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The Gift of Gratitude

May 1, 2017

One of the purest experiences we can have is that of gratitude. Gratitude is a beautiful feeling that links the heart with the head; emotion with thought.

We experience gratitude long before we know the word for it. As infants, we feel hungry and are grateful when food is provided. Later in life, the feeling becomes connected to a conditioned response as we are told, ‘say thank you for that!’ We learn to associate the joyful feeling of receiving, with a necessity of acknowledging the source of the gift.

One of the disciplines in enriching the soul, is the daily act of expressing gratitude for those everyday things that grace our lives. Expressing gratitude can easily become shallow and automatic, because you have been unconsciously doing it all your life. Weaving a deep sense of gratitude into your everyday awareness may take some focused intention.

‘There is no joy without gratitude’ – Brené Brown

Sometimes you may forget to recognise the richness that fills your life. Society often prompts a focus on lack, rather than abundance. Consequently your gratitude might exist in conflict with your desire for more, whether it be time, convenience, wealth, or enlightenment.

Let gratitude become a habit of the heart. With practice you will remember it more and more often and it can reverberate powerfully in your life. You will become more conscious of gratefulness welling up in your heart when you see a loved one, smell a flower, or hear a moving piece of music. You will feel gratitude as a healing balm during times of grief, anger, self-pity, and loneliness. The fuller our gratitude, the less room for depleting negative emotions.

With practice you may even find yourself able to appreciate the lessons from the biggest teachers of life and all the losses, the pain and the failures. You will discover more and more reasons to be grateful.

‘This morning as I put my feet on the floor, it let me remember how many thousands of years it took for this act to be possible, the slow and painstaking development, so that a human creature could rise, could stand on two feet, and then walk.’ – Gunilla Norris

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