Have you ever been grateful about something small or big that happened unexpectedly but has made a difference to your day, your mood or your life in general?
Go back to it with your mind and remember how it feels. How would you define it? For me it’s a warm comforting feeling of love, reward, appreciation and happiness. You know those moments in our lives where we count our blessings and feel happy to be in the knowledge that life has been kind and good to us no matter how small or large that blessing was.
Just the awareness and recognition of it confers a moment of serenity and pleasure that brightens up our day and enlivens our souls. It is like a brief opening in our hearts where for a moment we stop and peep outside of ourselves and realize that life is abundantly blissful and generous but we often obscure this fact with our everyday hectic routines, by giving more attention to negative thoughts and by being too sucked by our needs and wanting.
The Deeper side of Gratitude
Gratitude and appreciation are very often encapsulated by formal words such as “Thanks” or “I appreciate”. This is a way of showing our gratitude in words. Very often, however, this happens more out of politeness and social convention rather than by being emotionally convinced. I am not saying it’s a bad thing because after all good protocol is also needed where possible.
Yet the gratitude I would like to talk about is different. Being thankful to someone or something has different grades of personal meaning. On one hand it may come out of social etiquette and good manners as just mentioned or else it could have a much more authentic meaning attached to it. For example being thankful to someone who just assisted us over the phone will have a different meaning that when some loved one has gone out of the way to make ends meet for us or when life has turned in a favorable way such as the disappearance of a long suffered illness.
This authentic meaning is what really drives our hearts to be truly in a state of harmony with ourselves and the world around us even if for a brief moment and even if for a small cause. It doesn’t really matter. No matter how brief and how small that feeling of gratitude is there is always a powerful burst of positive vibes going back into ourselves and our lives although we often fail to realize this. Most importantly we fail to realize the benefits and the power gratitude can bring to our lives.
If I had to list a number of important life-changing practices, gratitude would be on the top of the list. Why? Because it is so simple yet so powerful.
Being Aware of the little Miracles
I have been doing this thing lately. Being grateful to the little everyday things (and of course the big ones) that come my way no matter how insignificant they would have been on any normal day in my past. Of course there is one step that comes before gratefulness and that is awareness. You have to be aware of those little things before being grateful for them. You must turn your attention to them.
Awareness is such a key to everything I am coming to realize lately but that’s beside the point here…I have to keep it in for another article
So it all starts from putting our attention onto the little everyday miracles. This thing is immensely liberating, life-changing and therapeutic in itself by the way since it expands our awareness and makes us more mindful of our being and surroundings. Secondly it drives you in the habit of noticing positive occurrences rather than just fixate on the negative ones.
When we are aware and recognize the little gifts that come our way, our next step is to stop and be grateful for them. Yes but be grateful to who or what? you might ask. Personally, I am grateful to the Universe. You might be grateful to God, life, fate, your guardian angel or whatever else suits your criteria. In the end it doesn’t make any difference because this is not an act of formality or politeness remember? It’s not a formality but a positive practice.
Gratitude Shapes your Destiny and connects you to the Divine
So what are the benefits of being grateful?
As a start you have an instant rush of positivity and good feeling. That already sounds great to me! Instant good vibes straight from the tap without having to work so hard for them! Imagine you are in a downbeat mood or worried about something then you stop and look around you or ponder for a minute on what you have achieved, on your health, on your loved ones or yes, even on your material possessions if you like and be grateful for them in your heart. If you do this in a meaningful way your mood will immediately lighten up and you will feel good.
Secondly, doing it regularly will install a habit of thought. It’s like reprogramming your mind to be more receptive to positive things and respond equally positively. Now this is the thing. Thoughts have the power to change things. They can change our lives, our moods, our happiness, etc and that’s a fact (and not a small one if I may add).
Some, like myself, even believe that thoughts…well consciousness to be exact…can change and shape the events around you. So by practicing gratefulness you are forming the habit to direct your conscious attention to the positive things in life and as a response your thoughts start turning increasingly more positive and once your thoughts become increasingly more positive than so will your life. It’s like a big positive feedback cycle which keeps on feeding on itself as it grows larger and larger.
Thirdly, gratitude brings us closer to what I like to call ‘the divinity in ourselves’. It is that underlying sense of peace like an undercurrent of unchanging tranquility that rests beneath our more hectic and frenetic mode of thinking. If we manage to stay still for a minute or two and get into what some call ‘the gap between our thoughts’ (as in mindfulness meditation) then one can access a place of deep calm where anxious or worrying thoughts subside and one is left with nothing but his bare being which is less attached to thought and more connected to the source (or God or the Oneness of the Universe) .
Gratitude, Success & Happiness
Try it out for yourselves. It doesn’t take much effort or time anyway. It’s easy and what’s more it’s always available at all times. You can apply it immediately on the little things. You might be on your way home from work when you miss your bus or the car breaks down and someone you know stops by and gives you a ride or helps you with the car breakdown. It might be a little problem which was solved on its own or some happy news which came unexpectedly. Perhaps a happy day out with your family or just even something seemingly minuscule like finding a parking spot in a busy street.
Gratitude is an important key to success and happiness which is often clothed in simple and humble attire. We very often overlook its power and importance. I think of gratitude as being a simple and quick yet effective method which works wonders every time. Try it!
…and Yes…Thank you for appreciating the articles, for supporting this blog and for sharing your comments! Thank You!