Gratitude is not a feeling reserved for certain times of year... or when someone gives you what you want.
Gratitude is a constant recognition that you should have at ALL times. Every single aspect of our lives is a gift.
Being born, having an abundant, life giving planet... even the existence of life itself... all extremely precious things that you can not buy, or give to yourself.
Reverent gratitude is the only natural response to being so gifted. Gratitude is the attitude.
(You'll have to excuse me, as some of this is a bit bumper-stickery.)
In truth, though, gratitude is what draws towards you those things that make you grateful. Essentially, people aren't grateful because they are happy... they're happy because they are grateful.
Thanksgiving is a natural time to connect to this miraculous power... and in a previous post (Thanks Forgiving), I delved into the story of the day, the history, and how forgiveness was an essential feature of this very American holiday.
This post is a lot less challenging. The former, involved soul searching, and facing some hard truths... a process which, albeit uncomfortable, is usually necessary. Confront the darkness, forgive yourself and others... and eventually you clear enough, become light enough... to have authentic gratitude.
It may be possible to jump directly to being truly grateful, but one rarely sees it. The ego usually requires a great deal of being broken down, and people only tap into this miraculous state after hitting ROCK bottom. And even then, it is not a certainty, by any means.
The Secret, Gratitude Rocks became (and still are) a big thing. In case you missed that cultural meme, you take a stone (any stone... it doesn't have to be a fancy Amazon bought one like this >), and you decide that you will remember to feel gratitude whenever you touch it.
Generally, they are small enough to be carried in your pocket, so you might touch it during the day when reaching for your wallet or keys... at the very least, you will come in contact with it while emptying your pockets, and while putting it in your pocket after getting dressed in the morning. Thus, you will be reminded to touch base with this state before going to bed, before starting your day, and periodically during the day.
Some people like to place large ones by the front door, in front of a fountain, statue or in an otherwise enhanced ceremonial position, so they can see it and touch it as they leave and come in.
While it is true that miraculous things happen when using these stones... people have to remember that it is the gratitude that brings the miracles. The stone has no power other than what you have imbued in it. This is obvious, but you would be surprised at how many people wind up fetishising their rock. Like any lucky charm, or rabbit's foot... it works by REMINDING you to tap into a power you already have.
You could easily choose to use any object this way. If you are really smart, you can use every object this way. The problem with that, for most people, is that when the scope of something becomes too broad, it loses meaning for them. Everything often means nothing... and if you do something all the time, it is not actually special or obviously efficacious. Like most things you need to find a natural balance with this.
The truth is that, as you cultivate gratitude, and your life continues to reflect it... you have more to be grateful for... and you need less prodding to be in the state. It is a feedback loop.
At first, people find that they have to think of specific things they are grateful for. They list off a few things and maybe even feel some gratitude. But this is not where the magic is. To truly tap into the infinite wellspring of creative source energy... gratitude must be a state of being. In this way it is a lot like Peace or Love.
Peace is not simply the absence of violence... but the inner equanimity and ability to relax that is a pre-requisite for light to enter your life. Love is not just an agreement or currency exchanged between lovers... but an energetic state that arises in recognition of union and unity.
All of these things are components of, and combine into a state of reverence... a blissful state that is an overflowing fountain. It brings joy and blessings to all it touches. No amount of possessions, "things" or successes can touch the happiness of simply being in this state. It is literally, being filled with the holy spirit.
Perhaps you are not there yet, and this last bit strikes you as woo-woo, and your eyes are glazing over. I understand. If you haven't already cultivated enough peace, then love & light are not going to be overflowing in you until you clear out the blocks. Therefore, the kind of gratitude I am talking about will seem crazy.
That is okay. Start with the basics. It usually works something like this:
- Accept where you are
- Don't run from the shadows
- Forgive others as much as you are able
- Make peace with the past
- Forgive yourself
- Find your inner peace in stillness
- Nurture & protect your peace
- Notice what feeds your peace
- Choose those things and abandon other things
- Make space for more light to enter your life
- As love wells up in you, share it
- Give thanks
That is it! Sometimes you have to go back and repeat stuff as new things come up. But in a nutshell:
Forgiveness ~> Peace ~> Love ~> Gratitude
Naturally, there is more beyond this. But this is enough for now... 😊