What happens to you when you feel grateful? Does it make you smile, feel good, want to interact? These are common responses to gratitude. What happens in your life when you put your attention on the things for which you are grateful? Are you happier, more creative and generous? Many people find that gratitude fosters a sense of generosity, expansiveness and even joy.
These days many people are focused on what they do not like, what is going wrong, and their lives reflect this focus. This creates fear and the many by-products of fear such as greed, judgment and hate. Instead of gratitude, there is misery. We can learn to be grateful for what we have even if it does not live up to our expectations. Often the seemingly small pleasures and blessings are the most wonderful and can bring great joy when we are grateful for these gifts.
Recently, I saw a television news story about a man who lived in New York City, made a minimal wage and had only basic living conditions for himself and his wife. He saw many people on the street with nothing, and felt such gratitude for his bounty that he wanted to share with the homeless people. He spent much of his salary on food, which his wife and her mother cooked and he delivered to the homeless. From his gratitude flowed great generosity and healing. How many of us put our attention on how little we have instead of how much we have. How much do we judge ourselves and others on our material possessions instead of being grateful.
Gratitude can bring great blessings. When you meditate on what you are grateful for, your attention goes to creativity. For example, by being grateful for the food you eat your digestion improves, you have more energy and can visit a neighbor in need. What if you meditate on your blessings and let that focus carry you through your day. “I am grateful for my health.” may cause you to walk farther, play with your children or do something which brings even more well-being.
We create with our beliefs, and gratitude is a belief. Being grateful puts our attention on what we like and helps us increase the good things in our life. “I am grateful for my home.” brings a joy whenever you are there while “My home isn’t adequate.” creates a disturbance whenever there. Focus on what you are grateful for, and this belief colors your world.
You can even be grateful for things you previously disliked. A friend learned to be grateful for her daughter’s rebellious attitude when she realized this behavior was a necessary step in her daughter’s growing-up process. The mother’s gratitude for the growth created a healing dynamic between mother and daughter instead of a battlefield. When we are grateful for what we have created, energies move and change and healing occurs.
Gratitude is an unsung power. Meditate on being grateful for something and observe what happens in your life.