DO I HAVE TO BE GRATEFUL TODAY?
Gratitude is something we need to practice every day towards every small thing, until we are able to become grateful for everything that comes our way (via Twitter this morning).
Last week the homework I gave at meditation class was to extend appreciation to all things around us, and to take that to our inter-personal encounters too.
Then, this week one of my students was brave enough to say she had to deal with a few difficult people and had trouble practicing gratitude along the week. I mentioned to her that we need to be kind to ourselves first and foremost, and accept that we all have days when we can be more tolerant than others. Accept and let go. Accept and let go. Again and again. That’s the beauty of the meditation practice.
It is common that some of us may set days to practice gratitude, or loving-kindness, or mindfulness, every once in a while. However to know how to be truly grateful only comes from daily practice. Day in, be grateful. Day out, be grateful. Sun comes, be grateful. Rain comes, be grateful. Bird eats the spiders on your plants be grateful. Bird leaves droppings on your balcony afterwards be grateful!
However to practice gratitude you need first to understand what it is that you are practicing, and the benefits of it. Then second you have to FEEL it. Is it coming from a genuine place inside you? Does it feel true to you? This is because if you set up to be grateful because you ‘should be grateful’ it will not work so well. It will only be working on a surface level, and you may end up feeling a bit like a great-fool instead.
Extending appreciation or developing gratitude is connecting with life itself. We can’t live in isolation. We depend on so many things and people around us, that being thankful is just an acknowledgement of what is already there. It is a remembering. We are just remembering our interconnectedness with all things, and that often bring us a sense of peace. And we slowly learn that good things and ‘bad’ things are equally part of life, equally important to our growth and happiness.