Gratitude is a state of Mind from Love, as in one of the expressions of Love itself. It is a lovely experience as effect created by specific internal and external conditions where ideas are not short of its role in the process.
Yet, Gratitude is not something to hold on to, as in to return the favour, or gesture that has a subtle meaning of bondage; though often, unnoticeable. That is altogether another thing. In fact, that itself is no longer gratitude, but referred to as Indebtedness, as in a debt, or an owing. And we know that no debt or owing can carry an experience of joy and freedom but a sense of need or obligation instead.
Do not get confused with Gratitude and Indebtedness. Gratitude is Love, and Indebtedness is Guilt. Gratitude reinstates you, and Indebtedness makes you lose yourself. They are from different roots and the outcome of experience is each different.
Guilt cannot equate to Love. For Love has no guilt. Love does not require you to feel guilty to repay or to return or to obey. You ‘repay’, ‘return’ or ‘obey’ because of Love, and then it is Love returning to Love, Love reflecting Love.
People say “I am indebted to you forever”. To me, that is a momentary expression and they make it into an obligation, to a point of stressfulness; forgetting the initial intent of an act from another in the first place was to bring about Love and Freedom itself. Sometimes, these kinds of expressions are held on so tightly in the mind that it lasts a lifetime, or even lifetimes. And we wonder, “why God makes us suffer?”
A true act that arises from Love always has joy and freedom in it. An act that arises from guilt will carry resentment, discomfort and slavery in it. And the truth is, you can do anything – for yourself, for another, for the world from the intent of Love, and the word ‘bondage’ or the experience of ‘suffering’ cannot even surface save for moments of unconsciousness – that is, when there is guilt running at the background of the mind, unseen.
When you truly look inwardly into your own beingness, you will be able to discern wisely thus allowing yourself to move consciously in and with Love consistently. This is indeed the only duty and responsibility we owe to ourselves and the world.