Like other attitudes, gratitude can be cultivated. We don't have to wait for our fairy grandmother to shower us with gifts before feeling thankful. We can develop gratitude by reflecting on the gifts that are already ours. This reflection can be done for a minute, a day, or throughout a lifetime. Most people celebrate their birthday and holidays, but those who cultivate gratitude celebrate every day. We can be grateful because we are happy, but we can also be happy because we are grateful.I consider myself to be a truly happy person but, like anybody else, I can get frazzled and grumpy if I've got too much going on or if I'm experiencing events as frustrating. When that happens, all I have to do is remember gratitude - my own gratitude which is ongoing - and my feeling of deep happiness returns. Truly, there is no more powerful a practice for supporting our experience of profound well being.
We tend to forget how very different the laws that govern the mind are from the laws that operate in the physical world. In the world, if we give a physical thing to another person, whether it be a toy or a diamond, we lose it. Yet in the mind, the opposite is true. Whatever we intend for another person we experience ourselves, whatever we give we gain, whatever we offer flowers in our own mind.
Thursday, November 23, 2006
On this Thanksgiving Day it is appropriate to focus on the mind state of gratitude and how to cultivate it. I want to call your attention to an essay entitled To Give Is to Receive by Roger Walsh. Here's an excerpt: