When was the last time you felt gratitude? Quite recently one would hope! But try this: just for a moment, bring to mind something you are grateful for. And notice the feeling that goes with it. Warm, positive, open, embracing. Very pleasant. Very much life affirming, very much to do with healing and happiness! Now by contrast, bring to mind bitterness and resentment. Cold, hard, tight, contracted, withdrawn. Very unpleasant. Very little to do with healing or good health or even simply functioning well.
Gratitude and Mindbody Mastery
We hear from so many people who find the contemplation on gratitude to be one of their most favourite, most listened to Mindbody Mastery tracks. Perhaps this reflects a key point. Gratitude is another state of mind we can choose to develop very easily. In Mindbody Mastery week 8 features the technique of contemplating gratitude. Extending gratitude.
Another excellent way to develop gratitude and to feel its benefits is that as you go to bed each night, remember to recall just three things from your day you can be grateful for. Maybe it is as simple as the fact that you did wake up again that morning. Maybe it was a sunny day and you enjoyed being in it. Maybe it was a rainy day and it was good for the gardens. Maybe you were given something, achieved something. Maybe you had a good laugh or a moment of real peace. Just list three things. Some people actually keep a “gratitude diary”, write down the variety of things they feel gratitude for, and marvel at the list as it grows. This simple exercise is remarkably powerful and as an aside, good research demonstrates it to be a powerful antidote against depression.
But then take gratitude further. Get into the habit of thanking people for what they do for you. You probably do a lot of this already, however, it is all too easy to take someone who is helping you for granted and to think they know how grateful you are. Now, maybe they are psychic, maybe they can read your mind or guess what you are thinking; but why not tell them directly! It reinforces their kindness and leaves them in no doubt. Express your gratitude.
The secret – transformation through gratitude
The real secret underpinning gratitude, the secret that makes gratitude really powerful, really transformative, is this. When we decide to be grateful for more than the obvious good and easy things in our lives; when we decide to be grateful for the difficult things as well; that is when the magic begins! Don’t you notice this? Sure the difficult things we experience as difficult are difficult. Maybe we would not have chosen them given the choice, maybe we would have liked them to be different, maybe we work hard at changing, improving, making them different; but the reality is that it is often the tough things in life that teach us the most. So when we practise gratitude we do think of the obvious things we can be grateful for. And then we extend ourselves. We think about the difficult things in our lives, the challenges; and we decide, we choose to be grateful for them too. Maybe we have to think hard, to reflect a little to find what to be grateful about when it comes to the toughest things, but by doing so our whole state of mind changes.
Interconnectedness – an Instant Source of Gratitude
Now a bonus – another secret! Another great way to feel gratitude is to contemplate interconnectedness. This means to sit quietly and reflect on the origins of things and how they come into being, or actually come to you. A simple glass of water may be a good place to start. Think of the water. First there was rain. It fell from the sky, ran over the earth, collected in a dam, was purified, passed through pipes, your plumbing, out of a tap, into your glass and there it is for you to drink. Think of all the steps involved, the people required to make it happen. All those things and people to be grateful for. If even one of them does not work, no glass of water. It is almost a miracle when you think of all that needs to be interconnected just so you can have a glass of water when you want it. Try this with anything you care to think of.
The more you reflect on anything, the more you realise how interconnected things and people are, and the more gratitude flows. Some time back, I was interviewed for the ABC TV program Compass and used my garden spade as an example of this interconnectedness. You may enjoy watching the segment: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=obZGAt92lFM
Gratitude is Something to Develop
Gratitude provides so much. For many it does enhance their sense of inner peace. Some even talk of bliss. Make a habit of it, and notice what happens with your state of mind.