Adam Rafferty – Guitar and Spirit

All about music, guitar, spirituality, personal development and being happy

Gratitude is the Present

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Last night as I was meditating before bed I encountered a fierce ego struggle. Here I was, alone with some incense burning – and all I could think of was the lack of what I had. I had everything needed on the outside for serenity, but oh boy – the insides were ready for a good fight!

Why? I had seen someone’s tour schedule online and the feeling of “not having any gigs” overtook me.

“Having enough gigs” or “not having as many gigs as so-and-so” is a terrible trap that I and probably many musicians fall into. It’s the “am I good enough, worthy enough, will people love me – and if I was good enough I would have as many gigs as so and so” and “I need gigs to survive…without them I will vanish”.

I think that many people go through the same feeling, with a different script. Comparing their cars, bodies, homes, belongings, children, achievements, their position at work and more. I mean – the hell we see celebrities go through is the worst ego hell I can imagine.

The ego. The clever little ego. Just when we have peace, it says “don’t forget about me” and conjures up some clever painful little thoughts.

What could I sit and do? In my meditation I had involuntary thoughts of who to contact, who to email, gigs to book – disappointment in myself, what if I am not good enough. It was inner hell!

Do you ever feel like this? Proud? Embarrased? Worried? Cocky? It is the ego.

The pain was so bad – I felt like a 500 pound gorilla was sitting on my chest.

Then I thought – be here. Breathe. Even if all I can do is concentrate on this one breath in, I will. Okay, breathe out. Hey – I felt a little relief….not so bad.

Now, who is this who is feeling so bad? Can I look at this gripping bad feeling like one would look at a tornado from the outside, rather than as one from the inside sees it?

Where did this pain come from?

Is it really so bad being right here?

Gee I have a lot to be thankful for.

Enough chatter…breathe in. Breathe out. That feels good. Breathe in….breathe out.

So and so does have a lot of gigs….don’t forget.

Oh there that goes again…that’s okay, it’s mind chatter. Breathe in…..breathe out.


This morning I felt better as I meditated and a feeling of gratitude and forgiveness came up naturally in me.

The emotional state of gratitude is a “present tense” emotion. “Wanting more” is a dissatisfaction of the present and a reaching toward the future. It’s one thing to say “be present” but getting there through the mind is the problem.

Going for a feeling is closer to the essence of being present, at least for me. There are many ways in to “the present”, but gratitude for everything around and saying YES to what is brings me here.

We can look at a situation and paint it with many different emotional shadings. We can hold grudges or forgive, swim against the current or with it, say YES or say NO.

I saw that any struggle I am temporarily experiencing is like a purifying fire. Struggle is good. It is teaching me so much about myself and my inner life that whether or not anything manifests on the outside, I learn more here, sitting, than any school or person could teach me. I learn that I create the struggle, the fight – and I can choose not to as well.

When we resist, we get resistance and when we peacefully and lovingly accept we get peace.

The fabric of life is this feeling in us – our peace or our resistance – not the outer manifestations! So, why not choose better feelings and let yourself out of the hell of the ego?


I am happy being right here right now. My outer world is a reflection of my inner world. I am hopeful, joyously anticipating new experiences, and I know that I can create a happy life. I deliciously enjoy what is around me and I know everything changes constantly, arising and falling.

There is no rush, nothing to achieve, no one to impress. I am at peace.

Author: Adam Rafferty

Adam Rafferty. Fingerstyle Guitarist. Recording and Concert Artist. Meditator. Philosopher. Lover of Groove.

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