Something magical happens when we express gratitude. I recently reconnected with the bountiful harvest of good feelings that awaits me each morning as I begin expressing gratitude for anything and everything in my life and in Creation.
I usually begin by expressing gratitude for my family, friends, all the people in my life, the body, mind, shelter, water, food, the sun – just some of those typically awesome every-day things that are too easily taken for granted. Then the gratitude might become a bit more abstract, and I’ll say “I am grateful for time. I am grateful for space. I am grateful for learning. I am grateful for reading. I am grateful for this breath.” Truly, I am grateful for this Present Moment, and I am grateful for Here, and I am grateful for Now.
One of the best parts about being grateful for Here & Now is that it’s a condition that is always occurring, and you are always free to be grateful for it so long as you aware of it and tuned into the Present Moment. Tuning in, can, of course, be very difficult. So easily can we riddle our minds with thoughts based on the dead past or imagined future. (HHC)
In order to combat my tendency to allow consciousness to float away on an imaginary cloud of the past or future, I’ve started placing extra emphasis on expressing gratitude for the Here & Now. One way I do this is by spending five minutes of walking very slowly. As one of my feet touches the ground in front of me, I think to myself, “I am grateful for Here,” and then as the other one comes forward and touches down, I think, “I am grateful for Now.” We are completely free to be grateful for each and every step we take, and the more we tune into gratitude for the Here & Now of our life, well…the more grateful we are for it 🙂
You might be wondering if simply saying a sentence like, “I am grateful for Here and Now,” actually has any positive impact on your consciousness. Thankfully, and perhaps not surprisingly, neuroscientists have looked into the mysterious nature of gratitude and discovered some wonderful news. In Dr. Daniel Amen’s bestselling book, Magnificent Mind at Any Age, he shares,
” Researchers have found that people who express gratitude on a regular basis are healthier, more optimistic, make more progress toward their goals, have a greater sense of well-being, and are more helpful to others. Doctors who regularly practice gratitude are actually better at making the correct diagnoses on their patients.”
He also tells a fascinating story about the different effects on the brain between an appreciation meditation and a fear-based meditation, but hey…I have to leave you some reason to buy the book. It’s a great read. (Needless to say, you will probably not enjoy a fear-based meditation, nor will your brain. Appreciation is the way to go.)
Thinking about what to write next, I just tucked my head under my shoulders, looked behind me and saw a wooden desk. I thought, “I am grateful for this desk.” And really, why not? I mean, perhaps I’m not as grateful for the desk as I am for the hands that click away on the keyboard, but in so much as the desk is Here & Now, I am absolutely grateful for it! And so, we are free to express gratitude for absolutely anything and everything that could possibly pop into our consciousness at any time. Even past failures, pain, adversity, death – we are free to be grateful for it all.
Once again…thinking about what to write next…I began to pick my nails – something I consider a bad habit that I’d be thoroughly okay with never doing again, so long as they don’t curl over 20x like this man’s (then again, that man is THE MAN). As I picked away, I began to express gratitude for each time I heard one of my nail’s echo away. By the third pick, I stopped. As I brought positive attention to it, even though I sometimes perceive the action as negative, I no longer carried out the activity. A bit of consciousness goes a long way to shaping our behavior. Especially gratitude-consciousness, that is one seriously positive and powerful way to go about living.
p.s. If you spend more than 5 minutes expressing gratitude for all of the various treasures in your life, you might begin to experience enhanced awareness in your chest and heart. Not sure if science has yet to tackle this wonder yet, but needless to say I’m pretty sure it’s a good thing. This feeling might be what Steve Pavlina means when he mentions heart-centered power.
p.p.s. If you haven’t already guessed, I’m a big Pavlina fan, and here is another one of his illuminating articles…on nothing other than Gratitude.
Meanwhile, I am grateful for you, whoever you are 🙂