside all along, and it’s in all of us.

The kind of happiness that doesn’t come and go.

In a world where so much can happen unexpectedly, meditation has given me a foundation that doesn’t shake when things get tough, that doesn't fall apart when things crumble.

Is this the kind of foundation you are looking for? If it is, then I definitely recommend trying this meditation. This foundation, in turn, has allowed me to reach out to another person and say 'hey, how are you?' Because if my foundation is solid, then I can turn to you and ask if you need help.

As my foundation has become stronger, I naturally have become more grateful. And not just grateful for when things go my way. In fact, many times, things don’t go my way. But as I meditate, I become grateful for these moments that on the surface are challenging but offer an opportunity to reflect and see my thoughts, to overcome my way of thinking that causes me to view a situation as not good, and ultimately to grow.

Being grateful is even more important than being happy

Being grateful means that my mind is open, and if my mind is open, I can see what this moment has to teach me, so that I can overcome and grow.

Gratitude has opened the door for me to:

  • Appreciate what I have which helps my mind to be calmer and more peaceful.

  • Not compare myself with others which helps me to see my strengths and create results.

  • Accommodate to the world and people which helps me navigate relationships and obstacles with less stress and more effectively.

  • Reflect on myself even when it’s not easy which allows me to learn and grow.

  • Overcome challenges and keep moving forward which allows me to reach my goals.

Without gratitude, there is no happiness (Forbes).

Gratitude has ultimately paved the way for me to reach my potential and enjoy the process along the way.

There will always be challenges, that’s how we grow, but how we weather those challenges, how we act after a mistake, a failure is crucial to success.

People undergo countless trials as they live in their false mind world. Living life means to face countless trials which are the test. Accept others, praise others, and know that everything in the world is there to test you. One who knows this and overcomes those trials with wisdom in all his endeavors is a wise person and a victor.

-Woo Myung

Stretching for big goals puts me in the position of failing and needing to learn and come up with new inventions in order to move forward.

-Ray Dalio

From reading what wise people who have succeeded have to say, I’ve come to realise how important making mistakes and failing is to success. I was always scared of making mistakes, of failing. It was my biggest fear. Meditation helped me to overcome this fear.

Become successful by practicing meditation. Overcome fear of rejection.

As I meditated, my thoughts about failure changed. I used to fall apart if I failed, so much so I avoided situations where I could fail. This left me feeling frustrated and trapped. But as I continued to meditate, I didn’t shake as much when I failed. The negative thoughts which used to be a tsunami, became, with time, a storm and then, with more time, a breeze. As I stretched myself more, I overcame more and grew more. This pattern of trying, falling, learning, moving on, is the pattern of success. Without meditation, I never could have carried out this full pattern because I always stopped when I fell or didn’t even try.

These days, I view a challenge as an opportunity to learn about myself and to overcome the negative thoughts that still remain and to grow more and more into who I want to be which feels very fulfilling.

You can be anything you want; you can be happy and here’s what I recommend

Each one of us is living in our own mind world that we created. So, it is up to us to come out from our old ways of thinking that don’t serve us anymore and recover our original mind.

I have witnessed many different people start meditation for many different reasons. All of them found the answers they were looking for by recovering their original mind.

If you want to be happy, here’s how you can start:

1. Accept that my unhappiness is due to myself.

This is the hardest step because it’s just so much easier to blame the world, but trust me, when I can own my unhappiness, I create space for change.

2. Enlist someone to help in my quest.

a. If I could have found happiness on my own, then I would have already, so acknowledging that I can’t find it on my own and need help is very brave.

b. Find someone who you know who is happy and ask them about how they came to be happy.

c. Start meditation!

3. Practice gratitude.

a. Everyday, spend 5 minutes and think of five things I am grateful for.

b. Have patience: my mind (thoughts) won’t change overnight, it takes time so keep trying and don’t give up.

Concluding thoughts

I started meditation to be happy, but what that means has changed for me.

I used to think that happiness was about finding stability from material things, like a job, a fulfilling career, or meaningful relationships. And don’t get me wrong, I value these things, but they aren’t the basis for my happiness anymore.

Basic course in Meditation.

I’ve found the stability I was looking for within me which means I’ve found a happiness that doesn’t come and go, that is based on gratitude and acceptance rather than wants and desires. And the amazing thing is, it’s within all of us

Looking back, I’m so grateful I was so greedy for happiness and tried so hard to find it outside of myself because it made me realize I didn’t have the answer and couldn’t find it on my own.

Meditation held the answer to all my problems, all my unresolved questions and doubts. Through this process of meditation, I’ve traded in fear, worries and stress for gratitude, change and true happiness.

In this one lifetime, in which your birth is a miracle, why not find real happiness, a real solution to your problems. It’s easier than finding a turtle in the middle of the ocean!

If you would like to find out more about meditation, check out this unique meditation that will set you on a path to changing your destiny.

What thoughts stop you from being happy? I’d love to hear your comments below. 😊


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David Clouston
David Clouston
May 10, 2023

Thank you Gaby 😄 Love it how you say the hardest step is accepting myself is the cause of my unhappiness. Then things will change. Love how you talk about how gratitude is different from happiness and giving gratitude tips!


Steven Trpenov
Steven Trpenov
May 08, 2023

What a lovely story to read! Thank you so much for sharing Gaby, really grat article - I was captivated by your journey and your change.

"So, why did I accept to deal with and manage my mental and emotional pain day to day? Because I didn’t know there was a solution, a way to address the root cause. But there was. Meditation got to the root cause of my pain, which was my thoughts."

I just live this so much. Isn't it funny how we are?

What's stopping me from my own happiness, no matter how hard I try to look for anothet reason - the source is always myself. It all boils down to how I percieve the…

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