Another 21-day Meditation Series from the Chopra Center (link) was very inspirational for my Personal Spirituality exploration. Spirituality exploration is one of my action plan items this year; as I worked through the holistic life domains in my Retirement Transition Process (see my book on Amazon), this was a domain area I felt needed more attention.
While I have regularly practiced gratitude as part of my morning journaling, this recent meditation series on Gratitude really expanded my perception of how to practice gratitude and what the impact of doing that could be.
The Practice of Gratitude is a Spiritual Path of the Heart.
The core idea in the series was to activate gratitude with intention, in all things, at all times. Practicing positivity (acceptance, gratitude) changes brain patterns as optimism and resilience grows. Growing gratitude awareness and life acceptance is also building spiritual awareness.
Become more aware of what you are gratefulfor (writing it down, articulating it specifically) creates a feeling of abundance. Warmth and light flows as gratitude comes from the heart, bringing peace, calm, and joy. Gratitude awakens the bigness of the little things in life. Becoming aware of the beauty, vibrancy, and abundance around you brings more meaning to life. Live with a sense of amazement. Appreciate nature. Look at the world with wonder. Love life.
Gratitude is sincere thankfulness for the blessings you’ve received, independent of anything. Not earned, not entitled to, not received instead of someone else getting it. Entitlement is feeling you deserve it. The “what’s in it for me” (which can also lead to feelings of envy and resentment) can be isolating. Gratitude expands you as it connects you to the Universe.
The meditation series spent time on recognizing that your individual worthiness does not need to be “deserved” or earned. I can be thankful for the goodness in my life even if I have not “suffered” for it. This concept was personally liberating!
An interesting and challenging question was, “What about myself am I grateful for?”
Your perception changes the experience. I have often used this approach when working and mentoring others, helping someone to see a situation differently. It’s harder to do on yourself. However, thinking about a “negative” experience with gratitude was another way to intentionally activate gratitude. When dealing with that negative experience – feeling stressed, tired, annoyed, frustrated, angry – intentional gratitude can re-energize, renew, soothe. It’s about meeting the negative with gratitude and recognizing there is a gift in every moment.
Gratitude in the moment also creates acceptance and compassion. I found this simple phrase compelling:
Accept. Appreciate. Act with Kindness.
Practicing gratitude means choosing compassion and not judgment. It’s hard to be judgmental and grateful at the same time! We are all human beings. We all have bad days. Judgment is about feeling right and having the ego drive our thoughts. Instead, make space for empathy and find reasons for being thankful, not critical. Show a generosity of the spirit and speak with kindness.
This mediation series gave me some great insights (and challenges) into how to more intentionally practice gratitude in daily living. I continue to work on being kinder, being less judgmental, and verbalizing appreciation.
I know many bloggers actively express gratitude in their posts. How do you practice gratitude daily?
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