Gratitude; Two Tools In One

We hear the word “gratitude” these days, constantly.  Sprinkled in positive self help articles and books, and spoken in inspirational segments on television, it is a much more commonly suggested practice than it was say, 25 years ago.  Practicing daily gratitude for instance, is said to lighten and brighten your attitude, bring in more abundance and spread well-being to others.  Have you ever partaken in a regular practice of gratitude, regularly recognizing blessings from the minuscule to the colossal?

I began the practice on and off, starting 25 years ago, as a 25 year old woman.  I watched an episode of  “Oprah” in my small, one bedroom apartment.  She had a guest, a writer, on the show, named Sara Ban Breathnach who had written a book of daily meditations called “Simple Abundance”.  I found the book at a book store in 1997, 2 years after the book was written, and have kept it as a daily meditation book now for half of my life.  Sara introduced gratitude practice into popular culture on Oprah and today it is often a subject in self help books, talks, articles, workshops, etc. Gratitude is a basic concept, a beautiful concept, definitely a positive practice. But what about gratitude, makes it such an amazing, transformational tool?

Well, I have practiced it in many ways; by keeping a gratitude journal and regularly writing in it, by just recording my gratitude in my mind before I lay my head on my pillow to sleep, and on good days, by waking up grateful and silently saying “thank you” for every bit of joy I spied during every minute of my day. It was quite interesting to learn, that by keeping gratitude in mind all day long, I learned that things that always seemed ordinary, became blessings that enriched my life.  For example, if I washed a dish given to me, I’d be grateful for the moment I received the dish, grateful for the person who gifted it to me or the store where I bought it and also grateful for the function it allowed me to do such as contain food or drink so that I could consume it.  This may sound very basic, even boring, but minutia became highlights and everything seemed more brilliant, and, I discovered it was teaching me mindfulness.  I was present.  I was “in the moment”. My mind was in the present, not the past or future.

Years after the “Gratitude Craze”, Rhonda Byrne wrote “The Secret” and folks were buzzing about the idea of “The Law of Attraction”.  Law of Attraction is the law of like attracting like.  Attention to the negative brings more ideas, feelings and evidence of lack.  Attention to the positive brings more ideas, feelings and evidence of beautiful abundance.  Well, gratitude is the focus on abundance or blessings or positive characteristics.  Is it any wonder then, that the more you practice gratitude during your every day living, the more abundance you attract in your life? I see that this is so.  If you practice gratitude, you will begin to see this regularly as well. You may wonder as I often do, is this because I’m really acquiring more abundance, or is it that in my noticing more of it, I am just feeling it more with the things I usually think mundane?

Sometimes if feels as if the latter is more true than the former.  But oh well, right?  It is still a magical thing, gratitude, helping you to live in brilliant color as opposed to just shades of black and white.  And for the record, I have seen the evidence in my life play out where the longer my streak of gratitude, the more evidence of things and ideas wanted, showing up for me left and right!  Our lives can be a constant ebb and flow of this.  We are humans so we have not, any of us, perfected the un-pausing stream of gratitude and abundance.  But the continual practice of it makes life feel rich.  And when one day we transition from this realm, many believe we will release all resistance and allow ourselves into this perfect abundance. That will be heaven!

So right now, let’s experience as much heaven on earth as we can by being grateful, by practicing gratitude, leading to mindfulness.  Yes, that mindfulness spoken about to you by gurus and meditation teachers, that seems so unreachable sometimes can be reached most easily through GRATITUDE!  So there you have it, gratitude, two tools in one, a tool for mindfulness and a tool for abundance.

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