Gratitude is being thankful. This one simple positive feeling can bring about the most powerful change in a person. It makes one more positive, productive, efficient, giving and humble. One becomes a better mother/father, daughter/son, wife/husband, etc.
Simply giving thanks affects everything – the way we feel, think and act. It reminds us of all the things we have in life rather than focusing on what we lack.
There are so many things to be grateful for – an able body, parents and teachers who guided us, siblings, friends and other people who are there for us, a good job, respectful children etc. If we feel we don’t have any of these we can still be thankful for being alive and the ability to experience life.
Gratitude sadhana can be practiced in 3 ways:
a) Begin the day with gratitude.
1. Visualize the Lord on your palms. Goddess Laxmi (Wealth) lies in upper region of palm. At the base is Saraswati (Knowledge). In the centre is Govinda (Supreme Self who illumines our senses and the mind).
2. While looking at your palm express your gratitude to the Lord that with His grace you are now ready for your Karma of the day. Every day that we are alive, we have experiences that shape who we will be tomorrow. By looking at our hands we are reminded of the power of personal choice and that the Grace of the Lord is always with us.
b) Maintain a Gratitude Diary
3. After a bath, sit quietly for a few minutes and see what you feel grateful for.
4. Keep a small journal just for this purpose – a gratitude diary
5. Write down 3-5 things thing you are really grateful for.
6. Do not write intellectual points. You must feel the gratitude in the heart.
7. Also write why you are grateful for that thing/event/person
8. Do not repeat anything that has already been written earlier.
9. Whenever you feel deprived or low or feelings of worthlessness or victimization arise in the mind, open the gratitude diary and read it.
c) Gratitude Symbol
10. Keep an object with you which reminds you about the blessings of your life. It can be a stone or a pen or a cell phone. Every time you touch it, feel grateful and say “Thank You O Lord!”
· The more the heart is filled with gratitude the more we feel full. Sorrow is caused by feeling empty and so feeling full helps us be happier and at peace.
· The more we count our blessing the more aware we become of HIS Grace manifesting moment by moment in our lives. We don’t wait for special Grace to manifest. We experience Grace every moment.
· Gratitude makes me value what i have and i can make the best use of it and manifest its full potential. If we are grateful for this human birth, we would make the best use of this life and serve others. We won’t take our life for granted
· We stop complaining about petty things and stop even thinking about such things
· A positive mind attracts more and more positivity to it
· We are the sum total of our thoughts and so we create ourselves to be contented and fulfilled beings and we can definitely grow and achieve great success through contentment because contentment is not complacency. This way we create a beautiful world to live in.
- Gratitude reduces our stress. Thankfulness redirects our attention from our difficulties to the benefits we enjoy. It’s like creating a stockpile of good thoughts for when times are tough. It also helps us reframe our losses and stay connected emotionally to friends and family.
- Gratitude inoculates us from negative emotions. When we focus on what we don’t have or how our decisions could have turned out better, we leave room for resentment, envy, and regret to build. Gratitude can keep these feelings at bay.
- Gratitude sustains our relationships. Let me just ask, Do you like hanging out with people that gripe and complain? Me neither. It’s gratitude that draws people together, builds trust, and strengthens ties. That’s true in the workplace, among friends, in families, and between husbands and wives.
- Gratitude improves our health. Grateful people visit their doctors less often and live longer than others. The research shows that thankfulness helps us sleep better, control our blood pressure, and generally reduce physical complaints.
- Operate from Strength
From contentment is born strength. No longer does one look at life as a problem. Instead one operates from a position of strength and positivity. The trials and tribulations of life are not a challenge but an opportunity to evolve.
- Increases creativity
When there is peace and contentment the mind is creative, it can think of higher possibilities and enjoys what it has. One’s faculties are alert and actions effective as there is no dissipation or drainage of energy in negative thoughts and feeling of incompleteness.
- Increases our faith and devotion to the Lord
Whatever has come to us, we must accept it as HIS Prasad. In a temple when the pujari gives us a sweet or fruit we don’t say you gave the other person more or give me also what you gave him. We just simply accept whatever is given as a blessing, are full gratitude and are content with it.
Prayer is the best way to convey our gratitude to the Lord. It helps us to be calm, at peace and remain humble. It is only through His grace that we have come so far, maybe we don’t even deserve this, it is His compassion.
- Gratitude keeps us very humble too. Ego plays its own tricks. Many people come to the spiritual organisations and serve and get ego that the organization needs them. This is God’s work and it will go on inspite of us. This applies in family, company, nation etc. because I feel grateful to be able to serve and be chosen as an instrument
Beginners and Advanced:
1. Do as advised above.
1. Do as advised above.
2. Write, 10 or 20 things a day in the gratitude diary.
3. Say a prayer of gratitude every night to those things/people you consider most important
4. Actually write a letter of gratitude/gratitude email to people that you feel have had an impact on your life even in small ways. Apart from important people, take time out to Thank the liftman, watchman, the servants, driver…..They make our life so comfortable. Do an act of kindness for them.
5. In and through the day while performing ordinary routine tasks make a mental note of the things and people you are thankful for. Mentally prostrate to the Lord as many times.
6. When you are disturbed be grateful that this challenge has come to you. Often people perceive something difficult as bad. Recognize it as an opportunity to learn, to grow, to evolve, and to rise above it.
7. Under duress and in trying times thank Him for the opportunity to call out to Him. For in times of trouble that is when we really open up & surrender completely, the last barriers are broken.
“In all adversities there is always in its depth a treasure of spiritual blessings secretly hidden.” – Swami Chinmayananda