What is Gratitude?
"Gratitude is not only in what you do
but how you approach what you do."
There are some whose lives are filled with great blessings but still feel that they have nothing. And there are those who are truly poor, yet given even the slightest crumb will feel they are most fortunate. One may be as wealthy as a prince or princess and still feel impoverished or as poor as the poorest beggar and feel wealthy.
The feeling in the mind is not dictated by the external circumstances or environment but by the mental approach taken by the individual. When you want to be happy, to make the best of your life, it is best to take the approach of the person who feels that whatever they have, be it great or be it ever so humble is the blessing of God. It is better to feel that you are fortunate than to feel you are deprived. Either feeling might be there, be you rich or be you poor, be you overflowing with opportunities or be you lacking in direction.
The practice of gratitude can take many forms. You may begin with simple exercises such as beginning and ending each day by remembering or even writing down all the things you are grateful for. They can be large or small, from a new job you are excited about to a flower you saw blooming by the side of the road, a beautiful sunset or a person who smiled at you warmly in a store. Part of the practice of gratitude is simply beginning to notice all the good things that go on around you each and every day. Sometimes we get conditioned only to notice what is wrong with the world and our lives and we overlook what is right.
Gratitude is turning that process around. Another helpful practice is to remember all the kind deeds done toward you by others. Think of someone you know and appreciate and express your gratitude. Write him a letter or email or even better tell him in person how much you appreciate him. Notice what others do well and express your appreciation. And don’t forget your animal friends grace of the Divine that is opening another direction that will lead you where you really need to go. For the Divine looks at your heart and seeing your heart will help you go where you must go to become all that you can be. So do not be unhappy with your life; do not be sad with your existence for your future is bright and the Divine looks after you with great love and affection.
If you take the view that whatever is given to you in life is a blessing, you will find that your life is filled with blessings throughout. You will find that you have much potential within that will evolve forward as time goes on. Never be disheartened; never allow yourself to be discouraged; know that you are guided. The same force that guides the stars guides you also. That which is in the depths of your heart is what you really need to find your way home to the ocean of love. The Source will come to you and guide you, for grace surrounds you. So live in gratitude. Live in reverence for life and transform your life in joyous appreciation.
Maetreyii Ma: a teacher of yogic wisdom & practices