Gratitude is one of the most powerful practices for living the dharma in daily life and the most easily cultivated, requiring the least sacrifice for what is gained in return.
We should be grateful not just because we got what we want or we had good fortune, rather, we should be mindful and aware of every little thing happening in our life and practice gratitude accordingly.
So how do we practice gratitude in daily life?
When you wake up, before doing anything else, practice gratitude meditation. This is a simple act of taking a few minutes of counting your blessings and being thankful for another new day ahead.
Showing gratitude to the people who are important to you may be something you know you need to do more often, but this is usually something you take for granted.
Avoid comparing yourself to people on social media. Instead of feeling envy, be happy for the success of others and celebrate them. Use them as an inspiration instead of blaming yourself why you do not possess the same experiences.
Notice when gratitude is present and when it’s not, and what happens when fear or confusion arises. When you are contracted due to self-pity, fear, or anger, more than likely gratitude isn’t present, so notice those things for which you are grateful. Respond to a difficult situation by acknowledging it as such, and then say to yourself, “Yes, this is terrible, and I am grateful for…” Focus on the wonderment of nature and the human capacity for learning and creating. It is so easy to only notice the terrible aspects of being human so that wonderment is often forgotten.
For your reflection:
- What are you grateful for? Make a list.
- Next time you are in a challenging situation, make an effort to practice gratitude.
- Pause to appreciate that in this moment you have a sense of well-being. Notice the effect of this. Does this gratitude lead you anywhere?
- Take a few minutes at the end of each day to mentally note the many people who have invisibly served you by providing medicine, shelter, safety, food, education, and so forth.
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