Gratitude is the recognition that you have what you desire or something that you wanted. I am grateful for my job (because I have one). I am grateful for my mate (because I have one). I am grateful for relationships (because I have them). I am grateful because they are working for me (because they express physically what or who I am). I am grateful for these things (because they are not working for me) and they are pointing me in a different direction.
All things are physical expressions of your own current thoughts about whom and what you are in relationship to everything else. However, they are empty things unless you attach meaning to them. The real truth about them is that you have none of them, you are simply experiencing them. Things can't make you happy for instance. You create things because they are an expression of your current thoughts. You cannot be happy, you can only experience it and the "things" in you life are mirrors which reflect back to your experience of "happiness".
To say that someone made you angry is incorrect. At some level you thought about anger first and then you created the experience of anger through a relationship with another aspect of yourself; the other one! You are always experiencing your thoughts as physical manifestations. And you are doing it alone. No one else exists but you. You are always interacting with yourself. You cannot do for another or unto another, because there is no other. You can never give or do a thing selflessly because you always do it for, and to yourself.
When you give to another or take from another; you are giving or taking from yourself. The only reason this is working is because you believe otherwise; you have forgotten who and what you truly are. You are the creator, and you are creating within your own awareness of the things you imagine within yourself.
Living is a verb; it is what you are experiencing. You are life experiencing; you are not a thing - doing. You are always experiencing this or that even if it is nothing.
When you are victimizing you are also having the experience of being a victim. Neither one of these actions can occur unless you choose to experience them both at the same time.
In order to clap your hands together; your one hand has to agree to be move to the other, they are both doing it in an experience that has already been imagined in the future by the mind and now experienced in the past. Doing is both imagined and experienced by the same mind. Neither hand will experience clapping; it is the mind that experiences the result of what it has created or imagined.
If you are the one mind that experiences all things as this or that; then what is the only thing that "I" (as everything that is) can give to a world which seems to be working autonomously and separate from the mind that created it? What would I give to myself that would make the whole experience complete (and for that matter-tolerable)? How can I experience the hands clapping together and experience being the hands at the same time? To see the bigger picture rather than knowing myself as a left or right hand; I would have to take responsibility for the action knowing that it has purpose and was created by myself for my purpose only. I am the hands and the mind; I am the creator and the co-creators-experiencing the experience of experiencing. To know clapping is not experiencing it. To be the objects which create clapping (hands) leaves you in another imagined state of victimhood or victimizing with little sense of the overall experience or responsibility. An awareness of the whole picture brings purpose and fulfillment to the experience.
All human experiences are only part of a greater picture (experience) that we are mostly unaware of, and it is by choice. It is the lack of awareness of our role in all experiences which gives us the illusion of separation from the thought manifested. Life's experiences will go on forever and never be fully experienced until the illusion is revealed and all things are known as one experience or the experience of one.
New Age for the most part does not move past the next existence, but does suggest there are other realms. In my experience New Age does not go past these experiences. As a New Age Spiritual writer, I share the knowledge of other such writers; that there is more to us than our physical bodies and what we have been taught in this world. Our truth is the truth that we make up as we go along. Religion is a step in our evolution or awareness, but it only has the meaning that we give it. It is not our truth unless we make it so and it is not a gateway to anywhere-it is a step in awareness.
After all these experiences, we come to the same place of awareness. We are nothing; we experience everything we think about. We cannot ever be anything, because we are always in a process of being something and then nothing. Where you think you are going is where you already are. You are creator, creating. None of your experiences are necessary except in your own mind. You have always been and always will "be". The essence of who you are will always exist and you cannot die; it is your body that dies.
The benefit of this knowledge in your physical lifetime empowers you to take responsibility for self. To know that you have absolute freedom to choose anything that you wish to experience; it opens your eyes to the beauty and ugliness of physical life; to good and bad, right and wrong, what works and doesn't work. Within your awareness of self, all things are perfect. All things are beautiful and appropriate for the time and place they occur. All things occur and are experienced from this place of knowingness as desirable.
The gift that I would give to you would be the awareness. The awareness that you are perfect the way you are, no matter how you see yourself. The awareness that you can change your circumstances at will and that you will continue to experience and will always exist. I would give you the awareness that you do not have to continue in this life or this lifetime. The awareness of your current life is only a step that you chosen at some level of your existence. I would emphasize that religion is simply a lifestyle that you have chosen while you are here. You do not have to be religious or anything else to live a successful life. Just "being" is enough.
Death is not an ending, but a new beginning and it comes when you decide-it cannot be forced upon you. Love is not the answer; it is all there is. Your final end will be experienced when you know that you are already there; there is no place to go. You are and will always be life! Life is continuous; you are consciousness in motion. All that you have known will always be known; including all relationships. Life is an experience; it is neither a beginning nor an end.
Live well and prosper in the moment-it is the only thing that is real!