Offering gratitude is not feeling thankful only if someone does us a favor or sending thank you notes, it is about cultivating an ability to open ourselves enough that we can find something positive regardless of what we experience. This ability to change our perspective, to be positive, is central to our psychological and emotional health. It is in our self-interest to feel gratitude because it makes us better people. Being grateful is about feeling contentment regardless of our circumstances.
Gratitude can change the desire for security to that of serenity. Every time I choose this shift, I notice that I have much to be grateful for. I feel humbled by my riches and regret that I took for granted the abundance that already exists in my life. How can we expect more from the Universe when we do not appreciate what we already have? Through deliberate choice of feeling grateful, I have realized that feeling gratitude is my ultimate security in this everchanging world.
“Be grateful to everyone” is not just about making peace with those we dislike, but also about making peace with the aspects of ourselves that we have rejected. If we were to make a list of people we don’t like–people we find obnoxious, threatening, or worthy of contempt–we would find out a lot about those aspects of ourselves that we can’t face. If we were to come up with one word about each of the troublemakers in our lives, we would find ourselves with a list of descriptions of our own rejected qualities, which we project onto the outside world. Everyone is a mirror and we are disturbed by the reflections when we are not willing to look at the same qualities within ourselves. What a wonderful system that is; without everything and everyone we are bothered with how would be get to know ourselves fully?
Pain or suffering is not quantifiable. It does not need to be. Noone ‘s suffering is more or less than the other, it is not comparable, it is only relative for us keep in perspective and show us all the things we take for granted and be grateful. We could be where they stand and many times we are.
Gratitude connects us to the present moment . . . this very moment. When we experiences gratitude, we essentially let go of the ego. Gratitude has a way of opening the heart to compassion and love, and experiencing gratitude can help us feel happier and more balanced. It can uplift our spirits and feed our hearts and more important keeps us humble and human.
Sometimes it is just remembering the simple things in life that we take for granted from day to day, moment to moment. Maybe it is feeling grateful for our breath that gives us life. Or, how we feel in our heart that is pulsing with love, compassion and peace. Our eyes that let us see colors, faces and smiles, the sunrise and sunset, the rainbow, the moon and stars, or our very selves in the mirror.
How about our ears that beam in wonderful sounds, music, laughter, the voices of those we love, or the silence that ever so often permeates the sounds of life; our nose that smells the ocean breeze, the flowers, trees, and the inviting aromas of the food. Or, maybe it is just about being grateful for our ability to see growth and potential in every moment of our lives, or our connection to those things that are sweet, loving and honorable and just feel right. When we no longer take life for granted, we become grateful for everything we have. Assuming that we are entitled to anything in life robs us of the awe and wonder that life holds.
What freedoms, what unique gifts, and what opportunities do I have that truly are gifts to me? And, this can be based on where you live, what you do for a living, who you surround yourself with, or what divine talent has been bestowed upon you?
The list can go on. This morning at a beautiful park in Toronto, I was just in awe of the beauty that surrounded me; sitting on this tree stump but enough to hold me, being bathed in sunlight totally and fully, the gentle breeze to keep me cool, the sounds of the critters happily eating their food and scurring around, desiring absolutely nothing than to be where I was and to be grateful to experience this moment.
One of my routine practice is to write down 3 things at night time and 3 things in the morning that I am grateful for. My notebook is totally full as it alwasys more than 3 things. What are you grateful for?