I Have No Complaint Whatsoever

Today I was reading the story of a woman Zen master named Sono.  She was known for her practice of leading people to enlightenment by using the affirmation “Thank you for everything, I have no complaint whatsoever”.

People would come to her ill, upset, suffering, and still she told them to use this affirmation and repeat it often.  Understandably a lot of people thought she was crazy to say this in the face of people’s pain and suffering, but those who followed her advice found healing and contentment.  Why?  When you drop all your complaints, you truly begin to appreciate all that you have.

When I read this I thought of my grandpa.  When people would ask him how he was, he would often say,  “I’ve got nothing to complain about, and even if I did, no one would care anyway.”

Grandpa’s point, like Zen master Soto, was that in the scheme of things, most of us have little or nothing to complain about, and sharing your laundry list of complaints is not the least bit interesting to others.  My grandpa was a very wise man.

“Thank you for everything, I have no complaint whatsoever”.

Why share your litany of minor complaints with those who have their own complaints?  The fact is, no matter what bad things you experience, there’s always someone who has it much worse.  You have no idea what others are dealing with. There’s no suffering Olympics, we all have things we have to deal with.  There’s no prize for having the suckiest life, and if there was, I can guarantee you that you would not win.  You wouldn’t even place. Neither would I.

My mother was a master of the suffering Olympics.  I once observed her complaining about how hard it was that her husband didn’t make enough money — to someone whose husband had been out of work for two years and was about to lose their house.  Another time she complained about how uncomfortable the hospital chairs were, to someone who was in the recovery room after a painful surgery.

I think we all know someone like this.  Their experience is so tragic in their own minds that they cannot entertain the possibility that others are in worse straits.  They thrive on being a victim. Their constant want for something more blinds them to the blessings in their lives.

What if instead of choosing to focus on all that’s wrong in your life, you choose to focus on all that’s right?  What if you were to thank the universe for everything you have, and instead of focusing on what you want, you focus on what you already have?

“Thank you for everything, I have no complaint whatsoever”.

People talk a lot about gratitude in November, and that gratitude is almost always about something good that’s happened.  “I’m grateful for my promotion”.  “I’m grateful my son was accepted into college”.  “I’m grateful the offer was accepted on my house”.

What if you express gratitude for the less pleasant things in your life, the ones that actually made you stronger, taught you something important, made you realize what’s important?  “I’m grateful for my divorce, because it helped me learn to be independent”. “I’m grateful for my heart attack, because it gave me a wake-up call to focus on my health”. “I’m grateful for my bankruptcy, because it taught me how little money I really need”.

I’ts a powerful way to refine your gratitude practice. Find a way to feel gratitude for everything in your life, good or bad, and you’ll find peace.

“Thank you for everything, I have no complaint whatsoever”.


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  One thought on “I Have No Complaint Whatsoever

  1. Brenda Jose
    November 9, 2018 at 6:59 pm

    Yes, yes, yes! My daily practice includes making a list of three things I am grateful everyday. Thank you, Rose, I have no complaint whatsoever.


  2. July 13, 2020 at 2:11 pm

    Thanks a lot for your blissful affirmation which works miracles for me in my life.

    Regards and love

    Girish kohli


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