“If the only prayer you ever say is Thank You, that will be enough.” – 13th Century Mystic Meister Eckhart.
Being grateful for what is, is the first step to happiness. And we all want to have a happy joyous life for as long as we live. While none of us consciously choose to come into this world, once we are old enough to understand what life is, we all want to be happy. However, once we are sucked into what we call “life”, we often forget to connect with our own selves. All we focus on now, is the struggle to exist and be happy.
Related: Best Gratitude Quotes to Live By
1. Stop and Look
The first step to being grateful is to stop wherever you are and look. Look around yourself, look at yourself in the mirror, look down at your hands, your body, the hair on your body, your nails, everything. Really look. We take our bodies for granted more than we ever think about how that is the only body we have in this lifetime. This current body is the only vessel that will help us get to where we need to go, both physically and mentally. So, to be grateful, we can start here. Every morning when you wake up, before you reach for your phone, sit up in bed and look at your body from the viewpoint you have, and thank it for existing for you.
2. The Teachers
There are so many people we come into contact with daily, from your local barista to your mom, to the mailman. When you are ever in communication with them, do you really take the time to notice the impact they have on your life? When you thank your barista, for example, do you really thank him? Or do you give him the socially accepted “thanks, man” without actually meaning it? Do you take the time to think they are using their hands to make you that drink? Or when you don’t understand your childhood and why you lived though the many pains. Do you thank your lucky stars that it wasn’t worse? Or thank your parents for doing whatever they could to not make life worse for you.
Every experience, good or bad is a lesson in gratitude. It is just our mental block and lack of early teaching that does not allow us to see things that way. You can start that change, and if you are not ready to show true gratitude outwardly, mentally start saying thank you to your barista, your mailman, your parents, and whoever else crosses your path. A subtle note of gratitude even in your thoughts, creates a ripple effect inside you. this change inside you will be reflected in your outer world.
3. The Past
Your past is there for one reason only. To look at it and thank it for the lessons it’s taught you. Thank it for the experiences you’ve had. Thank it for being the past so that you don’t have to carry any hurt or sorrow from it. Once you show gratitude for it, it will start lessening its grip on your present and future. And your past lessons, as strong or hurtful as they may have been, can no longer hold you hostage anyways. Take back your power by thanking it for being in the past and work on letting it go. Let it go by sending gratitude towards it. We may never understand (or even want to understand) some of the things that hold us stuck in the past, but realizing that the power in gratitude can help you let go, is powerful. Use that power.
4. The Present
Whether you are successful, rich, poor, unsuccessful – whatever any of those terms mean to you – if you are not grateful for where you are, you are most probably not happy either. Happiness is a state of mind. You can be very poor and happy because you are grateful for what you have. Or you can be rich and unhappy because you are not grateful for what you have and you want more. Most people who are never happy, will inadvertently never be grateful for anything they have. They will continue chasing after things they think will bring them happiness.
Gratefulness brings happiness, because it allows you to acknowledge what you do have. And once you bring acknowledgement to your present, you understand better what ignites happiness. And as has been said, if you are not grateful for the things you have now, why should you chase after more things? All they will do is continue to keep you unhappy. Be grateful where you are, and more things that make you “happy” will naturally come chasing after you.
5. The Future
When you think about your future, do you think about things accumulated? Instead of doing that, use your thinking to show gratefulness for what is to come. Be thankful today for what you expect tomorrow. When you cultivate a grateful attitude that extends into your future, you will bring things into you life. And those are the things that will truly bring you happiness. You are being grateful for what you don’t have and subconsciously calling them into existence.
As a bonus, meditation and gratitude go hand in hand. If you are not able to calm your mind during meditation, you can start using the “I am grateful” mantra through out your meditation so your mind has something to focus on. That type of meditation, albeit not quiet, is powerful for your self-healing. Along with helping you, meditation on such mantras helps you look at the outer world with more gratefulness and compassion. Not sure how to meditate? Click here to learn how yogis and sages meditate. Even if you don’t want to be one of them, at least the lessons on meditation will help you on your journey to gratefulness. 😉
A few quotes that may resonate with you:
“Gratitude for the present moment and the fullness of life now is the true prosperity.” – Eckhart Tolle
“Be grateful for what you already have while you pursue your goals. If you aren’t grateful for what you already have, what makes you think you would be happy with more.” – Roy T. Bennett
“Gratitude is a powerful catalyst for happiness. It’s the spark that lights a fire of joy in your soul.” – Amy Collette
Need some extra inspiration? Check out this list of the 20 best gratitude quotes to live by.
Thank you for reading. I am grateful for you.
Featured photo courtesy of pixabay.com
Article last updated on September 21st, 2021